Taking a Handoff in Football
I bet there are thousands of plays across the country that are wasted because of poor handoff exchanges. Taking a handoff in football is overlooked by many youth football coaches. This is a technique that many coaches do not commit enough practice time too. Taking a handoff in football is one of the first techniques we teach our running backs. We will teach how to take a handoff in our individual position practice section. We will practice this technique throughout the entire season.
Our running back coach will put our players through conditioning drills that require the running backs and QB to give and take handoffs. Once the kids know the technique, it becomes all about reps. Every time you are running a play in practice, make sure the handoff exchange is perfect. If it isn’t then redo the play. Like everyone, we will run a play again if it was executed incorrectly in anyway. If the handoff exchange between the QB and running back isn’t clean, we will run the play again with focus on executing a good hand exchange. We don’t always run the same play again (slows tempo), but early on in the season we will.
Coaching Points for Running Backs
- Inside arm is up (arm nearest to the QB). If you are taking a handoff to the left, your right arm needs to be up. If you are taking a handoff to the right, your left arm needs to be up. Another way to teach it- inside arm is always up!
- The RB must come down on the ball once it is placed in his “bread basket“. You do not want to take the ball from the QB.
- You do not want the running back to belly towards the QB for the handoff. It is the QB’s job to get to the running back and hand the ball to him. If the point of attack is the 5 hole, the running back needs to run right at the 5 hole. Again, it is the QB’s job to get the RB the football.
- Running back’s eyes are always looking where he is running. You want the running back to be looking which way he has to cut.
- Once the ball is inserted into his bread basket, the RB must secure the football and maintain two hands on the football going through traffic.
Coaching Points for Quarterbacks
- The QB must insert the ball into the bread basket of the running back. The QB has to look where he is inserting the football.
- QB shouldn’t slam the ball in the bread basket, he should just insert it and the running back will come down on the ball.
- You want the QB to get the RB the football in the backfield. You don’t want the QB to give the running back the ball close to the line of scrimmage. This can be an issue because if there is penetration, the running back will have no time to adjust his path.
- It is the QB’s job to receive the snap and meet the running in the backfield and at the point of attack. QB has to move his feet.
Here are some “must do”- Running Back Drills