Handoff Drill


Line up your quarterback and your running backs within the proper pre-snap backfield alignment and formation for your most common running plays.


Reinforce proper ball safety while handling the ball during the exchange between the quarterback and running back. The chemistry between the players in the backfield should be so firm that there is never a fumble in the backfield during the course of a handoff. Constant repetitions of the Handoff Drill while reinforcing the proper technique to minimize turnovers and maximize run play performance.

Drill Description

Call a particular running play and have the quarterback and running back perform the entire play from beginning to end. Start the first few reps at walking speed in order to focus on the precise technique for the handoff, and then gradually increase the speed until your players are at full speed. By starting with the initial snap count and running the ball downfield, it will allow your players to get a sense of the timing in order to successfully execute handoffs at game speed.

There are many elements to a clean handoff; namely, spacing, timing, running back pocket location, and quarterback ball position. Your quarterback should have a firm grasp on the ball as he reaches it towards the running back. The running back, in turn, should have proper spacing from his teammate and give a large pocket with his arms in order to provide an accessible location to receive the ball. Once the quarterback places the ball in the running back’s belly, the running back should clamp his forearms and hands down on the ball and secure it as he departs with the ball from the Quarterback and heads downfield.

Focusing multiple repetitions on a certain run play will help to ingrain the player’s muscle memory for a smooth handoff exchange.  The smoother your players are able to hand off the ball, the fewer fumbles you will have, and the more speed from the running back as he departs from the quarterback towards the line of scrimmage after gaining control of the ball.

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