When coaching Tight Ends it can be difficult to find effective drills. Many times the receiving drills that coaches use come from Wide Receivers and are based around space and how best to use space. This does not translate to a Tight End’s world. In order to be an effective receiver the Tight End must be great at operating and catching the ball in a confined space. The Square Drill is a great Everyday Drill that helps Tight Ends learn how to operate in space while getting them a lot of catches in a short period of time.
The Square Drill for Tight-ends
Drill set up # 1
The Setup of the Square Drill is very simple. There are 4 cones set up in a rectangle with a height of 5 yards and a width of about 3-4 yards. The Tight Ends will align on the inside of the cones and work their release to the outside of the cone to start the drill. The setup of the drill can vary depending on which skill you are working on but the basic structure remains the same.
The first initial drill is just a square cut drill. In this drill the players work their release then drop their hips and cut off their outside foot at each cone. The ball will be thrown to them as the come off the last cone. When they catch the ball they will tuck it into a great ball security position before giving it to the coach. A way to ensure they are tucking the ball is to have them call laces or faces as they tuck the ball away. It’s not essential that they get the call correct, instead they need to be looking down to ensure the ball is securely in their arms.
Square Drill for Tight-ends set # 2
The second drill is the dump drill. Here players will take a great release and cut on the initial cone and then square up to the coach between the cones. The Coach or QB will deliver the ball to the Tight End. He will catch the ball, tuck it and accelerate up-field. In this drill the Tight Ends are working on finding space and setting up in it. To make the drill more difficult and restrictive you can place defenders on the 2 cones the Tight End is setting up between. Even if these players are just standing still it has the effect of limiting the space that the Tight End has and forces him to condense his movements.
A slight change on the Dump Drill can make it a perfect drill to work the Hunt Route as well. On this drill the cones need to be widened to about 5 yards so you have a 5×5 yard square. In this drill there needs to be a player acting as a defender starting at the front middle of the square. As the Tight End goes through the initial section of the drill the defender drops to either cone. The Tight End wants to react of this drop and set up in the space where the defender isn’t. This is a great way to teach the Tight End to find the open windows in defenses that develop from linebacker drops.
Square Drill for Tight-ends set up # 3
The last section of the Square Drill is the Arrow Route. In this drill the width of the cones needs to be 3 yards. Here the players will start on top of the cone facing sideways. They will then run their arrow route making sure they stay under the opposite cone, catch the ball and turn up-field with a 3 step burst.
The Square Drill is a great Everyday Drill that players can quickly learn and understand that allows them to get multiple reps in a short period of time. Due to the simple setup the Coach doesn’t take up time by switching cones up so there’s essentially no down time.
(See Also) How to Utilize a Tight-end in Your Offense
(See Also) Tight-end Corner Pass Play