Receivers spend a majority of the downs in a football game running routes with the intention of catching the ball and hopefully scoring. It takes consistent practice to be able to catch balls that are thrown at high speeds, as well as oftentimes over your head, at the ground, in front of you or behind you. These four drills, some of which require the help of a partner, can be done inside your house, in your yard or in the street out in front of your home.
Clockwork Catching Drill
The clockwork catching drill requires you to catch balls thrown at high speeds from a close distance. It improves coordination, reaction time and softness in your hands. Stand facing your partner, who’s positioned five to 10 yards away. He throws a football either over your head, at your knees or to the right or left of you, so that you have to catch the ball with your arms fully extended. Do 50 catches. Make it more challenging by starting with your back to your partner and turn around on his command just before he throws the ball.
Find the Laces Drill
By learning to focus your eyes on the ball, you'll catch more balls and limit your drops. Train your eyes to find the laces on every pass. Have a partner, about 10 yards distant, throw the ball at you at various speeds. With each rep, focus on finding the laces with your eyes. Do 20 catches standing still, then increase difficulty by doing reps while jogging to the side. Jog to the left and then the right, alternating each time. Complete 10 reps in each direction.
Hand Circle Drill
The hand circle drill builds grip strength and improves hand speed and ball control. Stand with one arm extended out in front of you, with your palm down and your hand gripping the ball. Open your hand to release the ball. As the ball drops, quickly do a complete circle with your hand around the ball and then grab the ball from the top before it hits the ground. Complete 10 reps circling your hand clockwise and then again circling counterclockwise. Work both hands. Close one eye to increase difficulty.
Wall Bounce Drill
Improve your reaction time and build hand quickness with the wall bounce drill, which can be done alone or with a partner. Stand or kneel facing a flat fence or wall. Throw the ball underhand against the wall, or have your partner standing behind you do so. Once the ball bounces off the wall, catch it before it hits the ground. Complete 20 reps. Make the drill more challenging by trying to catch the ball using just one hand.