Breakaway Speed and Agility: Football Running Back Drills List

John Rizzo

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Football Running Back Drills List

In the fast-paced world of American football, running backs hold a critical position as playmakers and offensive weapons. The running back’s ability to navigate the field with agility, burst through defensive lines, and evade tackles is instrumental in driving the team forward.

To unlock their full potential, running backs rely on a comprehensive Football Running Back Drills List, a compilation of specialized exercises and training routines designed to enhance their skills and performance.

These drills focus on developing footwork, speed, power, ball security, and receiving abilities, transforming running backs into versatile and dynamic players.

The football running back drills list serves as a valuable resource for coaches and athletes, enabling running backs to sharpen their craft, excel in game situations, and leave an indelible mark on the gridiron.

Football Running Back Drills List

Here is a list of some football running back drills that can help you improve your skills and performance on the field-

High Knees Drill

High Knees Drill

This is a simple drill that helps you develop your footwork, balance, and ball security. You run through a series of cones or bags, lifting your knees high and keeping the ball tight to your chest. 

This drill also trains you to keep your eyes up and look for openings in the defense.

Icky Shuffle Drill

Icky Shuffle Drill

This is a ladder drill that improves your quickness and agility. You move through the ladder, placing one foot in each square and then switching feet on the outside. This drill teaches you how to change directions quickly and smoothly, as well as how to coordinate your feet and hands while holding the ball.

Carioca Drill

Carioca Drill

This is another ladder drill that enhances your lateral movement and hip flexibility. You move sideways through the ladder, crossing one foot over the other and then behind. 

This drill helps you develop your ability to make cuts and avoid tacklers, as well as how to switch the ball from one hand to the other.

Cutting Drill

Cutting Drill

This is a cone drill that simulates running through an open hole and making a sharp cut. You sprint towards a cone, plant your outside foot, and cut at a 45-degree angle towards another cone. 

This drill improves your acceleration, deceleration, and change of direction skills.

Three-Step Cadence Drill

Three-Step Cadence Drill

This is a cone drill that challenges your reaction time and burst. You start in a three-point stance, then explode out of it on a cadence from a coach or teammate. 

You run towards a cone, then listen for another cadence that tells you which way to cut. This drill trains you to be explosive and responsive to cues.

Hop and Switch Drill

Hop and Switch Drill

This is a bag drill that emphasizes ball control and switching hands. You hop over each bag with both feet, then switch the ball from one hand to the other while in mid-air. This drill helps you practice transferring the ball securely and efficiently, as well as how to balance yourself while jumping.

Punch and Rip Drill

Punch and Rip Drill

This is a ball security drill that involves two groups of players: ball carriers and trailers. The ball carriers run at a moderate pace, then speed up when they feel a punch or rip attempt from the trailers behind them. 

The trailers try to knock the ball out of the carriers’ hands using different techniques. This drill teaches you how to protect the ball from defenders and how to adjust your speed accordingly.

Gauntlet Drill

Gauntlet Drill

This is a bag drill that tests your ability to run through arm tackles and finish strong. 

You run through a series of bags that have arms sticking out of them, trying to avoid or break through them without losing the ball or slowing down. This drill improves your toughness, balance, and power as a runner.

Sideline Gauntlet Drill

Sideline Gauntlet Drill

This is a variation of the gauntlet drill that focuses on running along the sideline. You run through a row of bags that are placed near the sideline, trying to stay in bounds and avoid the arms that reach out from the bags. 

This drill helps you improve your balance, tightrope skills, and sideline awareness.

Spring and Backpedal Drill

Spring and Backpedal Drill

This is a bag drill that works on your footwork and change of speed. You sprint forward through the bags, then backpedal through them backward. 

Then you repeat the process in reverse. This drill helps you learn how to move backward without losing control or sight of the field, as well as how to explode out of your backpedal into a sprint.

How Many Types Of Running Backs Are There? 

Here is a paragraph description of each type:


Halfbacks are the most common type of running backs, and they are usually the main ball carriers on the team. They line up behind the quarterback and receive handoffs or short passes. 

They are fast, agile, and elusive runners who can dodge or break tackles and make big plays. Some examples of famous halfbacks are Emmitt Smith, Walter Payton, and Adrian Peterson.



Fullbacks are the largest and strongest type of running backs, and they are mainly used as blockers for the halfbacks or the quarterback. They line up in front of the halfback or behind the quarterback and clear the way for them to run or pass. 

They can also carry the ball or catch passes occasionally, but they are not as fast or agile as halfbacks. Some examples of famous fullbacks are Jim Brown, Mike Alstott, and Lorenzo Neal.


Tailbacks are a type of running backs that are similar to halfbacks, but they line up farther behind the quarterback in a single-back formation. 

They have more space to run and can see the whole field better. They are also more involved in passing plays, as they can catch the ball in the backfield or run routes as receivers. 

They are usually quick, versatile, and dynamic runners who can make explosive plays. Some examples of famous tailbacks are Marshall Faulk, LaDainian Tomlinson, and Christian McCaffrey.

These are the three main types of running backs in football. Each type has its own role, skills, and advantages in the field. Running backs are essential for any successful offense, as they can create opportunities for scoring and keep the defense guessing.

How To Be Better At Running Back Drills In Football? 

Running back drills are exercises that help you improve your skills and performance as a running back in football. Running backs are the players who carry the ball and run with it, either by receiving handoffs from the quarterback or catching passes. 

To be a good running back, you need to have speed, agility, power, vision, balance, and ball security. Running back drills can help you develop these attributes and become a better player. 

Here are some tips on how to be better at running back drills:

Practice Regularly And Consistently

Practice Regularly And Consistently

The best way to improve at anything is to practice it often and with dedication. Running back drills are no exception. You should practice running back drills at least 2-3 times a week, and preferably more if you can. 

You should also follow a structured and progressive program that challenges you and helps you improve over time. You can find some examples of running back drills programs online, or you can ask your coach or trainer for guidance.

Focus On Quality Over Quantity

When you practice running back drills, you should not just go through the motions or do them mindlessly. 

You should focus on the quality of your execution and the purpose of each drill. You should pay attention to your technique, your footwork, your body position, your ball security, and your reaction time. 

You should also try to simulate game situations and scenarios as much as possible and imagine yourself facing real defenders and obstacles. 

This will help you develop your mental skills and confidence as well as your physical skills.

Vary Your Drills And Challenge Yourself

Running back drills can become boring and repetitive if you do the same ones over and over again. To avoid this, you should vary your drills and try new ones from time to time.

You should also challenge yourself by increasing the difficulty or intensity of your drills as you progress. 

For example, you can add more cones, bags, or defenders to your drills, or you can shorten the rest periods or increase the speed or distance of your runs. 

This will keep you motivated and interested and also help you adapt to different situations and demands.

Get Feedback And Track Your Progress

Another way to be better at running back drills is to get feedback and track your progress. You can get feedback from your coach, trainer, teammates, or even yourself by watching videos of your drills. 

Feedback can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses, correct your mistakes, and improve your performance. 

You can also track your progress by measuring your speed, agility, power, or other metrics related to running back drills. You can use tools like timers, stopwatches, cones, or apps to measure your results. 

Tracking your progress can help you set goals, monitor your improvement, and celebrate your achievements.

These are some tips on how to be better at running back drills in football. Running back drills are essential for any aspiring or experienced running back who wants to improve their skills and performance on the field. 

By practicing regularly and consistently, focusing on quality over quantity, varying your drills challenging yourself, and getting feedback and tracking your progress, you can become a better running back and a more valuable player for your team.


What is a Football Running Back Drills List?

A Football Running Back Drills List is a compilation of specific exercises and training routines tailored to enhance a running back’s skills and performance on the field. 

These drills focus on developing agility, speed, power, ball security, and receiving abilities, enabling running backs to excel in game situations.

Why are Running Back Drills important?

Running Back Drills are crucial as they help running backs refine their techniques, improve their physical attributes, and build their confidence in various game scenarios. These drills are designed to optimize a running back’s performance, making them more dynamic and impactful during games.

How can I use the Running Back Drills List effectively?

To use the Running Back Drills List effectively, include a variety of drills in your training regimen and practice them regularly. Focus on mastering the fundamentals, maintaining proper form, and seeking feedback from coaches to track your progress and make necessary improvements.

What are some common Running Back Drills on the list?

Common Running Back Drills include cone agility drills for quick movements, ball security exercises to prevent fumbles, pass-catching drills for receiving skills, route-running simulations, and power drills to improve leg strength and breaking tackles.

Can these drills benefit running backs of all skill levels?

Yes, the Running Back Drills List caters to running backs of all skill levels. Beginners can use the drills to build a strong foundation, while experienced running backs can fine-tune their techniques and elevate their performance to become more versatile and impactful players on the field.


The Football Running Back Drills List stands as a testament to the precision and dedication required to succeed as a running back in the game of football. 

By honing their footwork, mastering ball security, and perfecting their receiving skills, running backs become formidable weapons capable of turning the tide of a game. Each drill in the list contributes to a running back’s growth, empowering them to excel in both ground and aerial attacks. 

With relentless practice and commitment to the drills, running backs enhance their agility, power, and vision, making them key assets in their team’s offensive strategy. 

As they implement the Football Running Back Drills List into their training regimens, running backs elevate their game to new heights, leaving a trail of broken tackles and electrifying runs on the path to gridiron greatness.

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John Rizzo

I am a professional rugby player in the Washington DC-Baltimore area. I have been playing rugby for over 10 years and have had the opportunity to play in many different countries. I am also a coach for both youth and adult rugby teams. I graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a degree in Sports Management and Marketing. I am currently working on my MPA from American University and plan to pursue this career path after graduating next year. LinkedIn