Running backs in football often require quick feet to juke, cut back, and spin. A good running back is equipped with a plethora of moves to engage them at any time.
Practicing jukes, cutbacks, and spin moves can be done anywhere outside on the grass. Simply planting the foot in the ground and cutting back and forth will help the body learn how to handle precise movements.
In this article, we’re going to show you what each move means so that way you can execute it properly in a game.
Juke Moves In Football
A juke move has many variations in which coaches or analysts may refer to it as:
- Jump Cut
A juke is when a ball carrier sets up a defender to make him believe he is going on the way but goes the other. It typically results in the defender missing the tackling, mostly from taking a poor angle or slipping down from being faked out.
The art of juking or head faking a defender to make him miss has been implemented in football since its inception. Being a descendant of rugby, football was primarily a ground and pound game before it was opened up with the passing game.
A cutback is similar to the juke move. It involves setting up a defender to the outside, putting your foot in the ground, and going against the grain. Speed backs do this the best, as subconsciously, they know when and what angle to cut back on.
Running backs who are successful with their cutbacks typically avoid one thing, deceleration. Decelerating or slowing down when making a cutback can result in a linebacker making a big hit or a loss/no gain of yards.
Spin moves are hazardous but can result in some extra yards if you’re daring enough to try it. Planting the outside foot and using the cutback momentum to spin the upper half of the body in a circle to spin off a defender is when it’s best used.
Here’s an example of Ohio State’s Braxton Miller hitting the spin move to perfection:
As mentioned, this move is risky, as the ball tends to leave the running back’s body; it also blurs the running back’s vision as they lose sight of defenders who are coming after them. Here is an example of a spin move not working so well.
The first thing we need to focus on when practicing our juke move is identifying which kind of running back you are. If you’re a power back with a powerful build and can run over defenders while staying on your feet, use that as your primary move.
While running in traffic, power backs should just lower their shoulder and pick up as many yards as they possibly can. We recommend that power backs should learn how to juke, especially in the open field. There’s nothing worse than a fullback who breaks it through the line of scrimmage, they’re one on one with safety, and they try to bull him over.
This is where a juke move would come in handy. Before we begin practicing the juke, we recommend working on speed and quickness training as we’ve defined here to increase your ability to make these cuts.
We first recommend this simple drill above by thespeeddr1. It doesn’t involve any equipment, and all you need is either a field or just any markings in your backyard.
This simple drill gets your body used to the impact the knees will take from making these cuts. Start at half speed and work your way to full speed over time.
Now that we’ve learned how to move laterally, let’s graduate to sharp jukes and cutbacks that can be effective in the open field and perimeter.
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45 Degree Sharp Cuts
This next video is a great demonstration by PROtips4U on easing into learning cutbacks and 45-degree cuts. These cuts can be used both as a cutback or head faking toward the sideline.
Set up cones 5 yards away from each other at 45 degrees. First, walk through the drill at half speed to teach your body how to cut and properly make the juke move.
It will also help to film yourself making these cuts so you can make improvements. As you get more comfortable making these cuts, start to pick up the speed.
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, making cuts at top speed without decelerating is the difference between a touchdown and gaining 2-3 yards. Everything that we do running back-wise needs to be simulated as if we’re running in a game.
Now that you’ve gotten comfortable making the proper cuts let’s add friends/coaches to the drill by having them set up at each cone and strip the football.
It will teach your brain to cover the football while you’re cutting. This is something that should be practiced every day. Running back’s often fumble because the ball comes away from their body, and they lose the 5 points of pressure on cutbacks.
Practicing Cutback Angles
Leaving the cones in a 45-degree setting, now we want to practice cutting back on defenders and training the brain to notice poor angles. As shown in Coach Grayvold’s clip above, the defender can juke back on the first defender because of a poor angle.
Good running backs will naturally notice this poor angle and instinctively cut back on a defender. Put a moving defender 2-3 yards behind the cut-back cones and have them move toward the cone when the running back starts moving.
Have them take proper angles and poor angles, so your brain starts to note when to cut back unconsciously. As the drills progress, start to add in the stiff arm, and spin moves to the equation.
Practicing the Spin Move
Keeping the cones at a 45-degree angle. First, at half speed, work on planting your outside foot in the ground and spinning away from the cone. Again, ball security is something to be very conscious of.
Fumbles occur when players spin and the natural momentum keeps the ball away from their bodies. Pick it up to full speed and add in friends or even trash cans to simulate defenders. This move should only be used when a defender over commits.
We still even recommend using the juke move to a defender who takes a poor angle. This move is also commonly used in the backfield, where you’ll more than likely have more offensive blockers than defenders trying to tackle you.
If you get past the line of scrimmage, it’s extremely tough to spin in these areas.
Use these drills if you’re new to football or if you’ve been playing for years. The biggest thing is to understand how your body moves on each cut. Get a feel for each cut and how your body feels when the foot is planted in the ground.
Every type of runner should learn these moves if they will be effective in the open field. Identify how the defender is approaching you and learn when to cut back and when to stiff arm.
This is the difference between great runners and average runners who barely can break a tackle.
Related Q & A
What Is A Juke In Football?
A juke in football is when a ball carrier puts their outside or inside foot in the ground and makes a sharp cut against the foot they put in the ground. This move often makes the defender miss because of poor angles and sloppy tackling
How Do I Juke Better In Football?
Practicing drills on the surface that you’ll be playing on, whether that’s grass or turf, and consistently cutting on defenders or cones. Learn how to use your body, sink into cuts, and identify poor angles from defenders