Follow the instructions given in this article about catching a football correctly, while running and with one hand.

Catching a football is something a lot of people can do, but only a few people can do well. In order to catch a football consistently, you have to use your hand eye coordination correctly and efficiently. When it comes to American football, learning to catch a football correctly becomes important, as it is the most essential skill you need to possess en route becoming a great footballer. This skill will ensure there is no fumble on your part when a ball is thrown at you, and you are comfortable with running, passing or dodging players. The following is a list of tried and true methods of how to catch a football. Consider them the next time you want to try this on your own.

Catching The Football

Catching The Football

Hand Eye Coordination

Hand eye coordination is the foundation to learning how to catch a football and is simply the coordinated control of eye movement with hand movement, and the processing of visual input to guide reaching and grasping. In this case we’re working on hand eye coordination to reach and successfully catch a football. For wide receivers and tight ends, this is extremely important. Players must be able to judge the distance and speed of a football, know when it will be in their area of contact, and know when to reach for it without hinting to defensive back that the ball is coming. The better a wide receiver or tight end is at looking-in the football with hand eye coordination, the better their chances are to catch a football and complete the pass are. That’s what will grab the attention of your quarterback by the way. So, don’t take hand eye coordination lightly.

Stretch Your Arms

As the ball starts coming closer to you, you should stretch your arms in the direction of the ball. This ensures you hands come in contact with the ball as far away from the body as possible. You should be careful in extending your arms at the right time, just before the ball comes to you. Do not run with your arms stretched out.

Positive Mental Images

Make a mental picture in which you see yourself catching that football. Do not permit any negative thoughts to intercept that image. When that football touches your hand or any part of your arms, try to tuck it in immediately under your arm on the opposite side of any defenders; then run like hell, throw it back, or pass the ball on, whatever move is required for the progress of your team. The process of how to catch a football begins with a belief in the ability to do so, regardless of the circumstance.

Positioning Your Fingers

If the football is approaching you above waist height, make a triangle with both hands, palms facing away from your body. By placing the tips of your thumbs so that they are facing each other and all other fingers pointing up, the tip of the ball is hopefully heading for the open space in between your hands. Reach your hands out towards the ball and catch it with your fingers away from your body. Do not use your palms, as a football that is thrown hard will often bounce right off of your palms. As the ball makes contact with your body, squeeze it and in one swift motion, tuck it under your arm.


Watch the ball closely as it comes to you and grab it by bringing down all your fingers on it. The ball should have traveled about halfway in the space between your hands. Once you have caught the ball, tuck it under either of your arms. Always remember to tuck the ball in after you have caught it, to prevent any fumble.

Catching While Running

  • It is important that you run ahead of the football and not behind it, keeping your eyes fixed on it all the while. This will help you get in a good position much before the ball has arrived, so that you catch it properly.
  • Once you feel you are in a decent position to catch, move your waist a little bit in the direction of the football and turn the upper part of your body towards it.
  • Your hand position should be similar to the one discussed above. The triangular position, with the fingers spread out and thumbs pointing at each other. When the ball comes close enough, extend your arms towards the ball and try grabbing it around its middle portion, with a hand on each side. Hold it tight.
  • After catching, tuck it under one of your arms or against your ribcage and run. Keep a tight grip on the ball, so that you don’t drop it while running.

Catching With One Hand

Football Catching While Running

Football Catching While Running

  • Before learning to do so with one hand, it is better you learn and practice the two techniques discussed above. This will make it easier for you, as your hand-eye coordination and ability to keep focus on the ball when in air would have improved considerably. This makes it easier to learn with a single hand.
  • The basics remain same. Keep an eye on the ball till the last moment. Run ahead of the ball to get in a good position and catch the ball away from your body. Since you are using only one hand, ensure that it is not lying flat. It should be curved a little, or else, it increases the chances of a fast ball bouncing off your palm.
  • Another important point to bear in mind is to not stop the traveling ball at once. Follow its path for a bit to slow it down, before grabbing it. You should grab the ball with four fingers on one side and the thumb on the other, with the ball’s front face placed in the middle. Hold it tight, and tuck it under either of your arms after you have caught it.