Wide receiver drills often miss the mark, because coaches do not always take the time to teach their athletes how to catch the ball properly.
Catching the ball sounds simple enough. But try doing it when you are exhausted and running at full speed against double coverage. It’s extremely difficult.
The five wide receiver drills below will help you catch the football with greater confidence and consistency. They start off simple and progress to more intense, game-like situations.
The more you practice, the better your pass-catching skills will become.
Find the Laces
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Your goal is to find the laces on the ball as it is thrown to you. Or, put a small colored sticker on the ball and focus on it as you catch the ball. When you use your eyes to focus on the ball, you will have fewer drops. To add difficulty, jog or run routes and find the laces on the ball as it comes to you.
This is a great warm-up for receivers. It needs to be done at a jogging pace at first. Once you are confident that you have correct hand position, you can speed things up. Correct hand position allows you to look the ball in (find the laces) and work with the flight of the ball, not against it.
The correct hand position for catches is as follows:
- Pass in front of your body: pinky fingers together
- Pass behind you: pinky fingers together while turning with the ball
- Low pass: pinky fingers together
- High pass or chest-high pass: thumbs together
- Over-the-shoulder catch: pinky fingers together
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Band Arm Pull
Two or three people and one resistance band are needed for this drill. The goal is to help you catch and hold on to the ball when a defender is pulling on your arms. This drill increases your arm and shoulder strength while improving your pass-catching skills in traffic.
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Ladder Drills Plus Catches
Most catches are made while running or moving at full speed. Focus on moving your feet and catching the ball at the same time. This drill can also help receivers move laterally at the line of scrimmage to beat press coverage.
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Four people are needed for this drill, which is great for the end of practice. The first two catches work on finding the laces. The next catch focuses on hand position and catching the ball before going out-of-bounds. The last catch is a full-speed route, running against a defender.
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