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Basic Footwork Drills

Below are the standard footwork drills that we use and the coaching points. For all the drills we expect the athletes to abide by these basics:

  1. They are to perfrom them at half speed (we want the footwork perfect.. not fast)

  2. They are to keep perfectly staggered and in sync (think military precision)

  3. They are to catch and tuck a ball at the end of every drill

Ladder (Figure 1)

The athlete will enter the left side of the cone and buzz his feet around the cone. The athletes will remain one cone apart at all times. This means the trailing player has to mirror the speed of the player in front of him.

Back Peddle (Figure 2)

It is very important that the players plant their back foot at a 45 degree angle. This is to prevent slipping and is a habbit that is not natural so must be repped many times. The player jogs to the first cone and the back peddles 5 yards, puts a foot in the ground and jogs to the next cone.

45s  (Figure 3)

The purpose of this drill is for players to focus on the ability to slow their body, lower their center of gravity, buzz their feet and then explode off their plant foot. We can't stress enough that players focus on doing these elements correctly so 1/3 speed is best and never more than half speed.

Coaching point: Have the players over exagerate the last element of pushing off their plant foot by shooting their lead hand at the next cone. Also, make sure each player stays in sync with the other players (like in the previous drills) there should be a cone between them at all times.

Open Field Tackle  (Figure 4)

Players stand 10 yards apart from each other (five if junior high) and on the first whistle the players on Side A buzz their feet in place. On the second whistle they approach the opposing player on side B who is standing with his arms out like a scarecrow and buzz their feet while breaking down (arms back). On the third whistle, A makes a form tackle by shooting his hands from low (waist) to high (grabbing jersey on back of scarecrow).

Coaching Points: It is very important that the player tackling approaches either the left or right shoulder of the scarecrow (not head up) as we are teaching them to dictate which way they want the player to cut. In sixman we want them on the ground and we dont care about the extra three yards they might fall forward. Also, we want them to break down before making the tackle. We are slowing down all the major elements off the tackle an only letting them progress through the whistles.

Eights  (Figure 5)

This is a drill that looks to serve no purpose as it does not emmulate game scenarios. We took out all such drills with the exception of this one because it allows the athlete to gain a level of confidence and it promotes teamwork. In all our drills, the team runs for every ball dropped during the footwork drills. The catch at the end of eights is tricky because the ball is thrown to them before the make the turn.

The result is some players take the easy road and widen the last turn to make catching the ball easier.. others make the turn slowly so as to make the catch easier. Over time we have experienced players desiring to make the turn faster and prove they can attack the catch. It is by far a favorite amongst most players.


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