The defense lines up in their base defensive formation. One coach will run the drill in the position of the Quarterback and will need one player, or “rabbit,” flanking each side of him.
Optionally, line up eleven cones down each sideline, spaced 2 and a half yards apart, to indicate the spots your defense will run to.
Teach the defense the correct angles to take as they pursue a ball carrier down the sideline. A defense with a great pursuit will come up with more tackles and this drill teaches the proper way to do just that.
The coach begins the drill be simulating a snap. Upon starting the drill, all members of the defense begin running in place. The coach will then throw the ball out to one of the players, or “rabbits,” beside him. These players are called rabbits because after they catch the ball, they will begin running as fast as they can down the sideline while the defense chases them.
As soon as the ball is thrown, all defenders begin pursuing towards the rabbit. Coaches should ensure that players are taking proper angles in order to cut off the rabbit.
The teamwork portion of this drill means that each player needs to match themselves up with a cone. If a cone is already covered, then they will need to locate the nearest available cone. Once at the cone, players continue chopping their feet in place until the coach blows a whistle to end the drill.
The Pursuit Drill requires a lot of running so it is best used towards the end of practice as a precursor to or replacement of conditioning.