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American Football Training Drills

author image William Machin
William Machin began work in construction at the age of 15, while still in high school. In 35 years, he's gained expertise in all phases of residential construction, retrofit and remodeling. His hobbies include horses, motorcycles, road racing and sport fishing. He studied architecture at Taft Junior College.
American Football Training Drills
A young footballer is running down the field. Photo Credit cthomas888/iStock/Getty Images


Football practice develops the skills and techniques needed for players to block and tackle, as well as carry and catch the ball. The drills a coach employs should be designed to improve the individual's performance and the team's overall production during games. Training must include physical conditioning for hitting as well as drills for stamina and wind. An organized practice will include drills for all aspects of the game, such as offense, defense and special teams.


One-on-one blocking drills teach offensive and defensive players footwork and hand technique. Two players take their stance facing each other. At the whistle, offensive players are taught to get into the defender’s chest and drive with the legs to maintain contact. Defensive players must learn to manipulate the blocker with their hands and upper body weight to get through the block.


The box drill conditions players to hitting and teaches defensive players proper tackling posture that’s important to preventing serious injury. In addition, offensive players learn how to protect the football. Set the drill with four cones that form a box 5 yards square. Players line up at opposite sides of the box, and one is designated the ball carrier. At the whistle, the coach hands the ball to the ball carrier, who attempts to make it to the other end of the box. The player at the opposite end of the box must make the tackle within the cones. Players rotate so all have an opportunity to carry the ball and practice tackling.

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The 2-on-3 passing drill teaches offensive backs and receivers how to run crisp passing routes and make catches against defenders. In addition, defensive backs and linebackers develop pass coverage skills. The drill includes a quarterback with two wide receivers, and two defensive backs in man-on-man coverage with a linebacker in the middle. At the whistle, receivers run three-step slant routes over the middle and the ball is thrown to either receiver. The coach may elect to include tackling or limit the drill to hand contact only. The ball should be thrown to both sides during the course of the two-on-three receiving drill.

Wind Sprints

Wind sprints develop speed, stamina and lung capacity. Players line up on the goal line in a three-point stance. At the whistle, players sprint hard for 8 yards and reset on the 10-yard line. Allow two seconds for all players to get set and blow the whistle again. Continue the drill for the length of the football field and have all players jog a lap to cool down. Sprints should be conducted at the end of each practice to allow players recovery time.

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