Break on the Ball Drill

Setup

A coach and a player begin the drill by facing each other and standing a few yards apart. Ensure that the player has ample room behind them in order to give them space to back peddle into the field and avoid any collisions.

Purpose

Teaches defenders to break on the ball by quickly transitioning from a back peddle into a sprint down on the ball. This drill is particularly beneficial for defensive backs who are back peddling into coverage but quickly need to react to a throw underneath them in order to make a play on the ball.

Drill Description

The coach begins the drill by sending the player backward into a back peddle downfield. After a few seconds, the coach points down and to either the right or left side to indicate to the players to transition out of their back peddle and break down in the direction the coach points. The length of time that the coach keeps the player in the back peddle should vary each repetition in order to keep players on their toes so that they are forced to build their reaction speed.

The players should anticipate the signal from the coach and react as quickly as possible as they stick their back foot into the ground and quickly break on the ball in front of them.

This can either be an individual drill or a group drill. If there is a group of players doing this drill simultaneously, then they should each space out across from the coach. Since the coach will point them all in the same direction, all players will be able to break down and run at the same angle without running into each other.

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