how to play running back in football

Football Positions: Running Back

Written By: Gridiron Elite Training

how to play running back in football

Football Positions: Running Back

Written By: Gridiron Elite Training

The world of football can be both exhilarating and complex, with intricate strategies and various positions that require specific skill sets. One such position is the running back. In this ultimate guide to football positions, we will delve deep into the role of the running back, providing valuable insights and tips for players looking to excel in this position.

playing running back for football

Football positions: Running Back

The running back position is a crucial component of any team’s offensive game plan. This player is responsible for carrying the ball during running plays, receiving passes, and often providing key blocks for teammates. As one of the most versatile football positions, running backs need to be quick, agile, and strong enough to break through the opposing team’s defensive line.

How to play running back

Running Back Education & Drills

To excel as a running back, it’s essential to develop a thorough understanding of the position, its responsibilities, and the skills needed to perform at a high level. Let’s explore the key aspects of how to play running back.

Ball-Carrying Skills

As the primary ball carrier, a running back needs to possess exceptional ball-handling skills. This includes gripping the ball securely, maintaining control even when under pressure, and knowing when to shift the ball from one arm to another to protect it from being stripped by defenders.

Vision And Decision-Making

A successful running back must have excellent vision and the ability to make quick decisions. They need to be able to read the field, anticipate the movements of the defense, and identify gaps in the defensive line. Furthermore, they must quickly decide whether to accelerate through a hole or make a cut to evade tacklers.

Speed and Agility

offseason running back drills football drills for football

Speed and agility are critical for any running back. They must be able to accelerate quickly, change direction on a dime, and weave through defenders to gain yardage. To enhance these abilities, running backs should engage in speed and agility drills and exercises that improve their footwork, balance, and explosiveness.

Strength and power

running back football position

To break through tackles and gain extra yards, running backs need to have a strong lower body and core. Incorporating weightlifting and plyometric exercises into their running back training regimen can help them develop the necessary strength and power to excel in this position.


Blocking is an essential skill for running backs, as they are often required to protect the quarterback or create running lanes for their fellow teammates. This skill involves using their body to obstruct an opponent’s path or push them out of the way, making it easier for other offensive players to advance the ball. To improve their blocking skills, running backs should focus on footwork, leverage, and body positioning.


how to play running back in football

Running backs also serve as receivers, catching passes from the quarterback or other teammates. They must have good hands, strong route-running abilities, and an understanding of the offensive game plan. Practicing catching passes in various situations and working on route-running techniques can help running backs develop their receiving skills.


Running backs need to maintain a high level of endurance throughout a game, as they are involved in numerous plays that require bursts of energy. Incorporating endurance training, such as interval runs and long-distance running, can help build the stamina needed to perform well in this position.

Mental toughness

Finally, mental toughness is vital for any running back. They must be able to shake off setbacks, maintain focus during high-pressure situations, and stay resilient in the face of adversity. Developing a strong mindset, along with physical skills, can set a running back apart from the competition.

Concluding Takeaways For Running Backs

running back drills for american football players

The running back position is a critical component of any football team’s offense. Excelling in this role requires a diverse skill set, including ball-carrying skills, vision, and decision-making, speed and agility, strength and power, blocking, receiving, endurance, and mental toughness. As with any position in football, becoming successful running back requires dedication, hard work, and a willingness to learn and improve.

Whether you’re just starting out in football or looking to take your game to the next level, the tips and insights provided in this ultimate guide to football positions can help you become a standout player in the running back position. So, get out on the field, practice your skills, and remember to have fun while doing it!

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Gridiron Elite Training
Gridiron Elite Training

Gridiron Elite Training was started to help educate and provide football players with a community to receive proper training and guidance.

We created “The Gridiron Elite Academy” which is an online football performance network that provides football players of all levels with sports performance workout programs, football position-specific drills, mindset coaching, mental toughness training, recruiting guidance and help, and nutrition programs.

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