Great defensive backs constantly practice their footwork. They know that speed and strength aren't enough—they pay attention to their agility lest they wake up one morning and find they're not as nimble as they thought they were.
In the videos below, Reshard Langford, a 6' 1" and 209-pound strong safety, demonstrates some of his favorite NFL-level footwork drills. Since leaving Vanderbilt University in 2008, Langford has spent time as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles, the Kansas City Chiefs and the Detroit Lions.
This drill trains a player's body control as well his ability to stay low in the backpedal and flip his hips before turning to run.
- Set up on the hash marks.
- Backpedal, flip your hips to each side several times, make a speed turn and accelerate to finish the drill.
- A verbal or visual command by a coach can cue the flip of the hips.
This drill trains a player's ability to accelerate and decelerate while redirecting in and out of breaks and maintaining body control.
- Using cones or lines, backpedal for 5 yards before breaking forward and accelerating at a 45-degree angle.
- Decelerate quickly and backpedal for another 5 yards before breaking forward at another 45-degree angle and accelerating to finish the drill.
Short Box Drill
This highlights a player's foot quickness and short-area acceleration.
- Set four cones in a square approximately 3 yards apart.
- Starting on one side, backpedal from one cone to the cone directly behind it.
- Accelerate to the cone at the opposite corner.
- Again backpedal to the cone directly behind you and quickly change direction and accelerate toward the cone where the drill began.
- The final pattern will resemble an "X."
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