Best youth running back drills

Developing running skills is essential for youth football players, especially for those who play the position of running back. Running backs are responsible for carrying the ball and gaining yards on the field, so it’s crucial for them to have strong running techniques and abilities.

There are several drills that can help young running backs enhance their skills and become more effective on the field. These drills focus on improving speed, agility, footwork, and ball handling, allowing players to maneuver past defenders and gain yards for their team.

One effective drill is the Cone Drill. In this drill, players set up cones in a specific pattern and practice their footwork and change of direction skills. They start at the first cone and sprint to the second cone, touch it, then sprint back to the first cone. They continue this pattern, touching each cone until they reach the last one. This drill helps to improve quickness, agility, and the ability to change direction quickly, which are crucial for running backs.

Another useful drill is the Ball Security Drill. Running backs must have excellent ball security to prevent fumbles during games. In this drill, players hold the ball in the proper position while defenders attempt to strip it away. The running backs must practice maintaining a tight grip on the ball while maneuvering and evading the defenders. This drill helps to improve ball handling skills and teaches players how to protect the ball effectively.

Best Youth Running Back Drills

Developing the skills and techniques necessary for success as a youth running back requires a specific set of drills that focus on agility, speed, and ball control. These drills are designed to improve a player’s footwork, acceleration, and ability to evade defenders while maintaining control of the football. Here are some of the best drills that youth running backs can practice to enhance their performance:

1. Cone Agility Drill

This drill involves setting up cones in a straight line, about five yards apart. The player starts at one end and must run through the cones as quickly as possible, weaving in and out. This drill helps improve lateral movement, balance, and the ability to change direction quickly, which are crucial skills for a running back.

2. Ball Security Drill

Ball security is of utmost importance for a running back. One effective drill for improving ball security is the Gauntlet Drill. In this drill, players form two lines facing each other, with one line holding blocking pads. The player with the football must run through the gauntlet, with the players in the opposing line attempting to knock the ball out. This drill helps players develop a strong grip on the football and teaches them how to protect it while facing pressure.

3. Acceleration and Speed Drill

To improve acceleration and speed, the ladder drill is an excellent option. Set up an agility ladder and have the player run through it as quickly as possible, taking one step in each square. This drill helps improve footwork, leg strength, and explosiveness, which are essential for a running back to quickly burst through holes in the defense.

4. Route Running Drill

Route running is essential for a running back, as they often need to catch passes out of the backfield. Setting up cones to simulate different routes can help players practice their cuts and breaks. This drill improves the running back’s ability to create separation from defenders and make precise cuts while maintaining their speed.

5. Blocking Drill

While the primary role of a running back is to carry the football, blocking is also an essential skill. The blocking pad drill is a good way to work on blocking technique. Have the player face a coach or teammate holding a blocking pad and practice engaging and driving the pad back. This drill helps improve the running back’s blocking form, strength, and ability to take on and control a defender.

By incorporating these drills into their training routine, youth running backs can improve their agility, speed, ball control, and overall performance on the field. Consistent practice and repetition of these drills can make a significant difference in a player’s abilities and contribute to their success.

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Speed and Agility Drills

Speed and agility are essential skills for any youth running back. These skills allow players to quickly change direction, avoid tackles, and burst through gaps in the defense. Here are some effective drills to improve speed and agility:

  • Cone drills: Set up a series of cones in a straight line or in various patterns. Have the running back run through the cones as quickly as possible, focusing on sharp turns and quick acceleration.
  • Ladder drills: Use an agility ladder to perform a variety of footwork exercises. This can include high knees, lateral hops, and quick side-to-side movements. The ladder helps improve coordination and foot speed.
  • Shuttle runs: Set up two cones about 10 yards apart. Have the running back start at one cone and sprint to the other cone, touch it, and then sprint back to the starting cone. Repeat this drill multiple times, focusing on explosive speed and quick change of direction.
  • Reaction drills: Use a partner or coach to simulate game-like situations. Have them signal which direction the running back should go and the player must quickly react and change direction. This helps improve response time and agility.

These speed and agility drills should be incorporated into regular training sessions to help youth running backs develop the necessary skills to excel on the field. By focusing on speed, agility, and quick decision-making, players can become more effective at evading defenders and contributing to their team’s success.

Footwork Drills

Footwork is essential for a youth running back to excel on the field. It allows them to make quick cuts and change direction, helping them evade defenders and gain extra yardage. There are various footwork drills that can improve a youth running back’s agility and coordination.

One effective footwork drill is the ladder drill. This drill involves laying out a ladder on the ground and having the running back step into and out of each ladder square as quickly as possible. This helps improve their foot speed and coordination. Another footwork drill is the cone drill, where cones are set up in a zig-zag pattern and the running back weaves in and out of them. This drill focuses on agility and lateral movement, allowing the running back to navigate through tight spaces on the field.

In addition to ladder and cone drills, there are also agility ladder drills that can enhance a youth running back’s footwork. These drills involve running through an agility ladder placed on the ground, using specific footwork patterns such as high knees or lateral shuffles. This helps improve their balance, coordination, and quickness. Another useful drill is the dot drill, where a pattern of dots is laid out on the ground and the running back jumps from dot to dot in various sequences. This drill enhances foot quickness and explosiveness.

Ball Handling Drills

Ball handling skills are crucial for a running back in football, as they need to be able to secure the ball while dodging defenders and making quick cuts. These drills focus on developing the player’s ability to control the ball and maintain possession in various game situations.

1. Cone Weave Drill

This drill helps improve a running back’s hand-eye coordination and agility. Set up a series of cones in a straight line, about 5 yards apart. The running back starts at one end and weaves in and out of the cones while carrying the ball securely. They should focus on keeping their eyes up and maintaining control of the ball throughout the drill.

2. Gauntlet Drill

2. Gauntlet Drill

The gauntlet drill simulates the challenges a running back may face when running through a crowd of defenders. Set up a line of defenders about 5-10 yards apart, forming a narrow path. The running back must navigate through the defenders while maintaining control of the ball. This drill improves the player’s ability to protect the ball and make quick decisions under pressure.

3. One-Handed Ball Drill

This drill focuses on developing a running back’s ability to secure the ball with one hand while maintaining balance and agility. The player starts by holding the ball with one hand and performs various agility exercises, such as side shuffles or high knees. The objective is to keep the ball securely in the hand while performing these movements. This drill helps improve the player’s ball control and hand strength.

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Drill Focus Cone Weave Hand-eye coordination, agility Gauntlet Ball protection, decision-making One-Handed Ball Ball control, hand strength

These ball handling drills are essential for any youth running back looking to improve their skills on the field. Practicing these drills regularly will help develop the player’s ability to secure the ball and maintain possession in different game situations.

Blocking Drills

Blocking is a crucial skill for a youth running back to learn. It is important for the running back to be able to effectively block defenders in order to protect the quarterback and create space for other players on the field. There are several key blocking drills that can help develop this skill.

One effective blocking drill is the “Fit and Finish” drill. In this drill, the running back starts in a low stance and works on quickly engaging with the defender. The focus is on using proper technique, such as keeping a low center of gravity, maintaining a wide base, and striking with the hands. The running back should aim to drive the defender back and finish the block by maintaining contact and controlling the defender’s movements.

Another drill that can help with blocking is the “Mirror Drill.” In this drill, the running back stands facing a coach or teammate who acts as the defender. The coach or teammate makes quick lateral movements, and the running back must mirror their movements, staying in front of them and using proper technique to block. This drill helps with agility, footwork, and reacting quickly to changing situations on the field.

Overall, blocking drills are essential for a youth running back to develop the necessary skills to effectively block defenders. By practicing these drills regularly, the running back can improve their technique, strength, and ability to create space for their teammates on the field.

5 Best youth running back drills

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Question and answer:

What are blocking drills?

Blocking drills are exercises that help improve a player’s ability to block an opponent’s shot or attack in sports such as basketball and volleyball.

How do blocking drills help in basketball?

Blocking drills in basketball help players develop their timing, reflexes, and defensive techniques to prevent opponent’s shots from scoring.

What are some common blocking drills in volleyball?

Some common blocking drills in volleyball include the wall blocks drill, the pepper drill, and the triple-block drill.

How do blocking drills benefit volleyball players?

Blocking drills in volleyball help players improve their footwork, timing, and technique to effectively block the opponent’s attack at the net.

Are there any specific drills for blocking in football?

While blocking is an important aspect of football, drills specific to blocking are focused more on offensive and defensive line techniques rather than individual player blocking drills.

What are blocking drills?

Blocking drills are training exercises that focus on improving a player’s ability to block or defend against attacking shots in sports such as volleyball or basketball. They help develop technique, timing, and spatial awareness.


In conclusion, blocking drills are an essential part of any athlete’s training regime in sports such as volleyball and American football. These drills not only help to improve the performance of individual players but also enhance team dynamics and overall defensive strategies. By focusing on techniques like footwork, hand placement, and timing, athletes can develop the skills necessary to successfully block their opponents. These drills also promote physical fitness, coordination, and mental discipline, all of which are crucial for success on the field. So whether you are a professional athlete or just starting out in the sport, incorporating blocking drills into your training routine will undoubtedly bring about positive results.

Harrison Clayton

Harrison Clayton

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