How to Catch a Football While Running

By Corey M. Mackenzie

A football’s size and shape makes it easier to catch while running than other kinds of balls; however, the shape also makes the football more likely to bounce out of your grasp if you don’t get a firm hold on the ball and practice other good catching techniques. If you practice good catching techniques often, they will become second nature. Practice will also help you judge the trajectory of any football’s path and how fast you must run to catch the football. In order to catch a football while running, you must possess some natural ability to judge distance and speed, and you must have good motor skills. With practice, however, most people can learn to catch a football.

Watch the football and run ahead of it. Keep your eye on the ball the whole time. You may need to quicken your pace or slow down your pace depending on how fast the football is traveling. Keeping your eye on the ball does not mean you don't notice your surroundings. Your peripheral vision should alert you to obstacles in your path.

Twist slightly at the waist and angle your upper body in the direction of the ball. If the ball is to your left, you should turn slightly towards your left.

Reach for the football as soon as it is close enough to catch. Splay your fingers in order to maximize your ability to hold on to the ball once it hits your hands. If your fingers are close together, the ball will too easily slip or bounce from your grasp. Imagine that your hands are large catcher's mitts.

Grasp the football around its midsection, with one hand on each side of the ball, respectively. Immediately tighten your grip around the ball.

Pull the football in close and tight to your body as soon as possible after catching the ball. Cradle the ball against the left side (or right side, depending on how you caught it) and hold it firmly against your ribs. A firm hold will help prevent you from fumbling the ball as you run.

Tip

Grab the ball firmly so it does not bounce out of your hand. Frequent practice will make catching a football while running easier.

Warning

Watch your step. If you do fall, make sure you continue holding the ball and roll with the fall. Don't be afraid of the ball. If you fear pain or injury from the ball, you will likely fumble it---if you catch it at all. A well-thrown football can sprain your fingers if you don't apply proper catching technique. Don't attempt to catch a football one-handed and always apply a firm grip on the ball.