How to Help Young Wide Receivers Get Open

Though precise route-running is important for every wide receiver, there often comes a time to improvise.

This drill, provided by the Youth Football Coaches Association, is a great learning tool for receivers to recognize an open pocket in the defense and come back for a quarterback's pass. It can double as a passing drill for quarterbacks.

For a printable .pdf of this drill and others, visit the YFBCA website.

The Drill


A diagram of the drill.
  • Use as many large stand-up bags as desired, depending on space and age group
  • Receivers align in a single file next to bag
  • On cadence, wide receiver shuffles behind and tight around bag
  • Quarterbacks align in front of bag and throws ball as wide receiver comes out from behind bag

More: Wide Receiver Drill: Catching High Passes

Coaching Points

  • Wide receiver must stay tight to bag to force an obvious lane for quarterback to throw the ball
  • Quarterback should throw ball when wide receiver is behind the bag so that he finds it when he comes back around the bag
  • Receiver must keep feet moving during entire drill
  • Show hands as soon as you clear the bag
  • Catch and turn up field
  • Run drill to both sides (right and left)
  • Substitute the stand up bag for garbage can, defender standing in place, or even a goalpost pad
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The founder of Youth Football Coaches Association and current director is Joe Bouffard. Bouffard, affectionately known as Coach Bouf, is a veteran of 16 years of coaching experience at various levels that include youth, high school and college. While at New Canaan High School in Connecticut, Coach Bouf employed a passing attack offense that has led to 2007 and 2008 Class MM State Championships. Currently, Coach Bouf serves as offensive coordinator at Fairfield Warde High School in Connecticut.

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