Today we are seeing more defensive backs stripping the football from receivers. It has become a football skill to itself, requiring corners, line backers and safeties training and practicing drills to hone their ball stripping football skills.
More coaches are teaching the art of stripping the football, running practice drills with the defensive players, teaching them how stripping the football is done. A stripped football, is a down used, with no gain. When the defenders are successful at stripping the football from the receiver, the ball comes out. Giving the defensive unit an opportunity for a possible take-away.
More often than not D-backs are not in position to bat the ball down, leaving them two options; make the tackle or stripping the football.
Training the D-Back for stripping the football requires two basic sets of football skills. Mental and physical training are the essential football skills needed to be successful at stripping the football.
Football Skills for Stripping the Football:
Football skills for stripping the football begin with the proper mind set and attitude. The defender must approach the receiver with his mind set that he is going to strip the football from the receiver's hands. In order to be successful at stripping the football from the receiver, the back must first understand the fundamentals of catching the pass.
Learning the pass catching mechanics are essential and can be achieved by studying DVDs and videos dedicated to teaching pass catching football skills.
The defensive player will learn the basic positions a receiver may hold his hands prior to making the catch. If the ball is in front of the receiver are his hands above or below the shoulder pads, if behind the receiver are his hands above or below the shoulder pad, is the receivers back to the defender. These are important football skills defensive backs need to develop.
Next, the D-Backs training should show them which arm to attack. If the ball is thrown over the receivers left shoulder, the left arm is the point of attack, just as if the ball arrives over the receivers right shoulder, attack the right arm. In each case if the ball is going going over the left shoulder, the defensive back uses his left arm to attack and if the ball is over the right shoulder he attacks using his right arm.
Practice Drills for Stripping the Football:
The first ball stripping practice drill should start with the receiver and the defender being stationary. In some parlances this defensive back practice drill is called a reach-and-pull.
The "reach-and-pull" technique is where the receiver stands back to the defensive back holding the ball on either side, the defensive back reaches out (left arm to left arm, right arm to right arm) and pulls the arm holding the ball downwards stripping the football from the receiver.
Next is a walk through practice drill followed by running the stripping the football drill.
Ball stripping practice drills should be run about 3 / 4s speed and should not be exercised as a full contact practice. The focus of the drill, is to give the defensive back training on how to successfully strip the football from the receiver. Which arm the defensive back should attack and the football skills needed to strip the football from the receiver's hands.
In this drill the receiver and defensive back typically face the sideline, the defensive back about 10 yards away from the receiver. At the coaches signal the receiver starts running about 3 / 4s speed directly towards the side line. The defensive back takes off angling towards the point where he will intersect with the receiver as the ball arrives.
Once the receiver has run a few yards the coach throws him the football. The defensive back if he has timed his run and has taken the proper angle should be at the receiver the same time the ball arrives.
Using his attack arm the defensive back should be reach out and pulling the ball carrying arm down, dislodging the football. With his other arm, he should be hitting the receiver in the back with his fore arm and grabbing a hand full of jersey. Then if the defensive back is not able to dislodge the ball he is in position to make the tackle.
Who ever is throwing the ball to the receiver must throw the ball behind, high, low, left and to the right of the receiver giving the defensive back training on all the angles passes are caught.
In conclusion stripping the football requires both physical and mental football skills. Knowing which arm to attack, which arm to attack with and being able gage where the ball and receiver will meet and intersect with them all the while running at full speed.
A defensive back good at stripping the football does not happen by luck, it takes diligence and a strong practice work ethic.