How To Play Cornerback In Football
Knowing how to play cornerback in football involves having an understanding of the routes run by wide receivers and requires balance, quickness, agility and a good combination of size and speed.
- Balance and agility. As a cornerback, your primary task is to cover a wide receiver who is running a route in the hopes of getting open and catching the ball. You must stay near him and prevent this from happening, not an easy task given that he knows where he's going and you don't. To play cornerback in football well, you must focus intently on his body movements and read and react quickly, with stops and starts, changes of direction and quick acceleration. Cornerbacks in football must be able to stay balanced, on their feet and in position to make plays.
- It's all in the hips. In order to play cornerback in football effectively, the cornerback must keep his face to the line of scrimmage as the wide receiver begins his route. At some point the cornerback will "break" out of this backpedal and have to turn his hips and run with the wide receiver. If the cornerback is slow to make this break, he will get passed quickly by the receiver and find himself watching his opponent run into the end zone with the football. A cornerback spends a great deal of practice time working on breaking his hips in this manner.
- Making plays on the ball. When the quarterback throws the football to the receiver, the cornerback must make every attempt to prevent this from happening, short of making contact with the receiver prior to the ball's arrival. To play cornerback well, an athlete must be able to jump, leap or dive in front of the football, doing his best to deflect it or knock it down. In an ideal situation the cornerback will catch the football for an interception. Being able to focus on the ball and react to it when it's in the air is an important part of understanding how to play cornerback.
- Recovery. To play cornerback you must be able to "recover" or make up lost ground when a receiver gets past you. If you slip or get turned around, a quarterback will see that your receiver is open and throw the ball to him. How well you can quickly get back in position will indicate how good of a cornerback you are.
- Solid tackling. It's not all about covering receivers. Running backs will get the ball and come around your way also, and at this point you have to switch from graceful cover man to aggressive hitter. Keeping the runner in front of you and using good technique to bring him down in the open field are keys to playing cornerback in football. Also consider that you are one of the last lines of defense, and if the runner gets by you, his next stop might be the end zone.
Posted on: Mar. 31, 2010