What is ball security in football?

Ball security in football refers to a player’s ability to maintain possession of the ball when the opposing team is trying to generate a fumble. Ball security tends to be the most important for the running back position as these players tend to take the most hits with the ball in their hands.

A common saying amongst football players “ball security is job security” this explains how important it is that players figure out this part of their game.

When playing football at a professional level fumbling the football is going to be a very costly mistake. A fumble in football results in a turnover if the other team is able to collect the ball.

This means the opposing team is going to get possession of the ball and their offense will come onto the field.

Aside from a touchdown, a fumble is likely the biggest impact a running back can have on a football game. In order to avoid these sorts of situations running backs need to be sure to keep the ball protected at all times.

One of the key ways to protect the football is to keep it away from your opponents. When running with the football in your hands it should be kept towards the sideline you are closest to.

When running down the right side of the field the ball should be in your right hand. If you cut across the field to the left sideline you should switch the ball to the left hand.

The ball should always be in the opposite hand of where the defender is coming from. This way they will have a harder time getting a hand or helmet on the football to jar it loose.

Five points of pressure to avoid fumbles

Though holding onto the ball may seem like a fairly simple process there is actually quite a bit of technique involved. Below we will break down the five points of pressure which can be used to improve ball control.


When carrying the football players need to make sure they do not allow the ball to come off their chest. Players must keep the ball tight to their chest with the point of the ball pointing up.

If the ball comes off your chest there will be many parts of the ball defenders can hit to jar the ball loose.


Your fingertips can also play a large role in ball security in football. Ideally, you want to grip the ball with the point fitting between your middle finger and your index finger.

You then want to be sure you are squeezing your fingers while carrying the ball so that it stays tight in your grasp.


Your palm needs to stay glued to the football in order to maintain good ball security. If your palm comes off the ball defenders can hit the back half of the ball in order to generate a fumble.

Keeping your palm tight against the football ensures there are no loose areas in your grip.


When carrying the football you want to tuck the back half of the ball inside your bicep. You then want to apply pressure with your bicep keeping the ball pushed against your chest.

This way the bicep will help protect from punches at the football from the side or from behind.


The forearm is the last of the five points of contact. The forearm supports the football from the bottom. Defenders will often try to swing a punch underneath the players are in order to force a fumble.

Keeping your forearm in the proper position should stop this from happening.

That is all on ball security in football to learn more read our guide on if a player can fumble forwards or learn the definition of a strip.

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