As a coach the thing that I can’t stand is a lack of efficiency. When our players are on the field during practice, I want to make sure they are always in constant motion and getting better at their skill sets. The place where I see the most amount of inefficiency is during pre-practice. While most teams use this as a time to walk through assignments we use it as a time to get as many catches as humanly possible and one of the drills we use for this is the In and Out Drill.
The In and Out Pre Practice Drill
Like many spread to run offenses a lot of what we do is based around the quick passing game. For us, we want to create short, simple routes that force the defense to get out of the box and open up running lanes for our ground attack. In order for this to be effective and not fall behind on the downs, we must be able to throw and catch simple short routes. This means that we must develop the muscle memory to throw and catch these routes by working on them everyday. We use the In and Out Drill as a great way to develop this muscle memory.
The In and Out Drill is the final piece of our pre practice routine. We start with the Settle and Noose drill, then we move to the Over the Shoulder Drill. Finally we finish with our In and Out Drill. We start the drill with the Quarterbacks space 5 yards a part and a line of receivers five yards outside of each QB. On the movement of the ball the receiver will run 5 yards and then break out. The Quarterback will deliver an accurate pass to him so that the receiver can catch the ball and accelerate upfield.
The Out Drill is a very simple drill but there are a few small points that make it both an effective and efficient drill. The first is the timing of the ball the Quarterback throws. We are trying to develop the skill to catch the ball quick out of a break, so the Quarterback wants to start his mechanics as soon as the receiver plants his foot on the break. This will help ensure the ball is getting there quickly and the receiver is getting his head and hands around.
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The next detail is the burst of the receiver. For an Out route to be effective the receiver must catch the ball and burst up field. To simulate this we will put a gate that the receivers must run through, if they do not accelerate through the gate they have 10 push ups. The final piece of the out drill is to have players return the ball by coming back through the middle of the drill. While this seems like a very small part of the drill it allows the receivers to stay out of the way of the players who are going in the drill and it brings the ball directly to the Quarterback. In addition, it creates a natural pathway for the receiver to switch lines without causing any major disruption.
The next progression is to work the In Drill. For this the receivers will go an extra five yards out and run an in breaking route. By moving them an extra 5 yards out we keep the angle of the pass similar to the angle of the pass in the game and keep the channel open for the receivers to return the ball to the Quarterbacks. Besides the receivers starting wider and breaking in instead of out, everything else stays the same.
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The result is an efficient drill that gets receivers lots of reps catching passes coming out of the break. If the short passing game is a large part of your offense than both of these drills should be considered staples of your program and work as a great pre-practice drill or offseason drill to get a huge amount of catches in a short period of time.