One of the most important basic skills for your running backs is one in which I give zero margin for error. Receiving the handoffs properly is absolutely vital, and can make the difference between that ever so important extra inch, not to mention the ball security benefits.

That’s why I like to spend at least 15 minutes every practice, going through handoffs – it’s a great way to warmup, and has the added benefit of teaching their muscle memory the correct handoff reception technique.

Running Back Drills
Pocket Drill

Pocket Drill

This is one I like to start my running backs off with. It’s a low energy, get loose drill, with two lines facing each other, about 15 yards apart. One like is going to start with a ball, and they’ll start to run out towards the other line. The players will meet in the middle, with the ball being handed off to the other player.

The player receiving the handoff should always be using the same technique – with the arm closest to the ball cradling the top and the far arm creating a pocket for the ball to drop into, which both arms then clamp down on top of.

This a continuous drill, and something I would recommend running for a good 5-10 minutes at the beginning of practice.

Youth Football Coaching
First Step and Pocket

First Step and Pocket

Once your players are loose and feeling comfortable with the handoff, I like to switch it up a little bit, going to this drill.

The idea is the same still – running forward and receiving a handoff. But here, were simulating a game situation, starting off down in pre-snap stance, and exploding with our first step on the snap, taking off vertically with the ball in safely.

You’ll use the same technique as in the previous drill – the focus here is exploding out of stance and securing the ball.

If you need more ways to improve ball security, or other great drills for your running backs, just click the links! And if you’ve got any questions or comments, make sure to let me know in the comment section below!