What Is A Running Back In Football? What Skills Do They Need?

What Is A Running Back In Football? What Skills Do They Need?

What Is A Running Back In Football? What Skills Do They Need?

Running back is one of the most critical positions in football. It requires a player with great physical abilities and exceptional mental skills. Knowing what is a Running Back in Football and the required skills for this position is important because a good running back can make or break a team’s success.

What is a Running Back?

A running back (RB) is a player on offense who is generally responsible for carrying the ball on running plays. They line up behind the quarterback in the backfield. They receive handoffs, pitches, screens, and other types of carries from other players. The quarterback can also use the running back as a receiver out of the backfield, with the running back catching short passes or running routes.

What Skills Does a Running Back Need?

It is very important for running back to have information about what is a Running Back in Football and what skills they need. Here are the details of the skills.


A running back must have excellent speed and agility to outrun defenders. The better their speed, the greater their chance of making a big play when given the opportunity.


The position also requires a player with good strength and power. Not only do they need to be able to fight through incoming tackles, but they also need to be able to break away from them. Breaking huge runs is one of the most important components of a successful running back.

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The ability to expect what’s happening on the field and make quick decisions is essential for a running back. Good vision helps them find open lanes and gaps in the defense and capitalize on them.


Running backs need great endurance, as they often run for long periods. They need the stamina to keep going, no matter how tired their bodies are.

Ball Handling Skills

The last skill a running back needs is good ball-handling skills. Holding the ball while running and catching it when a quarterback throws it is necessary for a successful player.

Role of a Running Back

Run Blocking

Running backs are also responsible for running. They involve keeping the defensive players away from the quarterback by using their bodies as shields. They also need to understand what is a Running Back in football, how to read the defense and where they need to be to create an open lane for the running back.

Pass Protection

Besides, running backs are often asked to stay in and protect the quarterback on passing plays. They need them to be able to read the defense quickly and position themselves.

Catching Passes

Running backs also need good hands and route-running ability to catch passes from their quarterback. They must be able to anticipate where the ball will be thrown and adjust their routes accordingly.

Acting as a Decoy

Finally, running backs are often used as decoys to draw the defense away from other players. They must have good speed and agility to appear more dangerous than they are.

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Training and Development for Running Backs

Agility Drills

Agility drills such as ladders and cones can help running backs improve footwork. Coaches design specific drills to target important aspects of running back success. These drills aim to increase players’ speed, balance, coordination, and reaction times.


Endurance is another key skill that running backs need to have. Conditioning exercises are vital for running backs as they aid in building and maintaining stamina. Sprints and interval training are particularly beneficial for them in this regard.

Mental Prep

Running backs need to be able to think and make split-second decisions on the field. Mental preparation exercises play a crucial role in a running back’s development. These exercises, such as film study and visualization, help them stay focused and enhance their decision-making skills.

By developing these skills, running backs can become successful players who excel. With the right training and development, they can become integral to any team’s success. 


Q: What is the role of a running back?

A: A running back handles carrying the ball on running plays, blocking for the quarterback, catching passes, and acting as a decoy.

Q: How do running backs develop their skills?

A: Running backs can develop their skills through various methods. These include strength training exercises, agility drills, and conditioning exercises. Additionally, they can improve their skills through ball-handling drills and mental preparation exercises. These activities will help them maximize their potential as running backs.

Q: How do running backs use their bodies as shields during run blocking?

A: Running backs need to read the defensive players when blocking. They must expect to create an open lane for the ball carrier. They can position themselves between the quarterback and defenders, which allows them to act as a shield, enabling the quarterback to make the play.

 Q: What ball-handling drills do running backs need to practice?

A: Running backs should practice catching drills to develop their ball-handling skills. These drills can include bounce passes and over-the-shoulder catches. They should also practice throwing drills. So they can become more accurate when passing the ball.


What is a Running Back in Football?  Running back is an essential position in football. Players need a combination of physical and mental skills to be successful at the position. Speed, strength, and vision are all factors that contribute to the success of a running back. Additionally, run blocking abilities, pass protection skills, catching abilities, and decoy play also play a role in their performance. Training and development are also necessary for players to maximize their potential. With these skills, any player can become an excellent football running back.

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