I hope your season is going great! I wanted to check in and let you know some of the technique mistakes I am seeing in the first few weeks of Youth, High School, College, and NFL football.
If you go back to some of our Receiver basics, you’ll see Larry Fitzgerald teaching “route running & catching fundamentals.” These are the basics that will ultimately make you successful and help your team win games.
However, my guess is that you can look back at your film and see where you, or your team can improve. Perhaps you lacked some fundamental basics like getting off the jam, route running or catching. Below are five examples of the most common mistakes I see receivers make.
Receivers need to run, run, run, and then wait until the very last split-second to extend hands for ball. Many coaches refer to this as catching the ball with ‘Late Hands.’I teach my receivers to ‘snatch’ the ball out of the sky. I give them a mental picture of the lizard with the long tongue that snatches the fly out of the air. It’s quick! It’s split-second! It’s a fast catch.
Btw, here’s a good drill to train your brain to catch the ball at last second: video
You’ll notice that the receivers arms are behind his back and then he brings his hands out to catch the ball at the very last second.
On the other hand, if you run with your hands extended it does two bad things:
1. Slows you down
2. Tells the defender that the ball is arriving
Here’s a couple of examples of how to do it right…
When you attempt to catch a ball on your chest you run a high risk of the ball bouncing off your shoulder pads. Receivers should catch the ball away from their Body by extending their arms out and catching the ball with their eye’s and fingers and then tucking the ball into their arm closest to the sideline.
Many photos like these demonstrate that moment when a receiver reacts to a ball bouncing off their shoulder pads…
If I got a dime for every time I watched a receiver false step off the line of scrimmage (stutter step, call it what you want) I would own a NFL team! When was the last time you watched a professional sprinter false step or stutter step out of their start? The answer is, “NEVER!” Why? Because it wastes time. You don’t see Usain Bolt take a quick stutter step, or balance step once the gun goes off! Neither should receivers! Well, if your name is Usain Bolt you might be able to afford the wasted time but for the rest of you I’d recommend a good stance with”
1. Feet at arm-pit width, both feet pointed forward (not cocked or twisted)
2. Front foot is flat on the ground while the back foot heel is slightly raised.
3. 70% of your weight is on the front foot with a slight bend in both knees.
4. Your front knee is over your front toes and your chest is over your front knee.
***THE KEY IS THIS: when the ball is snapped, you want to ‘roll off your front foot smoothly.’
This mainly apply’s to vertical routes down the field. On a ‘Streak or Go’ route for example, if a receiver attempts to catch a slightly under-thrown ball low (at their hip level) it will most likely be batted down or intercepted by the defender. This is costly mistake that can make the difference between a ‘W’ and an ‘L’ in your team record. Here’s how to correct it…
Is your goal to make the crowd oooohhh and ahhhh? Or is your goal to make yards or even score a TD after you catch the ball? When a receiver leaves his feet to catch a ball when he doesn’t need to is senseless, it’s stupid, and it can even lead to serious injury. Unless your name is ‘Superman’ you can not control your direction or make a football move you when you are in the air. So why go to the air?
Rather than leaving your feet to make the catch look ‘cool’ why don’t you keep running with your feet on the ground, snatch the ball out of the sky, make a football move, and score a touchdown!
I’m just sayin.