When coaches tell me to keep the eyes on the receiver's hips, I find that impossible. I can't see his hips because they're covered by the pads, or by the jersey, or by a long shirt in practice.

How the heck am I supposed to watch his hips? I end up watching how he is generally going to turn, which doesn't fail - but the hips advice has never worked for me.

  • Correct Spinner! I am referring primarily to cornerbacks as well, because they mostly cover man-to-man. – MathApprentice Aug 16 '13 at 21:43
  • The hip area is the centre of gravity, so the action of turning starts there. – skullpatrol Aug 16 '13 at 22:41
  • @skullpatrol, that doesn't answer my question. – MathApprentice Aug 17 '13 at 0:08
  • You keep your eyes on the beltline area. – skullpatrol Aug 17 '13 at 3:56
  • 3
    My guess is that this is kind of like en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… "don't fire till you see the whites of their eyes". It's not meant to be taken literally, but intended as a reminder of a key point (don't get excited and shoot too soon). In your case, the coach is telling you to ignore the receiver's arms, head and in particular where he's looking, as these are all things use to fake the direction he's about to go. Once his hips and torso are moving, he's not faking. Take this general advice, not the specific wording. – Bogdanovist Aug 18 '13 at 10:40

It's a simplification of a bunch of ways to avoid route running techniques. Basically, coaches just don't want you to key on the upper body or feet as a simple head-fake or shuffle could cause you to over-commit.

I don't think they expect full focus on the receivers hips at all times such as when the ball's in the air. At some point you're going to have look at the receivers eyes and spot the ball yourself too. Rather, the point of keying on the hips is to not get fooled by a receiver's break. If he's running a post, your coach wants you to take the turn and drive of the hips as a sign that the receiver's made his break, not the shoulder and head fake he just made for an out. Once the receiver has made his break to commit to his route, the emphasis on watching the hips diminishes. He's going to look for the ball and you're going to now recover and close down the angle. Barring a broken play, the receiver is probably not going to work you one on one again as he's instead trying to provide a throwing target.

BTW, this is why receivers who can run a double move are often successful. They make one cut, changing their hip direction to sell the DB on one route and then drive hard into their real route. If they're quick and strong enough to make a successful second break, you will often be out of position because you did read his hips correctly!

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