Coaching Youth Football Running Backs
Here is a definitive guide to coaching youth football running backs. Follow these instructional points for a successful run game:
- Attitude- Running backs must develop an “attitude” when they run the football. Attitude meaning running hard and aggressive. What I always tell my running backs is just because you are running the football doesn’t mean you cannot hit, deliver the blow to the defender. Run with confidence and an attitude that they cannot tackle you!
- The Handoff- The running backs must always have their inside arm up when taking a handoff. It is the QB’s job to get the running back the ball at the point of attack. The running back must never belly or come to the QB for the handoff. For example, say the play is attacking the 6 hole, it is the QB’s job to get some depth into the backfield and hand the football off to the RB at the 6 hole. The QB needs to focus on inserting a clean handoff. The running back needs his eyes/head up so he can see which way he has to cut.
(See Also) Proper Technique for taking a Handoff
- Squaring the Shoulders- The ball carrier will have 11 players on the other side that will want to tackle and hit him. The running back needs to lower his shoulders and protect himself. Take the fight to the tacklers. Always play with head up and have two hands on the football when contact arrives.
- Keep the Legs Pumping- Run through the contact! During my many years of watching youth football games I have noticed a common mistake in nearly every game- the running backs stop moving their feet after contact. We teach our running backs to lower their shoulder and keep their legs pumping. Run through the contact, do not stop- keep those legs pumping.
- Ball Security- Keep two hands on the ball when contact arrives. High and tight, cover all the points of the football. You cannot be a running back if you fumble the football. Coaches have to practice ball security with their backs in practice.
It is no secret that the offensive line needs to block. If they do not block well, the running backs are in for a long day. But, running the football is all about attitude and desire. Running backs need to get down hill, protect themselves (lower shoulder), keep legs pumping and run with confidence.
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