How to Master the Moves of a Defensive Back

Name a sport,  any sport that’s not football.  Chances are the participants are running forward for the majority of the time to compete and beat their opponent.  It must be nice.   That’s not how defensive backs in the game of football live.

When you are playing defensive back,  your life consists of a majority of movements that are not natural.  Back pedaling,  shuffling,  crossover running and flipping your hips are some of the most unnatural moves that you will make.  You don’t get the benefit of practicing these crucial movements during the course of your normal daily routine.

Your life as a defensive back depends on these very unnatural moves and your ability to master them.  Since the moves aren’t very natural they must be practiced and practiced quite often.  The reason most people struggle playing defensive back is because of the awkward moves that are involved.  Take a wide receiver and suddenly move him to defensive back and chances are he won’t look really good at first.  During the course of my coaching and training,  I have seen many a player make the switch from other positions to defensive back.  The overwhelming majority of them struggled at first.

It is only through a diligent and consistent pattern of practice will an athlete master the major moves that are critical to a defensive back’s success.  Often the athlete thinks he’s ready to be great before he is.  The problem with the consistent moves of a defensive back is that they need to be continuously practiced to stay sharp.  Again,  it’s not just running and jumping,  things you would do normally if you weren’t playing football.

Some guys get tricked and think that once they learn how to back pedal or flip their hips,  it’s like riding a bike.  Well not exactly.  You may remember quickly once you get back to practicing it but if you don’t practice it you will lose your ability to execute it effectively.

So,  the bottom line here is that in order for you to be a great defensive back, you have to put in your 10,000 hours as they say.  The skills of a defensive back must be honed over a period of time.  They must be constantly fine tuned and primed.  Defensive back is unlike any other position on the football field.  The majority of our time is spent going backwards whether we are playing press or off.  The only other position that is in a similar circumstance is offensive line and in particular the offensive tackles.  Offensive line and defensive back are perhaps the two most technical positions on the field and they aren’t for guys that don’t really care much for practice and training.  So get on your horse and be consistent in your skills development efforts because it is there where you will breed your results.

Author: Chad Wilson

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.

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