SECONDARY COVERAGE DRILLS
By: Dave Francour, MarinetteI would like to thank the WFCA for allowing me to write this article about defensive secondary drills. I really enjoythe articles written by the other coaches throughout the State of Wisconsin. Hopefully this article will help somecoaches on the practice fields.The staff at Marinette believes in the eight secondary drills that I am about to explain. These drills are done everyday with our secondary for 15 minutes. The drills put our players into position during the games so they areconfident in their ability, which results in making plays.The eight drills are:1.Popsicle Tackling and Angle Tackling2.Heel Click 3."'W Drill4.Hip Swivel Drill5.Pass/Run Drill6.Mirror Drill7.Turn and Run Drill8.Ball at Highest Point Drill
Popsicle Tackling and Angle Tackling
The Popsicle sled is used in this drill. The player lines up 5 yards from the sled and on the coaches command,"HIT," he leads with his shoulder to drive the sled. The player must keep his eyes up and roll his hips up and under to lift the sled. The next player trails the player driving the sled and on the next "HIT" command he will replace the player driving the sled. The player driving the sled will quick release the sled and find the coach. As soon as the player makes eye contact with the coach, the coach will pass the ball to the player. When the ball is in the air theother players are yelling "BALL" and the player catching the ball yells "RAMBO" after the pick. This drill works ontackling plus the players get the chance to work on intercepting the ball.Angle tackling is done with the players being 5 yards apart. There are two lines with one being the offensive ballcarrier and the other being the tackler. On the coach's command "HIT' the ball carrier runs 1/2 speed in the direction predetermined. The tackler will roll his hips, keep his eyes up and get his head across the ball carrier. He is told tokeep his feet moving and drive the ball carrier back. We do not allow the tackler to take the ball carrier to theground. The players then rotate lines so everyone gets at least one chance to tackle going left, right and straight on.The two tackling drills should take about 5 to 7 minutes.
Heel Click Drill
This drill is done with all the defensive backs on the line facing the coach. The coach asks the players to get in acomfortable stance -- everyone is different -- and get ready. When the coach gives the command, "HIT" the players backpedal for five yards. When they hit the line they are told to heel-click and sprint forward for five yards. Heelclick is a short run in place with quick feet. This short run in place keeps the player's feet underneath him and prevents him from slipping down on his cut. Our secondary players are told to play pass first which means your firststeps are backwards, but once you read, run get up and help with run support. This technique is also used to close thecushion and gain ground on out routes with quick hitches.
The "W" drill is done to get our players to turn their hips, keep their nose over their toes and move their feet. The players line up in one line next to the coach. The drill is run from the sideline to the hashmark with the players backpedaling and running between five yard lines. On the coach's command, the player backpedals at a 45 degreeangle from the coach. When he hits the line five yards behind him he sprints up at a 45 degree angle to the line thathe started on. When he hits that line he drops his butt and backpedals at a 45 degree angle, hitting, the line sprintingat a 45 degree angle forward, this making the letter "W." The player should make between 6-8 "W's" before hereaches the hashmark on the field. When he reaches the hashmark he moves across to a five yard space and does thedrill back. This gets the player going in both directions. Coaches, make sure your players stay down, keep their noseover their toes, eyes up not looking at their feet, and have quick feet. It also gives you a chance to check their "Heer,Click technique.
Hip Swivel Drill
This drill is done from the sideline to the hash mark using the yard lines on the field as the players marker or acourse to stay on. The players go out in front of the coach one at a time. When the coach raises the ball the player backpedals keeping eye contact with the coach. The player must stay down, move his hips to one side and then come