Empowering Coaches Step-By-Step

The "Gauntlet" Drill

The Gauntlet drill helps us develop youth running backs. It is a drill that has been around for at least 40 years but is one that still has value in teaching kids today. It is used today at the youth, high school and even college levels.

Here is how we do it:

Line up 2 rows of players facing each other, just 4 feet apart.
A running back is set up so he receives a snap just 2 yards from the opening of the 2 lines.
Once the back takes the snap and “seats” the ball, he has to explode through the 2 lines of players running at full speed.
The players in the 2 lines job is to slap at the ball, punch it from behind and pull on arms to create a fumble without stopping or impeding the runner.
Once the running back makes it through the gauntlet he runs the ball to the coach and goes to the end of the line of the gauntlet.
The next running back then is taken from the front of the line to take the next snap.

The key points for the running backs is to make sure both points of the ball are covered, he is running full speed, running low, keeps his head and eyes up and he keeps his feet moving.

This drill teaches our backs: ball protection and acceleration and helps us coaches tell who has power and who doesn�t. This drill tells you who your real backs are, not races or sprints.

You can add nuances to the drill like having 2 coaches with hand shields at the end of the gauntlet. The coaches are facing each other and squeeze the back as he tries to run through them. The back must stay low and accelerate to make it past these 2 coaches.

If you have a lot of hand shields, you can have all the players on the gauntlet line take one and form a tight fit about 2 feet apart that the running backs have to run through.

The gauntlet is a tried and true football drill that still makes sense for youth football players today. Remember you can have the best drawn football plays in the world, but your back will still have to run through contact at some point, this drill teaches that.

Copyright 2007 Cisar Management.
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