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How To Become A Top Defensive Back

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There are hundreds of thousands of defensive backs so how do you stand out? What are the decision-makers looking for?

That is a great question because systems, programs, teams and coaches have different needs so it is important for you to discover your fit. Not everyone can play for the Dallas Cowboys or the University of Oregon. Heck, not everyone can play for Mater Dei football program as a defensive back (DB). I want to help you get in a position to achieve the scholarship or be the draft pick in a future draft.

Let's start with the controllables. Your worth ethic is a major part of the process. people may not know the details of each workout you do but they will see the product. For example, if you fall in love with the weight room, your body will show the results. Coaches love the idea of having a player that looks physically intimidating. You will need to build lower and upper body muscles, showing that you will be able to handle the physical responsibilities of the position. You will need to tackle well, take on and get off blocks, fight for the football etc., so physicality is important. 










How fast are you? Speed is the name of the game. You must be able to cover ground in zone coverage or keep up with some of the fastest in man coverage schemes. Do what you have to do to build speed, not only straight line but lateral. Put effort into your agility and explosiveness as well. In the game of football, if you can run, that will make up for a lot of things. In coverage, you may be beat early but you may recover at the end. A runner may have gotten past the front seven but you have the speed to track him down before the touchdown. The game is fast so you need to be able to keep up with the speed.

Show your football instincts on film. That really means to be in the right place at the right time. That will help you to become the playmaker you want to be. Make the best decisions each play to show your football intelligence. Show the coaches that you understand alignment, assignment and responsibility while playing the game with desire.

Develop mental toughness. Nothing more painful to a coach is a player who can't bounce back from a situation and it affects the player's confidence. You must be able to perform with the stress and when the pressure is at its highest. Please understand that things don't always go as planned so you must be able to adapt.


You must show poise and display confidence. I am not talking about being cocky or arrogant. You must believe that you can accomplish the assignment given and get the work done. That is the bottom line. You can't play the defensive back position without conviction. It's required and noticeable when the player does not have it. 







Lastly, a disciplined player usually will not let you down in the heat of the battle. They will be where the coach wants them to be so you need it as a defensive back. When speaking of discipline, during the play, the DB's eyes are in the right place, and they are able to diagnose the play faster. That also means playing with the right posture and technique required.


The reasons I explained above will be the reason you become a top defensive back. Continue to work on the areas of weakness and build on your strengths. Your efforts will benefit you in the near future if done right. 



About The Author: Roderick Rogers received a scholarship to play football at the University of Wisconsin. As a Badger, he made the Jim Thorpe Award watch list for defensive backs. He was picked up by the Denver Broncos after college. He spent time with other teams like the Minnesota Vikings and the New England Patriots. He has been a defensive back coach at local high schools and has done performance training for pros and college players.

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