What are the Best Drills for the Youth Football Defensive Back?


Your defensive backs will be responsible for more than just covering receivers at the youth football level.  In our 34 defensive scheme the defensive backs are used as containment and linebackers.  All you youth defensive backs must be fast and know how to open field tackle.

To become a good football defensive back, it is important at an early age to practice the fundamentals over and over through football drills customized to improve the specific skills and athleticism needed. A few football defensive back drills are listed below but you can find many more football defensive back skills & drills in our Youth Football Drills Book.

Three basic fundamentals for the youth football defensive back to learn are the proper stance, how to backpedal, and how to perform an effective break. Defensive backs are known as the secondary defensive unit in football. Most commonly they are the corners, safety and, in some defensive schemes, the nickel or dime back.

There are various ways for a coach to teach the most effective defensive back stance at the line of scrimmage. Of course, every coach is looking to gain an edge on every play, and in the case of defensive backs, he wants every advantage for coming off the line with speed and power. A staggered stance with the feet is thought to be most effective for balance and agility.
The feet should be positioned with the toe of one foot lined up with the instep of the other foot. The feet should be shoulder- width apart with most of the weight positioned over the balls of the feet. This position provides for ease of movement while reacting to the play and maintaining balance. The back should be straight with the head up surveying the field. The arms should be hanging loosely at the sides. Backpedal
Becoming adept at backpedaling is an important skill in the defensive backs arsenal. This takes hours of practice for the youth football defensive back who is trying to find his feet, so to speak. He must learn to backpedal with speed and balance while not tripping over his own feet. The Break
The break is a transition from backpedaling to closing in on the receiver to break up the play. A defensive back that can cover, backpedal, and break fluently and efficiently can shut down an opponents passing game. Anticipating the timing of the “break” is an art form. If the defensive back breaks too early, the quarterback may look elsewhere for a play. If he breaks too late, the pass may already be complete.Below are some examples of drills to practice to improve as a football defensive back:

Youth Football Defensive Back Drills

Defensive Back Backpedal Drill – Create two single-file lines at the sidelines. On the whistle, two defensive backs begin backpedaling to the hashmarks. The players should be bent forward at the waist, feet shoulder-width apart with their weight positioned evenly over the balls of their feet. Backpedal with Reaction to the Football- This youth football defensive back drill will teach the players how to break quickly from a backpedal position. Line the players up as mentioned above. Have the defensive backs perform the same backpedaling drill. Once they reach the hashmarks, throw a football either right or left to force them to break. You can perform this with a whistle as well and forego the football. Just whistle when you want them to break.Like all youth football drills, practicing these and other drills help make the defensive fundamentals second nature to the youth player, and they can be practiced off the field too, whether in your back yard or out in the park.

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