13 Football Drills for 7-Year-Olds


Ah, football drills. What better way to let 7-year-olds work out their aggression than suiting them up and letting them run into each other? Of course, there must be a method to the madness, so I looked up some of the best football drills to do with 7-year-olds. 

So what are 11 football drills for 7-year-olds? Some excellent drills include those that teach agility, blocking, and passing as efficiently as possible. Depending on your equipment, it is also a good idea to teach them how to tackle using dummies. 

Football can be a very rewarding experience for both the team and the coaches, but there must be strategy when it comes to teaching your boys how to play. 

Agility and Speed Drills 

Agility is key to football because your players must be able to move as nimbly and quickly as possible. Agility teaches how to maintain or control body position when moving swiftly, and speed is no less important. 

Agility is key to football because your players must be able to move as nimbly and quickly as possible. Agility teaches how to maintain or control body position when moving swiftly, and speed is no less important. 

Unfortunately, speed and agility development are often neglected or only focused on during pre-season practices. Hitting, blocking, and tackling drills are favored far more during the actual season, under the pretenses that strength will beat speed, and agility is quickly learned.

In reality, it takes the team weeks or months to see development in these areas. It is therefore vital to teach your team agility drills as religiously as possible.

Teach your team that agility is one of the most important keys to the game.

It doesn’t matter how hard you can hit if your block has danced delicately out of your grasp.

One of the most simple drills you can have 7-year-olds do is high knees. Have them dress in all of their pads and equipment, and line them all up. Mark your lines to be fairly far apart. Then have the team get their knees as high as possible.

For some, this will be a completely new experience, and your boys will find it incredibly difficult. However, persist, and maybe make them do push-ups to stop the complaining.

This drill will train them to learn how to move in their gear. This is especially important for your bigger guys. (Relatively bigger, of course. They’re 7.) 

Another fantastic drill to do with 7-year-olds is running through cones. Put cones in a ‘Z’ formation across the field, and have each player dart in between each cone as quickly as possible.

This will have them learn to move their feet quickly. This drill can also be completed with twine or tires, but those can cause more of a tripping hazard than cones would. 

You can also set the cones to teach the team how to turn extremely quickly. To do this, set up your six cones anywhere on the field. Four of the cones should be in a line, and the other two cones should be parallel to the middle two of your row.

Set each cone about five yards apart. Have each of the teammates run through the cones, turning exactly 90 degrees each time they reach a cone. 

A different pattern that you could use for your cones can be the star pattern. You will need five cones for this one. Place one cone in the middle, and around it, in a star or an ‘X’ pattern, place the four others.

Have your players start at an outside cone, then dart to the middle, then swivel to run to the next cone and then back to the middle, and so on. This drill will teach them some different angles, as well as training them on speed. 

Blocking Drills 

Blocking is another absolutely vital part of football.

Without blockers, the opposite team could very easily tackle your little 7-year-old quarterback, making everyone in the stands cringe for fear of a broken leg or an eye-vibrating concussion. 

Teaching 7-year-olds to block can be tricky. Some may be afraid to stand their ground because very few people can watch somebody come barreling towards them with the sincerest look of bloodlust capable in the eyes of a 7-year-old and not at least squeal.

However, teach them as early as possible to resist the pressing urge to retreat. The sooner this can be ingrained in them, the better your offensive line will become. 

Firstly, it is important to teach the 7-year-old the proper blocking form.  It is vital to teach them to never lunge. Doing so can result in serious injury, and severe penalty calls.

It is important to always have the player’s feet directly under him. Teach him to use his hands to lock on to the block. In a passing drill, have them keep their heads back, and in a run, teach them to keep their heads forward with their motion. 

One excellent drill you can do will teach your offensive linemen to spring up as quickly as possible and make it to their block ASAP. Have each of your linemen line up in their normal positions.

In front of them, have a pylon with a flag for each man. Have them get into their 3-point stance, and give the classic call “down, set, hut.”

On “hut”, each player will race to his flag. The first to hit his flag wins and gets to sit out for the next tries.

False starts can result in the punishment of the coaches’ choice, be it push-ups, laps, or do-overs. 

Another drill you can easily do with 7-year-olds will teach them how to read a play and teach them to move and block accordingly. Have your linemen line up per usual, and have either a coach or your quarterback stand in front, acting as the opposite team.

At the appropriate time, have your quarterback move his arm either to pass or to hand off the ball. Teach your linemen to fall back a bit for a pass, and to run forward with a hand-off.

Have the quarterback do each movement several times, varying the patterns.  

A third drill you can do with 7-year-olds will teach them to fill any gaps left in the line. Nothing is as heart-wrenching for coaches and spectators of the O-Line than a gap that allows the defensive linebacker to lollygag his way to your gangly quarterback.

To avoid this, set up 7 cones, giving the offensive player 6 gaps to choose from. On the coach’s signal, the offensive player will run through one of the gaps, racing to beat the defensive player. This will teach your O-Line to be quick thinkers, and be able to tag or tackle the enemy before they get past them. 

Passing Drills

Passes can be the most exciting parts of the game. They’re risky, but extremely effective when done correctly. Whether or not your team can pass will make or break a game.

Passing drills can teach both your passers and your receivers how best to complete the perfect play. 

However, passing plays can be admittedly torturous in a game for 7-year-olds. Actual complete passes are far and few between, so be prepared for that as either a coach or a spectator.

When a pass is completed, however, there are few things more morale-boosting. 

Before you begin teaching your 7-year-olds to pass, however, it is important to keep in mind that you MUST teach them how to pass properly.

There are debates within the football community about whether or not it is good to teach someone so young how to pass, because the throwing motion is extremely complex, and can easily be thrown off.

However, it is generally accepted that as long as they are taught properly, there is no reason to not teach a 7-year-old how to be a quarterback. 

There are three important when it comes to passing: the Cradle, the Swing, and the Follow Through.

The Cradle is the pre-throw phase, usually including both the grip on the ball and the body position of the QB. The most important part of the Cradle is being able to quickly get into the throwing position while still having a secure grip on the ball.

It is also important to be holding the ball properly, and with the correct angle before moving into the throwing position. 

The second phase is the Swing, which is the actual throwing part. The Swing is the most highly debated part of the whole process, but it is generally agreed that the QB must aim a little to the left of his target so that he can get his hip involved, and that the ball must always stay above the elbow. 

The final phase, the Follow Through, is completed with two important things in mind. Firstly, the throwing hand must end its rotation at the opposite hip. If it doesn’t, there will be significant problems with aim.

Secondly, the QB’s feet should be almost square to the target. Failure to complete this will also lead to aim issues. 

With your QB’s passing technique perfected, it is time to teach the passing drills.

One drill you can do with 7-year-olds is a traditional one, usually called the ‘Pat and Go’. This drill is spaced out about 30 yards but this distance can be adjusted to match the arm strength of the quarterbacks.

Two quarterbacks will line up 30 yards apart facing each other with a line of receivers to their right. When the QB moves the ball the WR will run a fade route.

It’s important that the QB does not call Go as there will be two QBs doing it and eventually one of the receivers will go at the wrong time. This is also a great time to put an emphasis on the WRs that they do not listen to the cadence and instead go when the ball moves.

As the receiver runs his fade route the QB will throw the ball to him. The exact type of throw can vary but it should be high enough that the receiver can work on running under the ball and adjusting to it in the air.

When the receiver has caught the ball he will hand it to the opposing QB and get in that QB’s receiver line.

Another drill you can teach your young team is called the ‘Settle and Noose’. Settle and Noose is another Air Raid staple, youth football quarterback passing drill that allows the QBs and Receivers to work on their essential skills during pre-practice.

In this drill, a Receiver will start on the line with two cones around 7-8 yards apart on that line. The wide receiver is looking to run his route, break on each cone and then square up the QB to catch the pass.

The key coaching points for the receiver are to really emphasis sticking his toe into the ground when he is making his cut and to settle in between the cones with his hands to the QB in a diamond.

Once he does catch the ball he should drop step with the same leg as the direction he is going and burst downfield for five yards.

By using a drop step he guarantees that he is gaining yards right after the catch and is not moving sideways.

When receivers move sideways they create a much easier tackle for the defender who is guarding him.

The quarterback can be working on a variety of different things during the Settle and Noose Drill. He will have time to work on footwork while the Wide Receiver is working on his plants and cuts. This can be done through a variety of different ways.

One is to have a coach working with the QBs using a wave drill and throwing the ball when the coach claps. The QB should be focused on the accuracy of his throw.

He needs to put the ball on the shoulder that is furthest away from a defender. By throwing the ball to the shoulder that is away from the defender the QB allows his receiver more time to get out of the break and accelerate. 

Tackle Drills 

Some football teams for kids as young as 7 are touch only, or flag. However, there are also full contact teams to play in. With the proper equipment and protection, as well as the proper training, tackle drills are perfectly safe, and desperately needed, for a team to be proficient. 

One possible drill is one where your players tackle a dummy. Hold a tackle dummy upright and have a player take a defensive stance one stride in front of the dummy.

On your signal, have the player surge forward and tackle the dummy. Let go of the dummy as the player makes contact. The player must wrap his arms around the dummy, hitting it with his chest and shoulders — not the helmet — and drive it forward.

Another drill is called the ‘Three Step Tackle” drill. When your kids are ready to tackle other players, do a three-step progression drill that teaches tackling fundamentals.

Have defenders take stances with their knees and hips bent and torsos leaning forward. Place a ball carrier a few yards in front of each defender.

On the initial signal, the defenders jog to the ball carriers but stop short of making contact. They should be in good tackling positions when they stop, with their knees bent, arms back, head up, and one shoulder positioned to drive into the ball carrier.

On the second command, the tacklers wrap their arms around the ball carriers’ waists. On the final command, the tacklers drive their legs to push the ball carriers back.

A third excellent drill can help teach more proper tackling form. Failing to wrap the arms around a ball carrier is a common tackling mistake you’ll see at all levels of football. A hug-and-hold drill can help kids grasp a ball carrier with both arms whenever possible.

Have a ball carrier take a step toward a tackler and then jump. The tackler grabs the offensive player in the air and tries to hold him up off the ground.

The tackler is forced to use both arms prevent the ball carrier from falling to the field. 

Another drill will help teach your players the proper tackling angle. Many tackling drills involve players facing each other. In an actual game, of course, kids may have to approach ball carriers from a variety of angles.

To practice angle tackling, position a ball carrier on one of the field’s lines. Put the defender in front and to one side of the ball carrier so they’re not face-to-face.

Have the ball carrier move forward, straight down the line, forcing the defender to tackle him from the side.

Related Questions 

How can I tell if my kid can play tackle football? There are a variety of telltale signs that signify whether or not your kid can withstand the rigors of being tackled.

If your child is too skinny, smaller than most other kids his age, or nervous about blocking and hitting, it might be a better idea to start him on a touch or a flag football team. 

Is football a good sport for 7-year-olds? Football is an excellent sport for a 7-year-old to play. Football will teach teamwork, responsibility, leadership, and camaraderie.

There are a variety of different football teams, so your child will be able to find a comfortable niche even if he doesn’t want to tackle people. 

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