When you are training yourself in preparation for pre-season football or coaching a team in the pre-season, use a variety of drills to increase physical fitness and agility. The best drills are ones that require short, fast movements in spurts of energy. This is because football players need to have explosive speed or force, regardless of the positions they play. The exception is quarterbacks and kickers, who should focus mostly on getting back into their form for throwing and kicking.
Get players in shape for lots of sprinting by having them do a shuttle run drill. To perform this, identify two lines on the field, anywhere from 10 to 30 yards apart. Have players start at the first line, run to the second, come back to the first, go back to the second, and finish by running through the first line again. The total shuttle run is anywhere from 40 to 120 yards, depending on how far apart the two lines area. Motivate players to improve by timing them at the beginning of the preseason and again just before the regular season begins to see how much speed and agility they have gained.
Use three cones to have players practice a drill that requires them to change directions very quickly, in fact, every five yards. This drill is great for any player who will be running on the field, either as a defender following a receiver, a running back, or a receiver trying to get open. Set up three cones in an "L" shape with five yards between each end cone and the center one. Start at an end cone, run to the center cone, run back to the end cone, turn and run a corner around the center cone, go around the third cone, turn the corner back around the second cone and return to the start.
Plays from the quarterback to the wide receivers make some of the most exciting and biggest-yardage plays of the game. In the preseason, have the quarterback practice throwing to wide receivers running their patterns. Start without defenders to get the quarterback and receivers acquainted with the timing, and then add defenders that the wide receivers need to get past to make the play. Have the wide receivers practice cutting at the beginning or end of the run and running straight routes focused on speeding past the defender.
Pit your offensive and defensive players against each other in some drills designed to help the defenders tackle quickly, safely and efficiently. In drills for beginning players, focus on form and have defenders freeze at different parts of the tackle to make sure they have their feet spread apart, knees bent and back straight. Once defenders have mastered basic tackles, have them practice tackling players trying to make it between two dummy bags. You can also set up tackling drills, where the defenders are chasing down offensive players and trying to strip the ball as they take them down.