Talk to any defensive back and they will tell you that they would love to have quicker feet. Doesn’t matter if those feet are quick already or not. Real defensive backs know that your feet can never be too fast. In this article, I will tell you the one thing you can do to speed up your feet and get out of breaks faster.
Drills are the name of the game for defensive backs. If you are crafting you are drilling and trying to get those breaks up to speed for all those funky routes the receivers are throwing at you. After all, you are not trying to end up on someone’s Hudl or viral at a 7on7 camp for the wrong reasons.
For many a defensive back, they think pulling out the ladder and tapping through it for hours or busting their way through the sand at the beach while trying to ignore the bikinis is the secret to success. Well of course not and I have talked about those two very things in other posts on this blog.
If you’ve listened to or read anything from me for a while then you know that the best way to get better at doing a drill is to the do the drill. The best place to that drill is in field conditions. You don’t play in sand and you don’t play through a ladder so there’s that. Those things have their place but if you think logging the bulk of your time doing that is going to make you Deion Revis then prepare for disappointment.
Yes, doing drills is how you improve your ability to make your body do what it needs to do on game day but it’s not just doing the drills. It’s the way you do the drills.
Many defensive backs tend to ignore their upper body when they are doing their drill work. Newsflash my defenders, your upper body is connected to your lower body and so what it’s doing matters. Have you ever noticed that your foot has to double or triple tap to get out of a break? Or haven’t you ever notice how sometimes your foot stays stuck in the ground when you are trying to change direction?
The primary reason for this is because your upper body weight distribution is causing a problem for your feet. If you are moving to your right and you allow your upper body to lean to the right, guess what’s going to happen to your feet if and when you need to go back to the left? Yes, your foot will either double or triple tap or stay stuck in the ground until you can pull your upper body back to it a vertical state.
If you lean too far back in your backpedal you will face the same issue. Picture yourself having a back pack full of books on and trying to get out of your breaks. That would cause some problems right? Well when you lean your body back, too far right or left, you are effectively putting a back pack on and asking your feet to move fast.
So what do we do? Simply put, you have to manage your upper body mechanics. If you are back pedaling, keep your weight over your toes. If you are moving laterally, keep your upper body rigid and vertical. Bad things happen when you lean your upper body outside of your hips when moving laterally. It doesn’t get you there faster. It is more likely to throw you off balance and it works against you when it comes time to go in another direction.
Next time you are out at the park and doing drills, pay special attention to what you are doing up top. If you have been doing DB drills for any amount of time now, your feet are probably on auto-pilot. If you want to get that extra umph out of your breaks, manage the position of your upper body while you are moving throughout your drills. Do that and watch how you arrive on the scene in a more dangerous manner on the field.
If you are looking to take your game to the next level then you owe it to yourself to join the All Eyes DB Camp Member’s Area. I have over 150 videos showing your drills, technique and coverages that you can use to make your game the best in can be. For more information, click here.
Chad Wilson is the owner of All Eyes DB Camp and author of "101 DB Tips". He played college football at the University of Miami and briefly in the NFL for the Seattle Seahawks. Over his 15 year high school football coaching career, he tutored over a dozen Division I defensive backs and as a trainer has worked with NFL All Pros, first round draft picks, college football All Americans and Top 10 ranked high school football prospects.