To the casual NFL fan, the name “Nnamdi Asomugha” may not register. Even hardcore football fanatics might recognize the Oakland Raider cornerback only as “the guy with the unpronounceable name.” However, after a 2006 breakout campaign, which earned him a Pro Bowl invitation, Asomugha’s name became synonymous with “one of the best DBs in the business.” His rise to stardom can be attributed to his emphasis on proper technique and flawless footwork.
The old adage about football is that “you can’t teach speed.” Though partially true, success as a defensive back hinges on many other, often overlooked skills. “Speed is just an added bonus,” Asomugha says. “If you’ve got all the speed in the world, but you don’t have the technique or mental discipline to stay focused and remain in your technique, then your speed isn’t going to matter.”
To improve his agility and mental discipline, Asomugha incorporates the Defensive Back Awareness Drill into his training regimen twice a week. The drill focuses on starting and stopping footwork. Use it to learn and practice your technique to help make a name for yourself on the gridiron.
Defensive Back Awareness Drill (View Diagram)
- Place four cones or speed discs in a square 5 yards apart
- Starting at cone 1, sprint to cone 2
- Backpedal from cone 2 to cone 3
- Sprint from cone 3 to cone 4
- Backpedal from cone 4 to cone 1
- Finish by sprinting from cone 1 through cone 4
- Perform 2 or 3 sets with minimal rest between sets
Goals: Improve your footwork and avoid hitting cones during each set
Adaptations: Move the cones closer together or farther apart
Coaching Points: Perform at full speed // Be aware of cones during drill; if you hit one, start over // Maintain proper backpedaling technique; if you stand up or lean back during backpedal, start over // Look forward and keep head up at all times