The main role of a wide receiver in football is to outrun defenders and get open. It looks simple in theory but is a very difficult role. Wide receivers need a set of skills to achieve their goals.
Most of the routes wide receivers follow feature sharp cuts. Therefore, they need excellent change-of-direction skills. To achieve their roles, wide receiver drills are necessary for practice.
Being a top wide receiver is not easy. You need pretty strong hands and good speed. It’s hard to teach speed. However, some skills can be taught.
Looking to learn the most important drills for wide receivers? Let’s get started.
Football Drill To Improve Catching & Route Running
Since wide receivers must catch the football and know the routes to run, these drills are a must-learn.
Sit Up & Catch Drill
The first drill is the sit-up & catch that works on their hands. Wide receivers need to react fast and catch the football without much preparation. The drill helps them achieve just that.
In a football game, a receiver needs to make eye contact with the ball before catching it. The drill works on two things:
- Teaches wide receivers to react fast as it won’t give them time to see the ball
- Forces them to learn to focus and catch with their hands as opposed to the ball coming to the chest.
To perform the drill, you’ll need a wide receiver and some teammates about 5 yards apart. Have the receiver lay on the back as the teammate holds the ball.
The receiver will then perform a sit-up on command while the teammate throws the ball. Timing should be done such that the ball arrives when the receiver sits up.
You can also have the coach monitor the drill by blowing the whistle and guiding the two teammates.
The receiver needs to train to focus and catch the football with both hands stretched out. As the receiver completes the sit-up, hands should be stretched.
You can make the drill difficult by having the coach throw the ball to the receiver from different directions. It’s a great way to increase reaction time.
The next crucial drill is the wall ball, where receivers learn ball catching skills. It’s one of the simplest drills that can be done without teammates.
It’s a drill that helps catch the most unpredictable balls. The drill works by having the player throw the ball to a wall from different angles.
Let the player face the wall and start throwing the ball. The player should then catch the ball after it bounces off the wall. Have the player throw the ball from different angles while changing the ball speed.
This drill greatly increases hand and eye coordination and helps players stay sharp. You need the receiver reacting pretty fast to match the ball bounce from the wall.
You can make the drill difficult by having a teammate or coach throw the ball standing a few yards to the right or left. The coach needs to toss the ball without notice and have the player react fast.
In addition, you need the coach to change the angles of the throw and increase the ball speed. It’s a great way for the receiver to increase reaction time and know how to adjust their bodies.
Cone Football Drill
The cone football drill is another exceptional individual drill to work out the footwork of wide receivers. Remember, wide receivers need a crisp running of routes to get to the end zone.
You can only get better at crisp running and neat cuts through cone football drills. Quick change of directions, expulsions, and cutbacks are things every wide receiver must perform. But, you can only perform them to perfection if you have excellent footwork.
It’s one of the most crucial drills to get wide receivers working on exploding and cutting runs.
To perform the drill, you need 6-7 cones. The cons act as defensive players.
Start with the first cone on the yard line. Move 5 yards and set a second cone 45 degrees to the first cone. Set two more cones but 5 yards apart.
Lastly, set 3 cones on the same yard line with the first 10 yards away and the two 5 yards apart.
You can then have a coach run the drill by blowing a whistle to start a run. The run starts from the first cone with the wide receiver simulating a move to evade a defender.
He will then run in a slant manner to the second cone before cutting to the right past the third cone.
The player then cuts right and sprints before stopping and cutting a 90-degree angle before curling to the fourth cone.
He will repeat the same running to the fifth cone before curling and turning 90 degrees.
This is a crucial drill to work on a wide receiver’s footwork. You can make the drill difficult by having the coach throw a ball as the receiver turns a cone.
Hide & Seek
This is a drill that educates a wide receiver to catch the football on short notice. It also helps them run smooth routes with obstacles on the way.
Running the drill requires a stand-up dummy, quarterback, and center. In a shotgun formation, have the quarterback line up under the center. You can use any formation you want.
Have the wide receiver line up a few yards from the line of scrimmage. But, have the wide receiver more towards the outside. Have the dummy bag 5-10 yards downfield. Try and use a taller dummy.
Upon snap, have the quarterback drop back while the wide receiver sprints downfield. The wide receiver will then cut outside the dummy and inwards.
You’ll then have the quarterback throw a pass to the wide receiver. The ball should arrive just as the wide receiver wraps around the dummy. This gives little time to react and catch the football.
The wide receiver needs to catch the football and spring downfield. You can make the drill difficult by changing the routes the receiver will run around the dummy.
You can also change the dummy bag and have a coach or player hold it. The aim is to stimulate the actual contact in a game.
Track The Ball
This is an excellent drill when receivers need to catch the football from a distance. It means tracking the ball in the air and being at the right place and time.
Tracking the ball in the air allows wide receivers to adjust accordingly and position themselves under where the ball will fall. The drill works by running deep routes and having the quarterback throw the ball.
To run the drill, set a quarterback and a receiver on the line of scrimmage. Have the receiver run a deep route at the snap.
The receiver will then throw the ball inward and have the receiver track it, adjust their bodies and catch it.
Other Basic Ball Catching Drills
Well, the five above are just the main wide receiver drills to master. However, there are a few other basic ball-catching drills to master. Make sure you take time in practice and be ready to catch the football without missing.
Football Drill To Improve Hand Strength & Coordination
Apart from catching skills and route running, wide receivers need to have good strength and excellent coordination. Hand strength and coordination are crucial for every wide receiver.
Let’s see some of the hand strength and coordination skills every wide receiver must master.
You need to have strong fingers and excellent forearm strength to catch the football. The best way to do it is to perform fingertip pushups. They help strengthen the hand and fingertips.
It is a very simple old-fashioned drill to perform. Have the fingertips against the ground and go up and down as you perform pushups.
You can have a teammate help you count the pushups while giving the commands.
A flip drill is another excellent way to train your hand coordination. It’s simple to perform with just a ball in your hand.
Stretch one hand while holding the ball and flip it back to the back of your hand. Flip it again to the right. This helps improve hand and eye coordination.
It is a drill that takes time to master, so don’t lose hope. Sometimes it takes time to master the drill.
The Figure 8 Drill
A figure 8 drill is widely practiced in basketball but can be used in football. While spreading your feet, bend over and move the ball from left to right.
Start slow and increase your speed. Push as hard as possible and make sure you master holding the ball with your hands.
Ball Dribble Drill
Lastly, you can improve hand coordination and strength by dribbling the ball. You need to grab the ball with an overhand grip and then release it. As the ball hits the ground and bounces back, catch it again with an overhand grip.
Practice with at least ten catches in a row while doing it at high speeds.
Do Wide Receivers Need To Be Strong?
Wide receivers need to be strong to get in line when defenders try jamming them. Strength is also important when fighting for positions and running downfield.
How Tall Is The Average NFL Wide Receiver
An average wide receiver is 6’1, which is consistent throughout the league. While some wide receivers are tall, when you take every wide receiver’s height, their average becomes 6’1.
What Makes A 5-Star Wide Receiver?
Elusiveness, speed, and agility make a wide receiver. These are traits wide receivers must have to handle their roles in a football game.
Well, that wraps everything from me! Now you know the important role of a wide receiver and the drills they must learn. Wide receivers need to be fast, agile, and elusive. To achieve that, they need to perform hand strength, coordination, catching, and running drills.
These drills will enhance their skills and make them better at what they do.