Catch the Football Every Time: 18 Drills That Make It Easy


Jerry Rice once told me he caught at least 100 balls every day of his entire career. Not just football season, not just when there was practice, not just weekdays, but every day.

With that in mind, here are 18 wide receiver catching drills you can easily do every day in your backyard, basement or at school.

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Football Catching Drills

Clockwork

Clockwork Drill

Purpose: Catch the ball outside your body in a variety of positions.

How To:

  • Stand facing your partner.
  • Have your partner throw the ball at all hands of the clock in a clockwise direction. Your partner should aim to throw the ball so your arms are fully extended when you catch it.
  • To advance the drill, turn your back to your partner and wait for his command to turn around.
  • Sets/Reps: 1 set clockwise, 1 set counterclockwise. If there are any trouble areas, be sure to add extra reps to that area.

Side Clockwork

Side Clockwork

Purpose: Catch ball outside the body in a turned position.

How To:

  • Stand with your back to your partner and look back at him.
  • Have your partner throw the ball from 12 o'clock to 6 o'clock. He or she should aim to throw the ball so your arms are fully extended when you catch it.
  • To advance the drill, do not look back until your partner's command.
  • Sets/Reps: 1 set clockwise looking both left and right, 1 set counterclockwise looking both left and right. If there are any trouble areas, be sure to add extra reps to that area.

Around the World

Around the World

Purpose: Catch the ball in awkward positions.

How To:

  • Lie on your back. Have your partner circle around you, throwing the ball every other step.
  • To advance the drill, lie on your stomach and flip around on trainer's command.
  • Sets/Reps: 1 set clockwise, 1 set counterclockwise. If there are any trouble areas, be sure to add extra reps to that area.

Hand Flips

Hand Flips

 

Purpose: Enhance hand speed and reaction.

How To:

  • Spread your legs. Hold the ball with your right arm in front of your right leg and your left arm behind your left leg.
  • As fast as possible, flip your right arm behind your right leg and your left arm in front of your left leg, catching the ball before it hits the ground.
  • To advance the drill, close one eye.
  • Sets/Reps: 2x10

RELATED: Get Open More Often With These Wide-Receiver Drills

Hand Circles

Hand Circles

Purpose: Enhance grip strength, hand speed and ball control.

How To:

  • Hold the ball directly in front of you.
  • Let go of the ball and do a complete circle with your hand around the ball.
  • Grab the top of the ball before it hits the ground.
  • To advance the drill, close one eye.
  • Sets/Reps: 10 clockwise and 10 counterclockwise, each hand.

Half Turns

Half Turns

Purpose: Enhance reaction and body awareness when the ball is in the air.

How To:

  • Turn your back to your partner and look to your left.
  • Wait until your partner releases the ball and snap your head to your right.
  • Your partner should throw the ball just outside your right shoulder.
  • Repeat other side.
  • To advance the drill, catch the ball with one hand.
  • Sets/Reps: 2x10 reps, each side.

Grip Taps

Grip Taps

Purpose: Enhance grip strength, ensuring you come down with the big catch

How To:

  • Get on your knees holding the ball above your head.
  • Your partner taps, rips, and punches the ball. Hold tight.
  • Sets/Reps: 2x30 seconds.

Distraction

Distraction

Purpose: Enhance focus on the ball in the air.

How To:

  • Turn to the side with your partner next to you.
  • Have someone throw the ball in front on you.
  • Your partner distracts you from catching the ball any way he can, without touching the ball.
  • Repeat, facing other side.
  • To advance the drill, close one eye.
  • Sets/Reps: 2x10 each side.

Wall Bounce

Wall Bounce

Purpose: Enhance reaction and fast hands.

How To:

  • Face a wall and turn your back to your partner.
  • Your partner throws the ball against the wall.
  • Catch the ball as it bounces off the wall.
  • Can also be done with a tennis ball.
  • To advance the drill, catch the ball with one hand.
  • Sets/Reps: 2x10.

Criss Cross

Criss Cross

Purpose: Enhance hand-eye coordination.

How To:

  • Cross your hands with your right arm over your left arm.
  • Your partner throws the ball directly in front of you.
  • Repeat with your left arm over your right arm.
  • Sets/Reps: 2x10, each arm on top.

Ball Balance

Ball Balance

Purpose: To enhance focus and hand balance.

How To:

  • Balance the tip of the ball on your index finger.
  • Repeat with your other hand.
  • To advance the drill, try the other fingers.
  • Sets/Reps: 2x30 seconds, each hand.

Ball Bounce

Ball Bounce

Purpose: Enhance soft hands and timing.

How To:

  • Hold a ball in each hand.
  • Have your partner throw the ball to you.
  • Catch the ball making as little noise as possible.
  • To simplify the drill, only hold one ball.
  • Sets/Reps: 2x10

Juggle

Juggle

Purpose: Enhance hand-eye coordination.

How To:

  • Toss and catch 3 balls keeping them in constant motion.
  • To advance the drill, add another ball.
  • To simplify the drill, use only two balls.
  • Sets/Reps: 2x30 seconds.

Roll Backs

Roll Backs

Purpose: Enhance ball stability and grip strength.

How To:

  • Hold the ball directly in front of you.
  • Roll the ball to the back of your hand, then roll it back to the original position.
  • Repeat with other hand.
  • Sets/Reps: 2x10 each hand.

Ball Squeeze

Ball Squeeze

Purpose: Enhance grip strength.

How To:

  • Hold the ball in front of you.
  • Squeeze the ball as hard as you can, attempting to pop the ball.
  • Sets/Reps: 2x30 seconds.

Back Claps

Back Claps

Purpose: Enhance hand speed and reaction.

How To:

  • Hold the ball in front of you.
  • Release the ball.
  • Clap your hands behind your back as fast as possible, then catch the ball before it hits the ground.
  • To advance the drill, catch the ball with one hand.
  • Sets/Reps: 2x10

Back Drops

Back Drops

Purpose: Enhance proprioception and timing.

How To:

  • Hold ball behind your back over your head.
  • Release ball. Moving your hands as fast as possible, catch ball behind your back.
  • Sets/Reps: 2x10

Ball Push-Ups

Ball Push-Ups

Purpose: Improve upper-body strength and stability.

How To:

  • Get in push-up position with hands slightly wider than shoulder-width and a flat back.
  • Holding onto a football in each hand, slowly lower chest to ground.
  • Rise up.
  • Exercise can also be done without football on fingertips.
  • To advance the drill, slow down the movement to 5 seconds down and 5 seconds up.
  • Sets/Reps: 2x20

RELATED: Complete Wide-Receiver Workout Program


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: FOOTBALL | WIDE RECEIVER | THROW | DRILL | GRIP STRENGTH | RECEIVER