football drills, coaching football, football playbooks, pdf football playbooks, playbook software blankgraytexttemplate
Power Point Playbook
Football Playbook PPT
PDF Playbooks
Download or CD
Spread Shotgun Offense
Empty No Back Offense
Option Offense
Multiple I Formation Offense
Run & Shoot Offense
Zone Offense
West Coast Offense
Wing T Offense
Over Unbalanced Offense
Goal Line Offense
Wishbone Offense
Pirate Offense
Fly, Pop, & Orbit Offense
Y Stack Offense
Pyramid Pack
Football Drills
Coaches Corner
Motivation
Playbook Store
Coaching Strategy
Playbook Store
Running Back Fundamentals
Submitted By: Dan Jacobs
Head Coach RMF Sun Devils
Regina, Saskatchewan
E-Mail: djacobs@cableregina.com
Introduction
The concepts in this article are a synthesis of 25 years of coaching football and discussions I have had with university and professional coaches in Regina on running back fundamentals. The article is not a laundry list of everything I do with running backs. It covers the essentials that are done at least once a week in season and daily or every second day in pre-season.
The philosophical foundation is simple: KISS, Structure and Repetition.
KISS is "Keep It Simple, Stupid". "Keep It Simple" for the players and "Stupid" for me. I sometimes forget the young men I'm working with want to play football not learn biomechanics.
Structure gives you the basic tool to correct the problems with timing, routes and reacting to keys. Without structure in the form of a well defined stance and initial movement, it impossible to install a running game that will effective in the pressure of game situations.
Repetition ensures that the players will execute all of the skills without hesitation. If they have to think the skill through before doing it, they will not execute the skill with confidence.
Last, the concepts presented here are building blocks. They can be combined with other skills you see as important to your particular offensive scheme. The concepts presented here fit well with the pass oriented offense I have been coaching over the six years.

1. Stance
A. 3 Point Stance
The RB must be comfortable in his stance. He must be able to move in any direction with relative ease.
·The feet should be shoulder width apart with the toes pointed straight ahead.
·The feet may be staggered. The toe of the back foot in the staggered stance should not be further back than the instep of the front foot.
·The heels should be raised no more that one inch.
·The back should be flat with shoulders parallel to the ground. (Hips at same height as shoulders.)
·The head should be raised high enough to see the line of scrimmage.
·The down hand should be open and the back should be able to pick it up with out losing his balance.

Coaching Points
·If lateral movement is difficult or slow, the player may be leaning on the down hand and has his weight too far forward or his feet may be set too wide.
·If the player is having difficulty seeing the line of scrimmage, his back is not parallel to the ground. He may not have enough flex in his knees which sets his hips too high.

B. 2 Point Stance
The player must be comfortable and must work on stance that he can move from without taking false steps.
·The feet should be shoulder width apart with the toes pointed straight ahead.
·The feet should be flat on the ground.
·The player should have a slight forward lean so that his weight is on the balls of the feet. His legs should be bent at the knee. From the side you should be able to see the player's shoulders over his knees and his knees over his toes.
·The player's back should be arched with the head up.
·The player's hands should be placed on the front of his thighs open with the fingers pointing down.

Coaching Points
·If lateral movement is difficult or slow, the player has his feet be set too wide.
·If the player is false stepping, his stance is too upright. He may not have enough bend in the knees or he may be leaning on his hands.

2. Steps
A. Dive and Trap Step
Use: Dive and quick trap type plays
The player should step straight at the aiming point with the playside foot and be in a position to read the hole on the third step.

B. Open Step
Use: Lead, belly and zone type plays.
The open step is a lateral step with the playside foot parallel to the line of scrimmage. The step should be slow and under control. It should be no longer that 12 inches. The shoulders should also be parallel to the line of scrimmage. The weight should be placed on the backside foot. The head should be focussed on the key.

C. Crossover Step
Use: Handoff sweep and outside trap plays.
Turn shoulders and perpendicular to line of scrimmage. Simultaneous with the hip and shoulder turn, the RB should pivot and push off his playside foot. The movement is similar to a pull by an offensive lineman. The RB's eyes should be focussed on the ball or line of scrimmage. The plant foot for attacking the line is the back foot.

D. 1 Step Counter
Use: Quick hitting counter and mis-direction plays.
Open step, quickly turn head and shoulders in direction of open step then drive back opposite the open step. The RB's feet should be pointed straight ahead.


E. Shuffle Steps
Use: Draw plays, play action passes, slow developing counter and tackle trap plays
Open step, slide backside foot to playside, open step with playside foot and plant for break.

F. Read Steps
Use: Used for check release on man dropback pass protection.
Short open step with outside foot toward the man to be blocked and read his movement. The RB should always maintain an inside position if the man rushes. If the man drops off into coverage the RB releases on the route desired.

3. Blocking Techniques
In all the blocking techniques discussed below except pass protection, the RB uses a dive step as his initial movement.
A. Lead Block
Use: Situations where the RB must control the outside of a defender's body.
Out of the stance, the RB must attack the line of scrimmage with speed. The RB must stay low with back flat and head up. The aiming point is the bottom of the of the playside number. On contact the RB should have his inside foot in the middle of defender's body. The RB should roll the hips into the block on contact and drive feet on the follow through.
B. Kick Out Block
Use: Situations where the RB must control the inside of a defender's body.
The movement up to contact is similar to the lead block. There are two key points the RB must execute properly. First, the RB's head and shoulders must be lower that the defender's head and shoulders on contact. Second, the RB's approach must be as flat a possible from the inside. The aiming point is the bottom of the defender's inside number.
C. Cut Block
Use: Break contain type plays where the point of attack is outside the end.
The cut block is also referred to as a log or hook block.
The initial movement is similar to the lead block. The aiming point is the outside thigh of the defender. On contact the RB must work to get his head outside the defender. The RB's objective is to drive the defender's outside thigh backwards.
If the defender tries to skate outside and the RB can not get his head outside, he should roll the biggest part of his back into the defender to tie him up. The RB must stop the defender's upfield rush as a minimum objective.
D. Fire Block
Use: 3 step drop protection
Out of the stance, the RB must attack the line of scrimmage with speed. The RB must stay low with back flat and head up. The aiming point is the defender's inside thigh. On contact the RB should roll the hips into the block and drive the feet on the follow through. The objective is to get the defender's hands down so the QB can throw quick perimeter type passes.
E. Pass Protection
Use: Dropback pass protection.
The initial movement for Pass protection is a read step. The aiming point and technique for pass protection is similar to a kick out block. The RB should hit the defender hard enough to stop defender and force him to restart his rush. If the RB can force the defender to restart within 1 - 2 yards of the line of scrimmage the RB has won the battle in most instances.
After the initial contact the back must be taught to recoil, gain his balance and strike a second blow.

4. Skills and Drills
A. Handoff and Mesh Points
Handoffs and mesh points must be practiced daily with the quarterbacks. The drills should practice the steps of the plays in your offence.

Points to Emphasize
·RB's Inside elbow is on top
·Let the quarterback place the ball in the pocket. Do not let the RB reach for it.
·RB's eyes are focussed on his key not the ball.
·Two hands on the ball until the RB passes through the line of scrimmage.

B. Eye Focus Drill
Objective: To have the RB focussing on the his key during the mesh.
Equipment: Footballs and cones
Set Up: Set up the cones so that they have the same spacing as the aiming points of the running plays in your offence.
Execution: Have the RB's and QB's run the plays of your offense. You will play the role of the RB's key. Watch the RB's eyes, they should be on you before, during and after the mesh.


C. Ropes
Objective: To develop a high knee lift.
Equipment: Rope set
Every hole
Every-other hole
Crossovers
Explosion Jumps
Zig-Zags
Side shuffles
The last four 4 drills above can be done without a rope set. I use crossovers, explosion jumps, zig-zags and side shuffles without ropes as agility drills for RB's and WR's.
D. Line Touches
Objective: To develop good balance while running.
Equipment: Footballs, 4 cones
Setup: Set up a line of cones 5 yards apart. If you have a lined field the cones are not needed.
Execution: One line of RB's on each side of the line cones.
Have the RB's touch the ground every cone with their free hand as they run down line of cones. Be sure to the RB's switch the ball from one side to the other after every touch.

E. 2 Point Wave
Objective: To develop quickness and reaction.
Equipment: None
Setup: Two lines of RB's facing the coach 5 yards apart. The coach should be 10 to 15 yards away from the front of the line.
Execution: On a verbal signal, the two RB's at the front of the line run toward the coach reacting to the coach's hand signals..
Right, Left and straight ahead signals are all you need to run the drill.

F. Lateral Cut Drill
Objective: To develop quick feet and cutting off the proper foot.
Equipment: Footballs and two bags or cones.
Setup: Shown in diagram below
Execution: After handoff as quickly as possible change direction and re-accelerate forward. Make cuts in both directions.
Emphasize breaking off inside foot.
Work both left and right sides.

G. Hit and Spin Drill
Objective: To develop skill in escaping a tackler.
Equipment: Footballs and a hand shield or stand up dummy.
Setup: Shown in diagram below
Execution: After handoff lower the shoulder and deliver a blow, quickly spin off and re-accelerate forward. The blow must be delivered with the shoulder opposite the ball.
Emphasize spinning on the foot opposite the ball.
Work both left and right sides.

H. Bounce Drill
Objective: To develop skill in escaping a tackler.
Equipment: Footballs and a hand shield or stand up dummy.
Setup: Shown in diagram below
Execution: After handoff, lower the shoulder and deliver a blow with the shoulder and forearm, bounce laterally and re-accelerate forward. The blow must be delivered with the shoulder opposite the ball.

I. Sideline Drill
Objective: To develop balance and skill in keeping in bounds after contact.
Equipment: Footballs and hand shields (and cones if the practice filed is not lined.)
Setup: Shown in diagram below
Execution: After handoff, lower the shoulder and deliver a blow with the shoulder and forearm, bounce laterally and re-accelerate forward. The blow must be delivered with the inside shoulder. The object is stay in bounds.

J. Gauntlet Drill
Objective: To develop balance and skill in protecting the ball in traffic.
Equipment: Footballs and hand shields
Set Up: Set up as shown below.
Execution: The RB accelerates through the gauntlet protecting the ball. The players with the hand shields should try to deliver a forward blow.


K. Pass Protection Drill
Objective: To develop skill in pass protection.
Equipment: Tackling dummy 2 cones
Set Up: Set up as shown below. Linebackers or other RB's can be used as pass rushers.
Execution: On a snap count from the coach, the RB sets up for pass protection and attempts to keep the defender away from the bag representing the QB.
Emphasis is on proper angle of attack and exploding into the defender on initial contact.
This drill can also include situations where the pass rusher drops into coverage and the RB check releases.

L. Pass Routes and Ball Drills for Running Backs
The drills for pass receiving and routes should the same as those you use for your receivers.