Nelson Agholor’s Catching Drill for Fending Off Defensive Backs

Help improve your chances of fending off a pesky defensive back and making a catch with this receiving drill.

Whether it’s a defensive back jamming you at the line of scrimmage or having to face double coverage in the secondary, you’ll likely need to fend off a defender or two if you want to make it into the end zone.

For professional wide receiver Nelson Agholor, dealing with defenders begins in practice. This is where he uses multiple drills and exercises to help counter their attack. These drills, according to Agholor, can help develop your hand skills and aggression at the point of contact.

One such drill Agholor uses in practice is the Towel Drill. This exercise can help train you to keep the upper hand when battling for a pass.


For this drill, you’ll need a towel, a football and a partner.

To start, your partner or teammate will hook a towel around your arm, right in the crook of your elbow.

“With the guy having the towel over your arm, it’s going to be as if you had a pestering defensive back on you,” Agholor says.

This drill is done stationary, with the pass coming to your outside shoulder. As the ball is coming in, your training partner should hold onto the towel to simulate the resistance of a defensive back as you go to make the catch.

Agholor notes that it’s important to have your arms extended when making the catch — not close to your chest — to help create separation between you and the defender. If not, the opposition could be in good position to reach in and break up the pass.

“When I go and get the ball and I got a guy on my back, now I can spin away,” Agholor says. “If I frame one away from him and I spin off and he dives, that’s a touchdown and I’m doing my celebration.”

Want to learn more about winning battles with defenders? Check out the three techniques Agholor recommends for improving your hand combat skills.