Here are the 3 wide receiver progression drills we did at our international youth football camp. These drills are done in progression and they focus on the basic fundamentals of wide receiver play. These drills are very simple and they don’t take up a ton of time. These are drills that should be done every single practice.
Drill # 1: Stance
It all starts with a proper stance. A receiver’s ability to explode off of the line of scrimmage depends almost entirely on his stance. In addition, a good stance will also allow a receiver to beat press coverage.
Line up all the players across the field. Have them work on their receiver stance. Make sure the coaches are fixing any stances that aren’t correct.
Related Content: Beating Press Coverage
- Outside foot back is what we teach. The receiver can have any foot back, whichever is conformable.
- Shoulders square. The receiver should not lean, that will give away which way he is going. Shoulders straight, head turned watching the football.
- Weight more so on the front foot. If most the weight is on the back foot, the WR will get knocked off balanced against a press defender. This will also allow your receiver to explode off the ball.
- Hands should be up and cocked, ready to beat any press defender.
Drill # 2: Stalk Blocking
A receiver’s job goes beyond running routes and catching passes. A receive must consistently be able to block defenders in space. Many times receivers will be called on to even crack block. We tell our receivers that if they aren’t willing/able to block then they won’t be playing much receiver. Receiver stalk blocking is very important because youth football is very run heavy. There are instances when you can just run off a defender, but most of the time receivers will need to block.
The coach and receivers are 5 yard apart. On the whistle the receiver releases up-field at the coach holding the pad. Once the WR is 2 yards from the CB he must get under control, breakdown and watch the midsection of the receiver. The wide receiver then stalks the CB/coach holding the blocking shield. The receiver must drive his route up the field until the CB realizes it’s run.
Related Content: Stalk Blocking Technique for Wide Receivers
- Come off the ball hard, make defender think it’s pass.
- As the receiver closes the distance to the DB he must get under control and focus on the midsection of the DB.
- Feet need to be active and chopping.
- It’s like guarding someone in basketball, you should always follow them and keep them in front of you.
- Hands should be inside, keep feet active.
- Once the defender starts to evade the block, engage the defender and just take him anyway he wants to go.
Drill # 3: Route Running and Dropping Hips
You will need several cones. The types of routes you want your receivers to practice will be determined by the route concepts in your playbook. Your players need to be practicing the route that they will have to run in the game. Don’t waste time on routes you will not be using.
This is an excellent drill video that goes through how to run several different routes. It gives good examples of foot work and how to drop the hips and explode into your break.