August 11


How To Backpedal In Football

By vIQtory

August 11, 2021

The ability to change direction in football is one of the key qualities of an excellent defensive player. Linebackers and defensive backs need to be able to move Omni-directional at a moment’s notice. Backpedaling and transitioning forward play a large part in this process.

The shoulders must be over the toes to backpedal in football to ensure all weight is forward. From here, slowly move backward while maintaining the chest over shoulders posture.

This article will show you how to backpedal in football and the best way to transition forward to get more interceptions & pass breakups.

Our Top Coaching Course
Best Courses For Coaches

Best Courses For Coaches

  • 7 positional courses
  • Coach any position on the field
  • Instantly improve your current positional group
  • Exclusive access to our staff to help answer your questions
Most Popular For Fans
Best Course For Fans

Best Course For Fans

  • Instantly improve your football IQ
  • Grow your football knowledge & outsmart your friends and colleagues
  • Learn schemes, plays, formations & more
  • Complete breakdown of rules, offensive and defensive concepts
Best Course For Spouses
Girlfriends Guide To Football

Girlfriends Guide To Football

  • Best course for beginners to learn football
  • Intro courses that provide you the skillset to talk football like a pro
  • Engage with your spouse during and after the game
  • No more boring Sundays, everyone can enjoy football!

Backpedaling In Football

Football players, like most athletes, need to be able to move in all directions. Defensive backs, however, are mainly tasked with covering speedy X, Y, and Z receivers, which can be stressful.

While backpedaling may seem elementary, there are common flaws in the average high school football player that will lead to transition mistakes.

These mistakes are the difference between a ball being completed and an intercepted ball.

Let’s first start with the stance of a defensive back.

Watch the complete video breakdown here on YouTube.


First, get a good athletic stance with the feet staggered. If the feet are square, what will often happen in the weight will transition onto the heels as the defensive back begins the backpedal.

When the feet are staggered, we want to get into an athletic stance where the chest and chin are over the toes. This is a crucial part of the stance, as the chest and chin are major components to transitioning forward.

The hands should be resting right along the hip area. Tense hands often will result in intense transitions. As a defensive back, you want to be as fluent and relaxed as possible.

Free Coaching Kit

Get 3 free templates to help you build an organized and structured team. The 3 templates include: 

  • Practice Template
  • Depth Chart
  • Season/Game Statistics Template


As the play begins and the receiver starts to move, start your backpedal.

When the play starts, it’s essential to lead with your front foot as your first step (as your feet are staggered). This will cause an even distribution in stride length between your feet.

If you step with your back foot, this may cause uneven stride length, and your heels may distribute weight unevenly.

If your defensive backs or safeties use a kick slide technique, leading with the back foot is necessary. The big point of emphasis when starting a backpedal is to keep the shoulders and chin over the toes at all times.

The minute the shoulders and the chin line directly over your hips are when you have trouble transitioning forward on time.

The speed of your backpedal is important. As a defensive back, you should never reach top speed when backpedaling. Remember, 80% of routes will break before 7 yards, so there’s a good chance that we’ll be breaking toward the line of scrimmage during our backpedal.

You should be a little faster than half speed to change direction effectively.


Now that you’ve started to move backward, you’ll need to train your body to transition at any moment’s notice. Sometimes it may be in the first step of your backpedal; sometimes, it may be in the fifth step.

The two major points of emphasis when transitioning:

  • Make sure your chest and chin is over your toes. This will help you bring momentum forward as you transition.
  • Use a maximum of 2-3 steps in the transition. Ideally, if you can use a plant step and a directional step to break toward a wide receiver, this will help you break faster toward the football.
  • Avoid long, delayed breaks by anchoring your back foot. Keep the hips square to break at any angle as fast as possible

If the stance and the start are not coached up properly, it will be hard for the backpedal transition to happen effectively.

Ultimate Football Guide

Be The Smartest Person In The Room

The ultimate football guide will help you transform your knowledge from a casual fan to a football guru!

Keep Learning

Below are more articles to help you learn about defensive backs.

How To Play Press Coverage

How To Play Press Coverage

What Does A Safety Do In Football? Learn Here

What Is A DB In American Football? Explained

These are the fundamentals and principles every defensive back should build off of. Backpedaling in football can be mastered through repetition.

It’s important to practice stance and start every day in practice. It’s a technique that needs to be meticulously corrected daily.

If you want to learn more about coaching defensive backs, we recommend that you look at our learning center to find more articles like this.


About the author

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Direct Your Visitors to a Clear Action at the Bottom of the Page