Slow Feet Don’t Eat

Regardless of which drills you are working, Focus On The Techniques & Fundamentals!

3 Quick Thoughts on Agility

Movement skills are essential for players at every position in the game. As a defensive back, I rely on my agility and change-of-direction skills to chase down shifty running backs in space and cover blazing fast receivers all over the field.

Agility ladder drills are my favourite, hands down.  I’ve used ladders and cones in my workouts for over 15 years to develop my speed, coordination, balance, and explosiveness.

A quick YouTube or Instagram search will return countless drills for developing quickness and stop-on-a-dime cuts. So how can you separate the helpful from the hype?

Try not to get caught up in the idea that you need to do something highly complicated to get the high-level results you need.

22’s Tip: “WHAT you do does not matter as much as HOW you actually do it.”

Regardless of which drills you are working, Focus On The Techniques & Fundamentals!

Here are 3 Tips that I keep in mind whenever working on my feet:

  1. Bend Your Knees
    Begin every drill in an athletic stance, just as you would if you were getting lined up to play.  Start with your knees bent and your head up. The goal is to maintain that same knee bend and posture all the way through to the end of the drill. Think “Compact & Comfortable”.
  2. Slow is Smooth & Smooth is Fast
    Do not rush! Give your brain a chance to learn the footwork patterns of the drill at a controlled tempo. This will go a long way in developing the coordination and muscle memory needed to take the drills to the game. Start slow.
  3. Arms!
    Naturally, every lower body movement is counterbalanced with movement in your upper body. However, when people are focussed on their feet they have a tendency to tighten up their upper body. If you want to move your feet quickly, your arms will have to keep up. Do your best to relax and be natural. Shake it out, drop your shoulders and pump your arms.

Work on these 3 things during your next workout or practice.

Do you have any agility tips? Leave your coaching points in the comments below.

– 22

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Football 101: Off Man Coverage

Every DB wants to be labeled a playmaker, but before you can show off your ball skills and footwork you need to master the basics.

courtney-ticats-practice

 

When you line up against some of the best receivers in pro football week in and week out you can bet that your technique is going to be put to the test.

 

It takes something special to become a shutdown cover guy at any level. A good defensive back relies on sharp reflexes, great instincts, and composure under pressure to make plays and impact the game.  Every DB wants to be labeled a playmaker, but before you can show off your ball skills and footwork you need to master the basics.

 

When you line up in man-to-man coverage (m2m) keep these 3 Coaching Points in mind:

 

  • Alignment
  • Pad Level
  • Eyes

Alignment 
Before the play set up 7-9 yards away from your receiver. Avoid aligning head up with the player you are covering. Instead, take a step inside, towards the quarterback to establish what we call “inside leverage”. In general, the defenders head should be in line with the receiver’s inside shoulder. Work to maintain this relationship throughout the duration of the route. An inside leverage alignment allows you as a defender to better protect against all inside breaking routes (i.e.: In, slant, dig, curl, or any route breaking towards the QB). Remember, you don’t always have to knock the ball down or pick it off to be successful. If they don’t catch it, you did your job. Force the quarterback be perfect with the ball.
“Run to win.” – 22
Pad Level
You always want to keep your pads down. The ideal body position when covering m2m is bent knees, with feet shoulder width apart & chest up (as opposed to bent over at the waist with the head down). Defenders should establish this posture before the play and maintain it while back-pedalling and transitioning or making breaks.
“It’s hard to be athletic with your legs straight.” – 22
Eyes
Discipline your eyes. From the line of scrimmage to the top of the route, the defender should be focussed on a small, coin size point on the receiver’s lower body – usually the hip. The hips move less during fakes and jukes than the shoulders. When the receiver’s hips drop, prepare to change directions.
“You can see a lot if you learn to see a little.” – 22
When the receiver’s hands raise to catch the ball, get ready to make a play on the ball. If you’re close enough to lean on the receiver (“in phase”) you can turn, locate the ball and attempt an interception.
If you are outside of arms reach (“out of phase”), trying to catch up with your receiver, never look back for the ball. Instead, focus on the receiver’s face and hands to get a sense of when the ball is coming. Your best bet is to just run to catch up. If the ball is underthrown and the receiver has to slow down you might be able to make a play.
“Don’t fall asleep. Cover like the ball is coming your way every play.” – 22
These are just some guidelines to get you started. Alignment, pad level and eyes. Take these tips to the field next time you’re playing or coaching.
Have a Question? Leave your thoughts and suggestions in the comments section below &
Share this with a player or coach you know.
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