Good footwork is crucial to success in football. The ability to start quickly from a game stance, change direction quickly without losing balance and drop back to block or throw the ball depends on sure footwork. With high repetitions, footwork drills can also increase and develop physical fitness.
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The Star Drill
Players in any position can perform the Star Drill, which develops change of direction and running speed for a football player. Mark out a five-yard box with a center cone in the middle of the box. Place a speed ladder two yards outside the box that will serve as the finishing point. The player begins on the center cone and runs out to touch all four corner cones, returning to the center cone each time. Next the player runs out to the speed ladder and sprints through the ladder. The coach should emphasize players taking two steps out to the corner cones, staying low and performing quick and explosive changes of direction.
The Zigzag Run develops hip flexibility, body balance and body control. Place three to five football players in a straight line separated by three to five yards. The football player performing the drill carries a ball in both hands and zigzags through the players, planting his outside foot to change direction quickly. The runner should drop his hips upon change of direction and keep his eyes forward so he can see openings in the defense during a game. Progress this drill by having the standing players swipe at the ball to emphasize the runner carrying in both hands and keeping the ball secure.
Stance and Start Drill
The Stance and Start Drill develops the ability of a running back to start quickly and hit top speed from his stance. The drill begins with a running back taking his game stance. On the coach’s command, the back pushes off his standing foot and sprints forward as quickly as possible. This drill is also performed with the running back firing forward to the left and right at 45-degree angles. Progress the drill by having the running back receive a handoff and accelerate through a hole in the offensive line to simulate a game situation.