High knee running over bags

Purpose of the High knee running over bags Drill

The purpose of the High knee running over bags Drill is to develop the runningbacks’ running with high knees, thus picking their feet off the ground and with that improving their ability to step over players lying on the ground as well as breaking would be shoestring tackles. As the runningbacks are asked to keep their eyes looking downfield and not down onto the bags it also improves their peripheral vision by more sensing than seeing the bags – or in the game the players – lying on the ground.
It also improves the ball carrying abilities as the runningback have to pump their arms hard to pull up the knees, and as they are doing the drills while carrying a football, they get used to securely carrying the football while still pumping their arms to support the running.

Description of the High knee running over bags Drill

  1. Put 5 to 7 square bags parallel to each other with a spacing in between so that the runningbacks can run near their full speed over the bags with just one foot touching between the bags
  2. Line up the running backs at one end of the bags each carrying a football.
  3. Now let the running backs run as fast as possible over the bags.


  • As the runningbacks get better start varying the spacing between the bags, thus the running backs cannot simply run with rhythm over the bags but are forced to pay a lot more attention on where the bags are actually lying.


  • If you don’t have enough footballs for each running back to have one, you need at least as many so that they can all can run through with at ball, trowing the ball back to the next running back up without a football. The more footballs you have the more fluently the drill runs and the runningbacks can get more reps in the same time.
  • According to the skill level of your running backs you might start off running at a lower speed, and therefore you might have to adjust the spacing between the bags.

Coaching Points for the High knee running over bags Drill

  • Runners should keep eyes downfield and knees high. – Teach the running backs that they never should look down onto the ground, they have to sense the obstacles on the ground more than looking directly at them. If they don’t look downfield they can’t find the opening in the defense and/or might not see the tackler whom they otherwise could make miss.
  • Violent explosive high knee running. – Exaggertion is the key, if they don’t exaggerate the high-knee motion in this drill they will never pick up their feet naturally.
  • Going for every yard – step on, over or around would be tackler.
  • Check also for proper ball carrying throughout the whole drill.

Equipment for the High knee running over bags Drill

  • Balls – best: one football for each running back
  • 5 to 7 square bags