While some players are blessed with naturally great hands, plenty others are going to have to put in the hard work to improve. That’s
where these great drills for receivers and backs really come in handy.
One catch that a lot of players struggle with sometimes at the beginning of their careers is catching a bullet pass on the comeback route. This can expose a lack of fundamentals in a players that uses his body to help him catch the ball, rather than catching with his hands and then proceeding to tuck and tap the ball.
The first drill I like to get them to start using if that’s a problem is what I call the goalpost drill. Have your receiver stand right behind the goalpost, and stand about 10 yards away. Now have your receiver extend his arms out around the goalpost, forming a triangle with his hands by connecting his index finger and his thumbs.
This will force the receiver to isolate the ball away from their body, using only their hands to secure the ball. Once they’ve made the catch however, encourage them to
pull the ball in and tuck it into their pocket to help build muscle memory.
45 Approach Drill
Have your players line up about 10-15 yards away from you, and set up a cone about 5 yards off to either the left or right. On your signal, they’ll sprint at a 45 degree angle towards the cone, with their hands ready (and isolated!) to catch the ball. It’s a fairly simple drill, and is more just about developing a comfort with attacking the ball even as it comes directly at them.
Catch and Hit Drill
This is drill is very similar to the 45 approach drill, but instead of letting the players just make an easy catch, have another player or coach nearby ready with a blocking bag. And right as the player makes the catch, come down across with the bag, hitting him and trying to jar the ball loose.
Caution: Do NOT hit the player above the shoulders with the bag. We’re not lining them up and punishing them with a brutal hit here, we just want to simulate a bit of contact, to make the catch slightly more difficult.
If your looking for some help defending wide receivers, make sure you take the time to check out these great defensive back drills!