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List Of Football Drills

List Of Football Drills

In order to dominate on the gridiron, you must practice all aspects of the game of football. The list below will explain drills for passing, running, defense, and tackling. While you may be limited to one position on the field, it is important to know the rest in case of emergency situations.

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Passing Drills

Popular football passing drills include:

Pocket Movement

This drill focuses on footwork as well as making throws on the run. The quarterback will set up with a ball ready to go on command. The coach will blow the whistle or provide another “go” signal. The quarterback will take a 5 step drop. As he does this, the coach will direct the quarterback to move forward, backward, or laterally, signaling with their arms. The quarterback will follow the signals until the coach yells “ball.” The quarterback will then throw to the target down the field. The target can either be another teammate or an object such as a trash can.


The quarterback will set up with a ball at the line of scrimmage. A stationary receiver will be set up down the field ready to receive a pass. The quarterback will rotate through 4 types of dropbacks; 3 step drop, quick 5 step drop, big 5 step drop, and a 7 step drop. After completing his drop back, the quarterback will throw to the stationary target.

Roll Out

This drill focuses on making accurate throws on the run. A quarterback will set up with the ball and take a 7 step drop including a roll out either to the left or right side. A stationary target will be in place, and the QB will throw the ball to the target after completing the roll out.

Throwing Routes

This drill is one of the most important, as it gives quarterbacks the confidence to accurately throw the ball during a game. Lined up with a receiver either to their right or left, the quarterback will snap the ball and throw to the target as they run the specified route. The most common routes include a quick slant, out, in, curl, go, corner, and post.

Running Drills

Popular football running drills include:

  • Off-Tackle Reaction
  • Change of Direction (COD)
  • Blast Read
  • Gauntlet

Off-Tackle Reaction

The running back will line up behind the QB. On the snap, the running back will take the handoff and run in between two cones set up between the tackle and guard on either side. Beyond the cones will be 4 step over dummies that the running back will have to hurdle. After that, the coach will be standing behind a tackling dummy about 5 yards away. The coach will signal the running back to avoid the dummy either to the left or right. The running back will make a move and then finish the drill with a 20 yard sprint.

Change of Direction (COD)

This drill focuses on both footwork and ball handling. The running back will line up 7 yards behind the QB, who will take the snap and pitch the ball either to the right or left. The running back will run around a cone that designates the tight end. Five cones will be placed ahead in a zig-zag pattern. The running back will go through the cones by changing his direction as well as switching the ball between both arms. The drill finishes with a short sprint after the last cone.

Blast Read

The running back will be in a 2 point stance behind the quarterback. After the snap, the runner will take the ball up the middle of the field. He will approach a coach with a bag in his hand. The coach will signal the RB to make a move either to the right or left side of the bag. After the cut, the running back will run around a cone and sprint up the field towards the end zone.


Two lines of players will form a tunnel for about 10 yards. A running back will be given a ball and directed to run through the tunnel. As they makes their way through the tunnel, the players in line will attempt to make them lose the ball. They can either slap, grab, or punch at the ball in order to make the running back lose possession. The goal for the RB is to make it through the gauntlet without losing the ball.

Defensive Drills

Popular football defensive drills include:

Backpedal, Turn, and Catch

A defensive back will stand about 25 yards from a coach, facing away from him. On the whistle, the DB will backpedal towards the coach. After a minimum of 10 yards, the coach will yell the command “ball.” This signals the defender to turn around and catch a ball that is thrown at him. He will then sprint past the coach to finish the drill. This helps mostly with footwork but also reaction time when turning around.


A defensive player will line up about 10 yard from the coach, who has a ball in his hands. On go, the coach will either motion the football forward, backward, or to either side. The player must shuffle, backpedal, or sprint depending on which direction the coach signals him. He will follow the ball as the coach moves it around for about 30 seconds. The drill will always end with the defender sprinting towards the coach, and helps defenders learn to be quick on their feet when reacting to a pass while they are in coverage.

Pass Rush Left & Right

A linebacker will stand about 5 yards from a tackling dummy in a two point stance. On the whistle, the defender will approach the bag as the coach signals him to go either right or left. If right, the linebacker will perform a swim move on the dummy and sprint by. If on the left side, the LB will execute a rip technique and then sprint by on that side. Repeat in order to get used to the correct form. These two moves are essential to getting pressure on the quarterback, as well as the most effective when going against an offensive lineman.

Angling Drill

All defensive positions can attempt this drill, as it is important when chasing an offensive player down. Set up a line of offensive players close to the sideline, with their objective being to out run the defender straight up the field. A line of defenders will be set up parallel to the offensive players about 10 yards apart. On the signal, the offensive player will begin to run, and the defender will have to adjust his angle depending on the speed of the offensive player. The goal is for the defender to catch the offensive player.

Tackling Drills

Popular football tackling drills include:

  • Head to Head
  • Oklahoma

Head to Head

Two players will lie down on the ground with their helmets touching. A coach will have a ball in their hand, and they will throw it to one of the players on the ground. Whoever catches the ball will act as the runner, the other as the defender. As soon as they catch the ball, both players will get up off of the ground. The runner will try to avoid the defender whose goal is to tackle the player with the ball.


Two cones will be set up about 5 yards apart. One player will have to act as a running back, one as a linebacker, one as a defensive lineman, and lastly, one as an offensive lineman. The goal is for the defense to tackle the player with the ball, who has no choice but to run at them. The running back will choose a gap within the cones and try to escape without being tackled.

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