Running backs are the most versatile players in football; they are the players who line up behind the offensive line to receive the ball from the quarterback and run as far as possible before he gets tackled by the opposition.
The only reason they are called the most versatile is that they can catch, run, block, and even throws a pass; this player does everything, that’s why running back drills are important
Running back helps catch passes and block linebackers; there are different types of running back positions like Fullback and halfback.
Earlier, when all the running back players wanted to gain yards and carry the ball, it is now more pass-centric where these football positions make it better with individual expertise.
Getting pushed back on fourth or thrown for a loss on a sweep and inches near the goal line is a nightmare for every running back. It would be best if you were a great blocker and open holes for your teammates, which will eventually keep you off the bench most of the time.
One of the Important Skills of the running backs is the need for quickness and acceleration. Most of the breakaways in Youth Football rely on bursts of speed that is gained, which happens in a sudden snap of moment, and for that few seconds of acceleration gained, you have to give hours of practice.
Running backs should improve on their acceleration, deceleration, strength, and change in direction drills. Today in this blog, I will share about the best workout and conditioning drills that have helped the most significant NFL running backs improve the game so that for you in youth football, you can bring those exercises on your regime.
Running backs training workouts.
Football is known for its hard work, and it becomes a lot more complicated for running backs. And workout for strength and agility plays a significant role for the youth football running back performance.
Here are some running back specific strength training exercises.
Cone jump cut.
For a cone jump cut, you need a few cones placed a 5 yard apart where there would be one starting one and the other ending. If you are a beginner, then working twice a week should be enough and for experienced working once a week would give you all the differences.
This, for running backs, provides your ball carriers to swiftly change the direction being more agile as they navigate tacklers and avoid blocks while running downfield.
When youth running backs are looking to shoot through the offensive line, the jump-cut technique can get very handy.
Space two cones in 5 yards, giving space for acceleration, where the first cone would be the starting cone and the other being the ending cone.
For doing the drill, you have to sprint from the starting cone and run to your top speed; once you get to the second cone, do a lateral jump cut, reaccelerate to the five more yards reaching to the next cone, stop and lateral jump and follow the same process until the last cone.
This drill for running backs helps a player improve their acceleration and deceleration technique and enables you to avoid injuries during the gameplay, works excellent for the edges of the feet, and maintains a low center of gravity in position-specific motions.
Jumping rope is a great way to isolate those fast-twitch muscle fibers that give you the ability to fire off the ball when snapped. This helps with speed and agility training and helps stabilize knees and ankles to avoid injuries during the season.
Squats are universal exercises for everyone, and I love doing squats before my warm-up exercise.
A squat is a versatile exercise that targets many muscles in your lower body like for example,” quads, glutes, and hamstring.”
Once you have warmed up with a few reps, you can start lifting weights to increase the exercise’s intensity.
The squat has been the most popular exercise for everyone working out, but there is a lot to see about the posture you are squatting on. A wrong squat stance can result in irregular pains and back pains.
So here are the tips to make sure you are squatting correctly.
Stand with your hip one foot apart and turn your toes forward or little towards outside.
Make your back straight, as shown in the video, and engage with your core; slowly lower your hips until your thighs are parallel to the ground or 90 degrees between the legs.
Pro tip: To know whether your back is straight or not, face your chin a little upwards and try to focus on 2 feet above your height level, which will eventually result in making your back straight.
Exhale and stand back and repeat the process for 3 to 4 reps.
Flat Bench press.
Using a dumbbell flat bench press allows a more excellent range of motion than using a barbell, and this means you can work more on your pec muscles and your triceps.
Opting for dumbbells also trains each side in isolation, so you can make sure one arm is just as strong as the other.
Lie back on a bench holding a dumbbell in each hand beside your shoulders, as shown in the picture. Your palm should be facing your feet while holding the dumbbells in the starting position.
Press the weight above your chest by extending your elbows until your arms are straight, slowly bringing back the value down, and continuing with multiple reps. Dumbbell flat bench press targets the anterior and lateral heads of the deltoid and pecs and triceps. It helps the running back with pushing abilities, such as when he wants to make his way past the defensive line.
Superset the exercise with dumbbells rows to get a full upper body workout.
Drills for youth running back.
Pass protection drill.
Pass protection for youth running back is one of the crucial drills you need to emphasize. It teaches the player regarding its right position, moves laterally without any crossover, and maintains its base, improving its pass protection drill and speed and agility.
An excellent running back pass starts with correct recognition of the defensive pass scheme, and therefore as the recognition of the defender, the running back has to defend.
Motive Behind the Drill: The drill’s motive is to develop pass blocking skills for the youth running backs.
Set up: The setup for the pass protection drill is very straightforward; you need two players who can hold dummy defense where you have to work with a pass protection drill and follow the coach’s command.
Procedure to do the Drill: Line up the running back in a tremendous athletic stance with two defensive players on either side standing with a dummy defense where you have to work side by side with multiple punches and rotation and body motion.
With the coach command, the running back will punch left and right one by one and repeat, going back and forth. Keeping the punch fundamentals the same where you have to keep the elbows inside, brings the thumbs up and has a muscular punching strength that you can develop from the workout explained above.
Track and Tackle Drill.
Track and tackle drill became prevalent around 2014 when Seattle Seahawks head football coach released his entire tackle catalog, including the one Track and tackle.
Now it’s hard to find a program without the use to track and tackle running backs. The drill’s main motto is to limit his options and tight space into the ball carrier.
Once the basics are Mastered, there are four significant scenarios that defenders need to rep in preparation, like on one track, outside-in tracking, partner tracks, and more.
Motive Behind the Drill: Major reason behind the track and tackle drill is to limit the offensive line to limit his options and tight space into the ball carrier. Where tacklers need to identify the target and leverage and decide the proper angle and point of contact before the attack.
Set up: Set of this drill requires one player with a dummy running in the same direction as the player, the player with the dummy should line up around six to seven yards from the tackler, where he can change the speed and acceleration, and the linebacker has to decide and tackle the dummy player accurately.
Procedure to do the drill: Running back has to track the dummy player running in the same direction, having different directions and speed until he is into the position to attack and make a tackle.
Once the dummy starts moving, while keeping your shoulders and hips straight, track the dummy, decide where it will be at the time of tackle, not in the current position, and move in a diagonal position.
Once you’ve decided to make a tackle, fire your arms, place your lead foot in front of the ball while making contact with your shoulder.
These are the top drills and workout plans for youth running backs that better tackle your tackle skills and develop overall conditioning and increase speed and agility. Making you change directions and generate snap acceleration when required much hassle, resulting in reduced injury and better gameplay.