Get to the Sticks

Setup

Indicate the first down line by using yardage markers or some sort of symbolic representation of the down and distance chain.

Purpose

Train your wide receivers to have awareness of the field and awareness of the situation while running their routes. On a third down play, it would be useless to gain five yards if you need seven. This drill teaches players to watch the “sticks” to know where they need to go to adjust their route to get the first down.

Drill Description

Players run hook routes and modify the distance to ensure they pushed to the proper depth to ensure they gain a first down if thrown to. This usually means that receivers push upfield a yard or two further than the first down line in order to give them enough space to plant and come back for the ball without giving up space in front of the first down line.

Utilizing a quarterback for this drill also adds an element of teamwork and helps build chemistry, as the quarterback learns how far his wide receivers tend to go in a given situation.

Throughout the drill, a coach can modify the location of the first down line so that players must continually keep an awareness for where they need to go in order to “get to the sticks” and procure a first down.

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