However, the number one question we receive is “What is non-contact?”
- Air Drills – Players are engaged in station based training, learning how to catch, throw, defend, block, tackle, and run without opposition
- Blocking Bags/Shadow Drills – Players progress into learning the same skills using two different methods
— Blocking Bags – used to simulate a tackle or to a block
— Shadow Drills – where players are placed in a predetermined outcome skill – ie a defensive back running with a wide receiver but allowing the receiver to win the ball
- Form and Fit Drills with a Partner – the last progression stage teaches player the walk through, finer points of a skill, such as inside foot up on the line of scrimmage based on the type of play called or a quarterback’s footwork on a three-step drop.
The skill progression of non-contact football allows players to learn a new skill, develop an understanding of the skill, and build confidence in their abilities as a football player. No matter the knowledge base of the football player, these progressions are integral to a player’s development. Muscle memory plays an important role in each step of the progression, allowing the football player to repeat each skill with the goal of mastery. Elite college and professional football players use this method to continuously improve their game. They understand that just because something is simple does not mean it is easy.
The non-contact method of football, and its pyramid of skill development, does not change an athlete overnight. Players need to continuously practice basic skills to better perfect them. Changes in a player’s stature, weight, and age all require a football player to work through the pyramid and adjust for these factors. In the end football players will learn to read and react, through the muscle memory developed, giving them the ability to make the tackle, catch, or run in a big game.