Cornerback Drills That Cut to the Chase

Cornerbacks: hone your skills this off-season with five position-specific drills from STACK Expert William C. McDonald.

Cornerback Drills

There are so many agility and cornerback drills out there, it can get overwhelming. To help you save time—rather than wasting it on non-specific drills—I've put together of collection of some of my favorite cornerback position-specific drills.

Using cones will help you keep your angles sharp when you break, be efficient in your movements and finish the drills where you're supposed to.

To perfect the movements, alternate breaking to each side 4 or 5 times.

45-Degree Breaks

This is designed for covering the quick slant, arrow routes and hitches. You should break to the receiver's break-side shoulder, which is the shoulder closest to you. If you can, undercut the receiver and make a play on the ball.

To perform the drill, you must backpedal 5 to 10 yards and then break at a 45-degree angle.

90-Degree Breaks

This is for situations where receivers are running sharp "out" or "in" routes. Actually, you should break slightly sharper than 90 degrees, so you can undercut the route to make the pick.

Backpedal for 5 to 10 yards, then plant and break left or right at an angle slightly sharper than 90 degrees.

Post and Corner Breaks

Post and corner routes are deep slants across the field. When receivers run the corner route, they want to beat you to a corner of the field where the ball will be thrown. When running the post, they're trying to beat you deep across the field.

Backpedal 7 to 10 yards and then throw your elbow inside. Explode off your outside foot, bring your break side leg up and over, open your hips at a 135-degree angle, and burst for at least 10 yards.

Open Hip Post Breaks

This is for situations in which the receiver has broken your cushion. Receivers want every advantage they can get, and sometimes they get you to open up before they break underneath you on the post.

Regardless of whether you zone turn (with your back to the receiver, facing inside) or man turn (facing the receiver and sideline), you still want to stay on top of the route.

Backpedal 7 to 10 yards, open up and run for 5 yards, then whip around and burst 10 yards on the post.

Dig Route Breaks

Running a dig route, the receiver will stem you hard inside to get you to open up for the post, then cut his post off and "dig" straight across the field. It's basically a post mixed with an "in" route. Dig routes are hard for many cornerbacks to cover, simply because they aren't comfortable staying in their backpedal and weaving for extended periods of time.

Backpedal straight back for 5 to 10 yards, then weave (left or right) for 5 to 10 yards, then break at an angle slightly sharper than 90 degrees across the field to the same side you weaved.

You can reverse this drill by breaking to the side opposite your weave. This will help when receivers stem you inside and dig back toward the sideline.


When performing these drills, focus on your technique. This is very important. Don't just go through the motions. And remember, when performing these drills, always stay low, drive hard out of your breaks, and end each break with at least a 10-yard burst.

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