Running an effective two-minute drill is one of the toughest things to do in football. The ability to teach players how to move down the field using a limited amount of time will stress any coaching staff. That being said, there are a few different elements that coaches can focus on to make things easier for the players and increase the chances for success.
Elements of Running a Simple 2 Minute Drill
The first thing that a coach must do to increase the chances of success for his team in a two-minute situation is to ensure that the players understand the rules. Too many coaches assume that players know the rules and it isn’t until it’s too late that they realize the players don’t have a complete understanding of the rules. We have a period early in the year where we go over the basic rules and make sure that every player on the team knows these rules. Things that we cover are clock stopping on out of bounds, incomplete pass and first downs; the rules for spiking the ball; and the effect of different penalties.
Another key element of running an effective two-minute drill is to minimize the time the team needs to huddle. The best way to do this is by sending in two plays at a time to ensure if the clock is running the offense can get on the ball and run a play right away. The beauty in sending in two plays with the Quarterback is that if the result of the play stops the clock you can change the play or keep the original play, but if the clock is running the Quarterback can communicate the play quickly and get the ball snapped before too much time runs off the clock.
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Another element that many team’s take for granted is the Spike Play. Coaches assume that if they yell in for the offense to spike the ball, they will know exactly what to do and execute the play correctly. Just like any other play, there must be a specific set of rules for the spike play so that when it’s time to spike the ball the team can move efficiently and get the clock stopped as quickly as possible. Our base rules are that all receivers get on the line as quick as they can. It does not matter the formation that they line up in and who is eligible, the only thing that matters is they get set quickly and the offense has 7 men on the line of scrimmage. The other rule is that the Quarterback always takes the snap form under center.
The last key element to having an effective two-minute drill is to practice it in a competitive setting. A two-minute situation is one of the most stressful situations in football. It’s critical that players, and coaches, have had time to work through these situations in practice before they encounter the situation in a game. This gives them a chance to use the rules and tools that you have established before they are asked to do them in a high stakes environment. Two-minute situations are also stressful for coaches as they have to get the play in quicker. By practicing in a competitive two-minute situation you will get practice at calling plays at this tempo and your players will know what to expect.
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The two-minute drills is not too different from any other situation in a football game. It’s critical that your team has a set of rules established and knows what to expect. The time to go through the learning process for a two-minute drill is in practice so that when the pressure of a game comes along the players are prepared and able to show off their skills.