Catching a football is not that difficult; however, catching a football correctly takes hours and hours of practice. Youíll see many youth football receivers position themselves in front of the ball and catch with their body ending up in a heap on the field with the football tucked away. There isnít much chance of them running with the ball after the catch when they are lying on the field. Here are some wide receiver tips for catching the football the right way and to prepare you for gaining extra yards.
Catching Strategies for Wide Receivers
1. Catch with your hands and not with your body for a couple of reasons. If you catch with your body it may bounce off of your equipment for an incomplete pass. Watch replays of Terrell Owens, Randy Moss, or your favorite NFL receiver and youíll notice they always catch with their hands.
2. Keep your eye on the football. Focus on the tip of the football as itís coming towards you and "watch" it into your hands. Never take your eyes off the football. There are a variety of receiver concentration drills.
3. Create a pocket with your hands by positioning your thumbs and index fingers close together. Similar to making a diamond shape with your hands.
4. Try to catch the ball on its front tip. If you target the middle of the ball then itís likely to sail through your hands.
5. Practice your routes and then practice them some more. That way your quarterback knows where youíre going to be and can throw the ball there.
6. Be sure to catch and control the ball before running with it. Once you have control tuck the ball under your arm away from any defenders.
7. Develop good fakes like "head bobs" and "shoulder fakes." Leaving your defender in the dust will allow you more time to concentrate on the catch.
8. Watch your mental thoughts. If you think about dropping the football, you likely will. Believe that you can catch each ball that is thrown to you. If you drop it, forget about it and concentrate on the next one.
9. Donít get down on yourself when you fail to catch a ball. Analyze what you did right and what you did wrong. Did you follow your route correctly? Did you keep your eye on the football? Answer these questions honestly and make the necessary corrections.
10. Protect the ball because youíre going to get hit quite often. Focus on the catch and tucking in of the ball. If you find yourself free to run, do so once you have control.
You can also find many youth football receiving drills on the Internet some drills are free and some require subscription or for you to order a DVD. Free football drills allow you greater flexibility in trying a variety and see what works best for you and/or your youth football team. Always remember that drills should be age appropriate. The right passing drill for a 14 year-old boy will not suit an 8-year old and vice versa.
There are many football resources and communities like Weplay.com available to help with any questions you might have. Donít underestimate the passion of the community around you.