Welcome back for Workout for Running Backs Part 2, where we introduce drills you can do to get better at the things NFL scouts tend to look for when they’re scouting running backs.

In case you didn’t know, I didn’t make up this list of skills, I got ’em from some credible sources; The late-great Bill Walsh, Greg Gabriel, a former NFL scout with over 30 years of experience, and one of the nation’s premier scouting authorities, Scouts Inc.

If you want to check out their articles on your own, check out Bill Walsh’s How I Evaluate Each Position: Halfback, How I Evaluate Each Position: Fullback, Gabriel’s Scouting Running Backs from the National Football Post, and Scouts Inc on Running Backs from Espn.com by Scouts Inc, which discusses the criteria they use to grade running backs.

Let’s finish up.

Footwork/Cutback Ability


This video, courtesy of McFarland Training, gives you a bunch of good drills you can do to work on your ability to cutback and get to holes the split-second they open.

Here’s a drill that you can do holding the ball that’ll help you with your footwork.

All you need is some cones and a ball.  (Courtesy Expert Village)

This one helps you develop the footwork to make the sharp cuts you’d use during a run.


The last drill is more of a balance-related drill that’ll help you stay up to gain extra yards after you’ve been hit.

All you need for these are some cones.  (Courtesy Expert Village)

Here’s another one from Expert Village that’ll help you with your footwork.  This time, they introduce you to the “weave” and “hop-cut” drill.

These drills do a great job of simulating what really happens during a football play.

You’ll need another person with you that can hold a bag or something for you to react-to at the end.

By the way, these drills’ll help you develop your instincts as well.  Don’t believe me? The Green Bay Packers run these drills to help develop the vision and instincts of their running backs.

You can’t really do these on your own.  Don’t have bags?  Most people don’t.  Make something up around the house to get it done, if you have to.


Ball Security

This video gives you some pointers and fundamentals to help you secure the football when you’re running with the rock.video-

The drills in this video gets you used to taking the ball from the quarterback in the hand-off.  Unfortunately you can’t do any of these drills without the help of at least one other person.  (Courtesy PlaySportsTV)

This one, courtesy of Nike, will help you control the rock too.


Loose Hips

Increasing the range of motion in your hips is crucial for running backs.

The drills in the video below can help you with that.

You may look funny in the gym doing this one, but it works wonders on helping you get the flexibility in your hips that scouts want to see.

If you have an exercise ball at home, you can do this one at home as well, obviously..

This video gives you some additional stretches you can do to stretch out your hip flexor to increase your mobility in your hips.

Now if the exercises in this video didn’t look helpful for helping you get more flexibility in your hips, I wouldn’t post it.

Why?  Because this guy should’ve had a shirt on, I’m not sure why he doesn’t.  He looks wierd.

Nonetheless, if you can look past how he looks, and you can focus on the stretches, I’m sure it’ll help you out.


Body Control

I don’t think much explaining is needed on this one, just watching the video makes it pretty apparent that this’ll help you develop better body control.


Same thing with this one, which is the same as the drill above, except it’s done with one leg, instead of two.

The 90 degree hip popper drill helps with body control too.

This ladder drill will help you with your body control.  You don’t need to buy a ladder, you could actually put some tape or chalk on the ground and get the same results.  (Courtesy – DreAllDay.com)



A major part to developing your vision as a running back is developing your peripheral vision.

If you have the patience to hear what he has to say, listen to his message from the beginning, and you’ll get a quick lesson on how your peripheral vision works.

The video is kinda based around martial arts, but I’m sure the techniques will help you on the football field too.
If you don’t, fast-forward the video to about the 1:45 mark, and he’ll start showing you exercises you can do to develop your peripheral vision.



The drill below will help you with your balance.

This one too.


Change of Direction/Quickness

Tim Gardner, from Expert Village, gives you some solid tips on the physics behind what goes on when you’re trying to change directions.

He uses these facts to develop an easy-to-understand philosophy of what your training regimen for improving your change of direction abilities should focus on.

The video below introduces the 2-3-2-3 drill, which’ll help you with your lateral agility and quickness.

They’re using speed hurdles on the video, but you should be able to find something (or make something) around the house that you can use instead.

This drill, is designed to help you develop the lateral speed you’ll need to excel as a running back.

This drill reminds me of my db days back in college.

I really like the drills in this video.  Just watching these guys perform these drills makes it pretty obvious that they can help you change directions on a dime.

Former NFL running back Eddie George introduces you to the Five-Star Drill, which helps you with your burst and quickness, and is also good for conditioning, and training you to run low.

This drill helps you with your quickness and agility.  Pay close attention to what’s going on in the drill, though.

After the sprint to the first cones, he’s not just running sideways, he’s running doing a cross-over with his hind leg.

Once you watch the video, you’ll understand what I’m talking about.

Do you know about any other good drills that are good for running backs?  Yeah?  Leave ’em in the comments, then!

You should follow me on Twitter!  @alvingrier 

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