Developing football skills is something that is usually left to the football coaches, but dads (and moms too) can share a part in the development of a young players football skills. Not only will these drills maintain and improve football skills, but will also provide something much more important: quality time spent together. Here are the drills, feel free to modify them as needed. Remember, the more difficult the better!
The first drill to develop football skill is what I call get the ball. Get the ball is designed to develop both a player’s ability to move past an opponent and develop football speed and quickness. The drill is very simple. Place a football about 10 yards away. The father stands with his back to the football with the son facing the father (and the ball) about 2 yards away. At a signal, the youth is to shoot past the adult and get the ball. The amount of resistance the adult provides can vary from none to as much as possible depending on the youth’s age and skill. I recommend starting with the adult moving only side to side and not using hands or arms and encouraging the youth to ‘swim’ past the adult. The youth should be encouraged to run full speed and dive to recover the football. If the youth’s age and skill allows it, the adult should turn as the youth passes and go for the football as well.
The second drill to develop football skills is what I call fill the gap. This drill is often used with a running back shooting through a gap and a linebacker filling the gap. We are going to use only the linebacker side of it (remember, defense wins championships). Four cones are lined up in a line about 3 yards apart. The youth is placed on one side of the line, with the adult on the other. Each person should be about two yards back from the line. The drill begins with each side beginning to chop their feet quickly. The adult is to quickly take a step to one side or another. At this one step, the youth is to move sideways until they are in front of the hole to that side then sprint forward through the hole. The youth must move side to side as moving forward at an angle makes it more likely that they will get caught up in the blocking (remember in the real game there will be an offensive and defensive lineman engaged where the cone is.
The third drill is the simplest. The adult holds the football with the youth standing directly in front of him. At a signal the youth is to run straight out and the adult is to toss the football up straight over the youth’s head. The most difficult catch in football is a ball that comes straight over your head. The youth is to try to catch the ball and stop and sprint it back to the adult. If the youth does not catch it they are to run it down and dive on it simulating a fumble recovery, then sprint the ball back to the adult. This football drill is designed not only to practice catching the ball, but more importantly basic body coordination.
Remember dads, these drills are meant not only to improve the youth’s skill development but to be fun and spend time together. Football is only the most important thing in life while you are on the field. Have fun, goof around, and make this enjoyable.