Welcome to part four of our series on coaching specific positions when you have new players to the game of football. I feel as if these drills can be used from youth through high school, but especially in the earliest stages of learning the fundamentals. This article focuses on the Wide Receivers.
The best resource I’ve found for coaching WR’s has been Urban Meyer’s DVD on the complete wide receiver. The first steps to coaching WR’s, as with any position, is stance. WR’s need to get in their stance, almost an upright track stance, with their hands in front. Once stance is perfected, WRs must learn how to take off and start working hard down field. Almost every route we run will start with a hard push down field (hitch, comeback, vert, slant, post).
Once WRs can get in their stance and explode upfield, we work on teaching them how to catch the football. We start with elbows bent, pointer fingers and thumbs together making a triangle, and we follow the ball in.
Coach David Kelly (Colts, UCF) taught me a drill using throwing tennis balls, and at times hitting them off the rackets, that improves the WR catching as well as eye hand. A classic drill is also to split the tip of a football into four quadrants and to number them. You then have the WR call out the number they see as they follow the ball into their hands.
WR’s are also responsible for blocking. Good drills to improve blocking are a classic stalk drill where the WR has to run down field and get his hands on a CB that’s trying to avoid the block. Another is simply having the WRs block a 1-man pop sled. The “chicken coup” drill is another great drill, having a 4×4 box made from cones and have your WR’s move their feet to block defenders that are allowed to make any move they wish.
Next, we put our WR’s through typical route running drills, but we lay out cones to set our breaking points. This gives the unit visual cues for where routes should be ran to and how to break off into the route.
Lastly, there’s nothing better for WR’s than 1on1 drills working against a pesky CB covering him in man-to-man coverage.