Once the receiver has secured the ball, their ability to run after the catch can mean the difference between a couple yards, a first down or even a touchdown. The two key elements to create success when running after the catch are:
- Securing the ball
- Running up field
Once the quarterback has thrown you the ball and you have made the catch, you want to bring the ball toward your body and into your armpit. Cover the nose of the ball with your fingertips, making sure to keep your fingers spread. Keep the ball high and tight to your body.
After you’ve secured the ball, plant your foot and turn your body up field. The ball should remain toward the closest sideline, and your eyes should be fixed toward the center of the field, focused on the defenders.
THE GAUNTLET DRILL
To pratice securing the ball and running up the field, try the Gauntlet Drill.
In this drill, you will catch a ball thrown by the quarterback or a coach. After securing the ball, plant your foot and turn up field. A series of defenders will be set up to try and knock the ball out as you move past them. The key is to keep the ball high and tight to your body when running through the defenders, maintaining eye contact and good speed.
Securing the ball and getting up the field are hallmarks of a great receiver.