Speed & Strength
First and foremost, your athletic abilities including your speed and strength. As a db, speed is the name of the game. The faster you are, the easier time you’ll have coving the receiver and making up ground on the field. You should be working out your speed / sprinting 3 times per week and lifting between 3-4 times as well. You don’t have to train like a bodybuilder but having more strength and power through explosive lifts will make you a better all-around athlete, having more size will let you be more forceful, and be more confident, and full body conditioning prevents injuries. If you’re not working out your hamstrings for example, how are you going to expect to be in your best shape for the championship game after a full season of running and getting hit.
DB Game time Drills
This is what makes a db a db. Your ability to change direction from a pedal or shuffle, press the man, read his body language, and anticipate routes then break with him, and even reading the quarterback. It’s one thing to work agility drills and all angles of your breaks, but the best dBs work out their eyes, Drills that work on where you need to look, how to keep your leverage and force him to your help, communicating through switches with your teammates. It’s not left up to chance, it worked on and crafted for thousands of reps before gameday.
Be A Receiver
What most DB’s fail to remember is that to cover a receiver, you need to move like a receiver. You ever running with a man and look up for the ball and just feel off balanced and sloppy with trouble tracking it down. Or you’re running right with him but get beat on a comeback as he decelerates much faster than you, even though you know what’s coming? Therefore, you need to run routes and train like a receiver. If you get comfortable moving like them, then you’ll be able to run with them a lot easier. When you really think about it, we play the same position once we come out of our pedal and turn around.
Study Film Always
The higher up you get in your sport, the more you’ll realize everyone is an athlete. Unless you’re one of the top few athletes on your team, what is going to separate you from the rest? Your knowledge of football better. Study the greats and you’ll see what I mean. Guys like ed reed were known for obsessively watching film and studying their opponents. Think to yourself right now, how many receivers from each team in your league can you name? You need to keep notes on them, strengths, weaknesses, and tendencies so you know how to win. Also, the offence in general and you are better sure as hell know your defence. When you can jump routes where your help is, how to make each tackle, etc. Football is a game of war and deception if you let it be, study your opponent and beat your opponent. Study yourself and out-improve your competition.
The last pillar of training like an NFL defensive back is working on your mentality. You must want the ball in your hands and have a ball hawk mentality, you must want to make hits and have a killer mentality, and you need to lead your team with a championship mentality. The more you expose yourself to the perspectives of the goats and listen to their wisdom, and the more you meditate to find what really matters to you and develop a solid base that will keep you composed in the moment while striving for greatness, the greater you’ll become. The other side of the mentals is completely draining yourself physically. The more control you have over your mind, the more consistent you will be and always be working towards your goals.
Now there’s a lot more detail out there such as goal setting, workout programs, how to watch film and all of that. These are the five pillars of becoming great as a defensive back. Ignore one of them and you will fail to live up to the player that you want to be and will die unsatisfied.