By Steve Heck and Matt Pirolli, FNF Coaches Contributors
Steve Heck is in his ninth year as the wide receiver coach at Kutztown University. In 2015, The Kutztown offense broke the school record for total offense. Matt Pirolli just completed his first season as the wide receivers coach at Central Bucks West High School (Pa.). In 2011 Pirolli was a receiver on Kutztown’s historic PSAC conference championship team. The two coaches share six essential drills for wide receivers.
- Out Gauntlet Drill
- Dig Window Drill
- Minnesota Drill
- Clemson End Zone Drill
- Clemson Comeback Drill
- Sideline 49er Drill
With the advent of items known as wide receiver chutes or doors, the receiver coach finally has some props he can utilize at practice. Wide receiver doors are tubular frames that sit on the ground, forcing the player to move through them with a low pad level. They are available in football gear catalogs, or they can be custom-made by using PVC materials. Simply put, the wide receiver doors are the best tool invented to teach low pad level, route expression, top end footwork and a variety of other key receiver fundamentals.
1 THE MOST IMPORTANT ASPECT OF OFFENSIVE FOOTBALL IS BALL SECURITY. By using one WR door and three hand shields we created the Out Gauntlet Drill. It’s a simple, fast-paced, easy-to-organize ball security drill that reinforces several key fundamentals (Diagram 1). The WR door is placed near the top of the numbers and the sideline, Five yards away from the coach who is throwing. Three other players with hand shields are deployed five yards apart, a yard from the sideline. the receiver executes a five-yard out cut, making a 90-degree cut and snapping his head, eyes and hands around to find the football. after he secures the catch in his sideline arm, he quickly turns up field and attacks each of the three defenders. the receiver uses a dip-and-rip technique to create leverage as he blasts through the three defenders. The defenders are trying to squeeze the receiver out of bounds.
4 WE USE THE CLEMSON END ZONE DRILL (DIAGRAM 4) TO WORK ON LEARNING HOW TO NAVIGATE IN THE CONFINED SPACES OF THE END ZONE.The receiver starts at the back end line and makes two 90-degree breaks before finishing in the back corner of the end zone. The coach stands out around the 10 yard line and delivers a variety of throws to challenge the receiver in confined space. it is important to force the receiver to adjust to throws that are both high and behind him. These two-plane adjustment catches are very difficult, yet occur often. Focus on the ball. Feel the end line. a final coaching point with end zone receptions is the skill of “clearing” the ball away from the defender.
Dan Guttenplan is FNF Coaches senior managing editor. Do you have a thought about this article you would like to share? Send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet us @fnfcoaches or share it on the Coaches Chat Board.