Football Receiver Drills: Sideline Awareness and Ball Security

During a return, you may need to tightrope the sideline. Learn how to with this sideline drill.

With four minutes or two minutes left in a game, it’s important for a receiver to be able to catch the ball and get out of bounds. This isn’t always an easy instinct for players, so it’s important to work on this during practice.


For this drill, set up four cones about two yards apart in the shape of a box. One side of the box should be on the sideline. Start in a comfortable stance in front of the bottom right cone on the sideline. Face in toward the field at the next cone in the box.

On your coach’s cue, make quick, choppy steps until you get to the next cone. From there, quickly plant your left foot and turn your body 90 degrees toward the next cone in the box, which is the one to your right. Again, take quick, choppy steps until you reach the third cone.  Plant on your outside foot — your left — and turn 90 degrees toward the sideline. Continue your choppy steps as you turn and look at your coach, who should be back and to your right.

Your coach will toss you a ball. Catch it while keeping at least one foot inbounds. As you drag your toe inbounds, it will be clear to the ref that it is a catch.

Make sure that you catch the ball cleanly, secure it and keep your foot inbounds. Practice this drill in both directions, dragging each foot.

The team is relying on you to make that catch and get out of bounds. Practice this regularly so you’re prepared when your number is called during the game.