wikiHow to Be a Better Running Back

Want to be a running back? Do you want to be a hard runner like Brandon Jacobs or do you want to be a speed back like Chris Johnson and Darren Sproles? Whatever your inspiration, put in the practice and gain confidence.


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    Develop your running first. Straight line speed, acceleration, and lateral agility all are crucial to dodge defenders and get to the end zone, or even just make it to the sidelines and stop the clock. It doesn't matter how big or small you are, if you can't get away from defenders, you'll never reach where your goal.
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    Improve your ball handling. Practice accepting the ball cleanly, gripping it securely and tucking the ball away as surely and quickly as possible. Hold the ball as close to your body as possible and protect it as much as possible. This will give defenders as little chance to knock the ball away as possible. And if you have to catch the ball on a screen pass or if you have to return a punt, learn to catch the ball with both hands.
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    Bulk up. It doesn't matter how little you are, even if you are the fastest man on turf, you will still get tackled. You will get gang-tackled by two or three people trying to bring you down. Protecting the ball is more important, but being able to take the hits, lay a strong stiff-arm and shed tackles is just as important. You can also block people better. Bulk up to show a little intimidation.
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    Work on your balance. It doesn't matter if you are trying to keep your knees from hitting the ground from the first tackle, or if you are trying to stay in bounds, you can avoid some injuries, too.
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    Work with your offensive line and quarterback. You have to read the defense as well as your quarterback. Sometimes, you may even have to break up a supposed outside run and you must run inside (or vice versa).
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    Never switch off when your team is on defense. The opposing running backs may have better solutions to your mistakes. Imagine what you would do if you were that other back. Situations can't be taught thoroughly. You have to prepare yourself for every eventuality.
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    Have good vision. In order to be a good running back you must have good vision, which means you must be able to read your blocks and know which gap you must attack when running the ball, the gap your supposed to run to is not always open so you must be able to redirect and cut back in order to make a play.


  • Practice reading defensive lineman. Focus on getting away from outside linebackers.
  • Strength train to build leg and thigh muscles. Do work out when possible and stay in shape, you can build leg and thigh muscles by doing Squats, one of the main things you can do to make your leg and thigh muscles more responsive is to do some speed training. If you do these constantly you will become a more stronger in your legs and increase your speed by a lot.
  • The running back is an integral part of the team, and requires you to be fit and energetic. It's vital that you stay in shape, if you want to perform at your peak.
  • Hold the ball in the arm that is closer to the sideline so that nobody can strip it from you.
  • Start small. Work on taking hits and falling properly before letting a big linebacker smash you.
  • Lots of people will say to focus mainly on leg muscles for this position, leg muscles are great but lower back and triceps are some of the most valued muscles when it comes to running through people.
  • Watch plenty of game film. Study defenses.
  • Wear ankle weights for 40 yard (36.6 m) dashes.
  • Set goals, such as running a mile each day.
  • Be versatile. A one-dimensional running back is too predictable. Learn to run inside (north-south) as well as out (east-west). Learn how to carry the ball with both hands, even when you are heavily right (or left) handed. If need be, learn to catch like a wide receiver, kick like a kicker, throw like a quarterback or even tackle like a linebacker if the quarterback got a pass intercepted. You may never know if you need a trick play to save a game or salvage lost yards.
  • Practice with friends in power battles.
  • Do agility drills, such as running through tires quickly without falling; also try running between cones.
  • Be healthy and fit or in the game it will show. Being one of the important players on the team, you have to have heart and show commitment and be dedicated to the run.


  • You could potentially be switched to other positions. Don't be offended if there are too many running backs in the team. Take it as a compliment because you have all-round skills and the physique to play other positions. If you have to end up being a corner or safety to get playing time. Anything can happen. If you have playing time, use it well. It could help you understand where the defense is coming from.
  • When injury happens, don't make the fear of losing your position scare you. Your main focus is to recover and be back at your best. If the other players are better than you, then think as a team that there is depth at the position.

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Categories: Football