If any member of the offense team needs to possess every performance variable, it’s the running back. They are powerhouses of athletic ability and must have agility, speed, strength, and explosive power.
Most of the time, they break through little holes made in the defense line to break even more tackles. While they do perform pass routes, they are almost always short and through the middle of the defense.
5 Running Back Drills To Try
The Jump Cut
Most change-of-direction (COD) skills have you alter your running direction, but the jump cut changes your linear path by jumping horizontally so that you can continue running forward. It’s an advanced COD skill that is required of running backs to evade tackles or alter their running path to pass through a hole.
- Set up a cone about 5yds downfield from a running back
- Have the athlete sprint towards the cone
- Upon reaching the cone, the running back will push off one leg to jump horizontally
- The running back then continues sprinting downfield.
Line Response Drill
This is a simple agility drill that will produce massive gains in performance. Fast footwork is required of running backs to be able to react to anything that comes their way.
- Have a running back line up on a yard line near the sideline and facing across the field
- The running back will place their feet on either side of the line
- On command, the running back will begin to chop their feet quickly
- After, a whistle can be blown to signal the player to move his right foot back and forth over the line
- This can then be repeated for the left foot
- At the end, have the player sprint forward or at an angle
Ladder drills are standard in the agility world because they work. Further, an endless amount of variations exist that can help improve the agility of an athlete. As a running back must move laterally, this should be an included aspect in the chosen variation.
- Layout an agility ladder
- Have a running back run through the ladder, placing each foot in each square
- Gradually, increase the speed
- Once mastered, perform various pre-decided patterns altering stepping in and out of the ladder
Cone drills are similar to ladder drills in that they are commonly used, are very effective, and have multiple variations. Any if the drills will improve the power of a running back to move in any direction.
- Set up two cones side by side about a yard apart
- Set up two more cones 5 yards downfield
- Have a running back hop over the first two cones laterally on one foot
- Then the running back will sprint 5 yards forward to the other cones
- Finally, run backwards to the beginning starting point
- Switch legs and repeat
- You can perform continually for a specific number of rounds
One aspect of running with the ball is dodging opposing players and protecting the ball. The sweep drill effectively mimics this by using cones for a running back to weave through upon, catching a flick.
- Have a quarterback and running back lineup in I-formation
- Off to the side, set up 5 cones about yds apart.
- The cones be set in varying formation but preferably off in an angle
- Upon a snap, the quarterback will flick the ball to the running back
- The running back will then sprint and weave through the cones
- Most important, the running back will protect the ball by transferring it to the side opposite to the side the cone is.