Welcome to Drill of the Week, a series on ACTIVEkids.com that explains individual and team drills for parents and coaches to help kids improve at the sports they love.
This week's drill is Defending the Deep Ball, a football drill brought to you by CoachUp.com.
For defensive backs, protecting the deep ball prevents big offensive plays that can shift a game's momentum entirely. Not surprisingly, defending against it has been called one of the sport's most stressful and difficult situations. While one may assume that speed is the most important factor in play, it actually involves an incredible amount of cerebral intelligence, instincts, and knowledge of the situation as well.
Larry Anam, former New England Patriots defensive back and current CoachUp coach, walks through key points to remember while defending the deep ball in this video.
The most important takeaway is to keep your hips parallel to the receiver while running. If you're running hip-to-hip, you're ultimately putting yourself in a great position to succeed. That way, you're able to turn and look for the ball without losing the whereabouts of your assignment. When cornerbacks attempt to play without contact, they often put too much space between them and the receiver, resulting in a frantic attempt to catch up. Prevent this situation by keeping your body up against the receiver as much as possible without penalty. Try placing your hand on his hip, so if he jumps for the ball, you'll know instantly and have the chance to make a play on it.
More: Defensive Back Technique
Furthermore, your coach may have a certain philosophy on where, how, and when to look for the ball while running. However, it's important to realize that before you can make a play on the ball, you'll have to have the receiver next to you. So, grab a friend or teammate to practice this situation so that you're ready for the big moment come game time!