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How To Run The Football

How To Run The Football

To run the ball in the sport of football, a team needs a great running back - someone who can hit the hole hard, make people miss, secure the football and gain some hard-earned yards on the ground.

A football team can take control of a game by running the ball. When a running back is tackled in bounds, the clock doesn't stop. A good ground game controls the clock and keeps the ball out of an opponent's hands. Running the ball is considered "safer" than throwing because the ball is always in your team's possession.

The life of a running back is challenging. He gets hit from every angle and often, multiple players will grab him or worse, strip the ball and cause a fumble. A running back has to use every tool at his disposal to get as many yards as possible.

Step 1: Get Ready

A running back uses a two-point stance. He has his hands resting on his thighs just above his knees. A run play is designed to go through a specific hole created by the offense. The hole can be between any two offensive players or the area between a sideline and the last player on the line of scrimmage. But the hole isn't always where the back expects it to be and he shouldn't be afraid to "cut back" and run to where he sees daylight.

Step 2: Get The Ball

At the snap of the ball, the running back begins to run towards his hole. But he needs to receive the ball from the quarterback first.

On a toss, he catches the ball in front of him with two hands. On a hand-off, the running back creates a pocket in the middle of his chest. His arm on the quarterback side needs to be raised, his other arm lowered. When the ball is placed in his chest, both arms clamp down on the ball to secure it safely. He makes the same pocket on a draw play.

Step 3: Get Going

A hole to run through is tough to find and can disappear quickly. A ball carrier needs to make a quick decision and then run through the hole fast.

When facing a defender who's trying to tackle you, a running back can try and barrel through him or try a "juke" or spin to make him miss. To juke, a player wants to move his hips like he's going one way and then quickly plant his foot and run in a different direction. If it's done right, the defender will be out of position and unable to tackle the running back.

Step 4: Don't Fumble The Ball

While gaining yards on the ground is the running back's job, his biggest obstacles are fumbles. A running back must protect the ball at all times. This means when he's in the open field he needs to cradle the ball on his side away from the defender.

A running back isn't down until his knee or elbow touches the ground. So after getting hit, he keeps moving his feet and driving the ball forward. Football is a game of inches and the ones you need to fight for are the most important.