Running Back Tips: Pass Blocking

Follow these tips and discover how the Mirror Drill can help you learn this more advanced blocking skill.

When pass blocking as a running back, you must learn to be both passive and aggressive. You should be passive as you read the defense and identify the defender you need to block, but then aggressive when making the block. Let’s break it down.

At the snap, if you are going to step to the right side of the ball, you should step with your inside foot (left foot) first. Switch feet if you are moving to the left side of the ball, using your inside foot (right foot) first.

You will continue to the line of scrimmage and become a part of it. Come up to the line of scrimmage under control, filling the gap and waiting for any defender to come through the hole. Keep your elbows in, pinkies out and thumbs up. Make contact with your hands to the chest of the defender and drive your feet while extending your arms to move them away from the quarterback.

If the defender is coming from the outside, you should take away their rushing lane with good body position. Attack the inside leg of the outside attacker. Once the defender gets close, make sure your elbows and hands are in the proper position. Create good leverage by staying low with bent knees. Initiate the contact and usher the defender up the field by driving your feet outside the pocket. If the defender tries to go inside, you’ll need to stay strong, keeping them in place and not allowing them to push you back toward the quarterback.


This drill can be helpful to develop great pass blocking skills as a running back. Match up with another player or coach directly across from you. You should both be right on the line of scrimmage. As the defensive player moves side to side, you are looking to mirror their movement while keeping inside leverage. You are not contacting each other, but mimicking their movement to keep in front of them. This is made to help with your general body position and agility for making a successful block. Keep your feet rapidly moving (machine gunning) as you move side-to-side. Your head should be up with your shoulders back.

In pass blocking, you need to become a part of the line of scrimmage. When the running back does a good job, the pocket is clean.