Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Ball Security

It's all Ball Security these days!  Perhaps you need a refresher course!

I had originally posted these videos on Brophy's site but I am posting them again since Yahoo deleted the original videos. I believe Ball Security is one of the worst taught fundamentals in football and in my experience I have seen that Ball Security can win or lose 1-2 games a year. The most important thing is to not just stress it during pre-season—Ball Security must be drilled and emphasized year-round.  

We had excellent Ball Security in 2010 although we didn't get any RB Indo time for the last 2/3 of the season (except for 5 minutes during pre-game with half of my guys).  Then, we lost four fumbles in the 2nd Half of our last game.  These were our official 2nd Half stats with a possible playoff birth on the line and the game tied 7-7 at the half: 14 snaps, 5 fumbles, 4 fumbles lost (1 returned for a TD), 2 Ints, 1 penalty, 1 punt.  Our RB hurt his wrist and our Head Coach kept giving him the ball, but whatever.  Yeah, the wheels kind of fell off at the end of our season there.

I am destroying my credibility as a RB Coach in telling you those stats to make a point: Your resources, teaching ability, and knowledge of Ball Security (or of any fundamental) as a coach don't mean a thing unless your players actually get time to practice that skill throughout the year.  Fundamental skills will erode unless they are emphasized during the entire season, but unfortunately Indo time gets the shaft when coaches try to install too much offense.
4th Qtr Fumble in the Super Bowl with your team down by 4 points!  You better believe the Steelers will be emphasizing Ball Security at the end of this season.  Video link here.
You can explain, scream, yell, beg, plead, and up-down kids to death, but if you want to teach them the correct way to protect the football, you must use video to do it.  The first video explains and demonstrates the correct fundamentals of Ball Security and the second video reinforces these fundamentals by showing slow-motion video of fumbles and explaining exactly what the ball carrier did wrong.

Fundamentals of Ball Security:

1. Two Finger Claw
2. Wrist above Elbow
3. Ball Tight to Chest
4. Tuck Elbow In
5. Opposite Hand Over Football on Contact
6. Keep Pads Low

Also, this Sports Science video with Rudi Johnson has MMA guys trying to knock out the football in an old-fashioned gauntlet drill.  To see how they do actually knock the ball out, go to the 7:00 mark.

Good fundamentals and Ball Security to everyone this season.   


Chris at Smart Football talks here about Triangles in the passing game, Mike Leach, and the Dennis Erickson One-Back Spread.

Hemlock explains Noel Mazzone's offense and Slide protection here.

Dacoachmo with Sprint-Out - Part 2 and the Crack Screen.

Deuce breaks down the Flexbone Counter Iso here.

Dubber gives a lesson about Tiger Ellison's version of the Run and Shoot here.

Coach W talks about principles of coaching and leadership here and here.

5 Wide Offense with post on 4 Verts.

Brophy illustrates Slot Coverage Variations here.


  1. man, real good points about reemphasizing technique. Thanks for the honesty, too, I know how that is....

  2. Brophy, if I was really honest, I would admit that I was the OC for that team that turned it over six times in one half, haha. Let me try to explain the situation without assigning blame or complaining...I was required to help our HC to install a new offense nearly every week of the season last year. Towards the end of the year, this was to be done in one offensive practice period: 90 minutes of straight team time--no Indo or Group.

    There were some things I could not control, but as the OC, the turnovers fall on me regardless; so yeah, I wasn't very good.

  3. I can't tell you how many times I've come back to this blog post to teach my assistants what needs to be taught to secure the ball. After 9 fumbles in 2 games, I am back here again. Thanks a ton Coach Hoover.

  4. Seth, glad you liked the post. I updated the video recently, and you can download it, go here: http://coachhoover.blogspot.com/2013/02/ball-security-refresher-course.html