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How to be a Better Running Back: Seven Habits of Highly Effective Football Running Backs

Updated on October 21, 2009

Habit Number One: Protect the Ball

 The first habit of highly effective running backs is to protect the ball. It does not matter how much speed, instinct, or agility a runner has if he cannot hold onto the ball its wasted motion.

Barry Sanders

Habit #2: Let the Hole Develop and Follow Your Blockers

The second practice of heisman winning running backs is to let the hole develop and follow their blockers. However, when the hole opens they burst through it like a bat out of you know where.

Habit #3: Keep Your Eyes Up

The third habit of highly effective running backs is to keep their eyes up, their knnes up and their tailbone and hips down. Keeping eyes up helps to see the field allowing the halfback or fullback to judge who is coming from where and thus, when to make the cut or spin move. Keepng the eyes up also helps the runner concentrate on the goal which is at worse a first down and at best a touchdown.

Walter Payton, Chicago Bears

Habit #4 - Keep Your Legs Churning

The fourth habit of top-notch running backs is to keep their legs moving. When a runner keeps their legs pumping it makes it more difficult for the defense to bring him down.

Habit #5 - Award Winning Running Backs Keep Their Knees Up

 The fifth habit of highly effective football running backs is to knee their knees up. Keeping the knees up pulls the feet off the ground making it less likely to be tripped up from behind.

Jim Brown, Cleveland Browns

Habit #6 - Keep Your Hips and Tailbone Down

 The sixth practice of award winning running backs is to keep their hips and tailbones down. Keeping the hips and tailbone down lowers the players center of gravity which gives them a more stable base. A more stable base allows the runner to withstand more hits and also gives them a better stance from which to perform cuts and other agility moves.

Habit #7 - Run Like a Scared Rabbit Trying to Escape a Fire or Other Natural Predator

The seventh habit of highly effective running backs is to run with reckless abandon like a scared animal trying to escape a forest fire or other predator. When a runner runs without thinking, he makes moves on instinct which affords him quicker response times to would-be tacklers.


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