In addition to the high level of skill required to play Football, to be successful you need, among other things; good strength, power, speed and agility.This article isn't about developing more size, strength or power, it's about developing football-specific skills that will help elevate your game and get you noticed for all the right reasons.
There are elements of every position that you can practice by yourself. Quarterbacks can work on their footwork, drop, and scrambling. Receivers can work on their routes and their release off the line. Linemen can work on their first move, footwork, and hands. Defensive backs can work on their backpedaling and break to the ball…and there’s much more.
The question is not what can be done, but rather how committed are you to getting better?
Showing up early to team training to get in some extra work not only gives you an advantage over your teammates and competition, it shows the coaches that you’re committed to the team and to becoming the best player you can be. Outside of scheduled practice time, you can meet up with a fellow teammate to practice skills; catching, blocking, passing, covering, and form tackling are just some of the things you can do.
It's called football, but often how you use your hands is the difference between winning and losing. Sound hand technique is vital for all positions, but those who benefit most are wide receivers, corners, linebackers, and of course, linemen on both sides of the ball.
Good hand technique is a key part of a wide receiver's release move when faced with press coverage, and on the flip side, for defensive backs using press coverage, using the hands properly helps disrupt the receiver's route and throws off the precise timing necessary for success.
Both sides of the line can't do their jobs well without good hand technique. For offensive linemen, poor hand technique means getting beat or flagged. An offensive lineman’s hand movements must be strong and precise, and also quick enough to defeat what the opposition is doing.
On the defensive line, good hands aren't something their insurance company promises, but a key part of getting off blocks to make tackles or pressure the quarterback. Here are some excellent hand technique and placement drills for defensive linemen.
Linebackers must be able to shed blocks effectively to do their jobs. As defenders, they have considerably more leeway in hand use than do those on the offensive side of the ball. Taking on blocks with their hands lets linebackers shed blocks more effectively. In pass rush situations or taking on a lead blocker in running plays, effectively ripping the offensive player's hands away and slipping past to make the play requires using good hands.
By the 4th quarter, most football players are performing at about 85-90% of their normal capacity. Imagine if you were able to maintain 100% capacity for the entire length of a game? That would mean that you’d have a significant advantage in crunch time, the point at which most games are decided. If you’re still at peak endurance near the end of the game, you’re playing on an entirely different level than everyone else on the field. That means you have better focus, your coaches are more inclined to call a play that allows you to become the hero, and you garner the confidence of your teammates when the game is on the line.
Work to get yourself in game shape by practicing at game speed. The more you play at full speed, the more prepared your body will be for the rigors of a football game. Run 40’s after practice, take more snaps, or run more routes. Just make sure you’re ready to go on game day.
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