Practice Makes Perfect

Football can be a complicated game for the uninitiated. Those unfamiliar with the NCAA Football franchise might find themselves a bit lost trying to get acclimated to the mechanics of the college game. This year, we’ve introduced the new Nike Skills Trainer to try and flatten and learning curve. Now you can learn all about the new features in this year’s game, and also re-familiarize yourself with some of the elements that were introduced last year. You get to do all of this inside a state-of-the-art Nike practice facility, just like a real college team.


When you enter the Nike Skills Trainer, you’ll have your choice of tutorials and drills for both offense and defense. The tutorials feature videos narrated by David Pollack, who walks you step-by-step through the drills. These tutorials are extremely helpful for some of the more complicated concepts like the Shovel Option, and can help both vets and newcomers alike.

After the tutorial, you can jump into a drill that lets you execute what you just learned. The best way to master a technique is through repetition, and you’ll be given a set number of reps to apply your newfound skills. Meeting the minimum threshold for success will earn you a bronze medal, but true mastery will grant you not only a gold medal, but also an exclusive Ultimate Team item. These items are closely tied to the drills, so earning Gold in the Pass Trajectories will unlock one of the most successful Golden Bears ever, Aaron Rodgers. On a similar note, acing the Ball Hawk drill will net you Charles Woodson, the only defensive player to ever win the Heisman.

Even if you already think you’re a master of NCAA Football, there are enough rewards in the Skills Trainer to hop in and try and prove your mettle. The challenges can be tackled in any order, so if you just want to learn about the new Option game or brush up on specific skills, go for it.


On the offensive side of the ball, the Skills Trainer provides instruction on both running and passing. This year marks a big overhaul in the Option game, so you may want to check out the Option, Triple Option and Shovel Option tutorials. The drills start simply, reducing the number of players on the field so that you don’t have to wonder where to put your focus. Your only job is to watch what the Read Key defender does and either keep the ball if he crashes down the line of scrimmage, or hand it off to the running back if he stays home. Once you’ve gotten a feel for how to read what the defender is doing, you’ll jump into a live 11-on-11 drill. After a bit of practice you’ll be able to identify the proper defender, make the right read, and find the opening. Suddenly running the Option is much less intimidating.

Rounding out the running tutorials are the Acceleration Burst and Oklahoma Drill. Acceleration Burst will help you get a feel for how to get around the corner or hustle through a fast-closing hole on the line. The Oklahoma Drill is the ultimate test of all your skills, as you must go mano-a-mano against a defender in a confined space in the hopes of breaking through and scoring a touchdown. Utilize jukes, spins, stiff-arms and everything else in your bag of tricks in order to get in the endzone.

Running the ball isn’t all you can practice, though. If you ever struggled with when to loft a lob pass versus firing in a hard strike, this is your chance to learn more. You can also get a feel for how to lead receivers to the open areas of the field. Spend some time with the Nike Skills Trainer, and see if your offensive efficiency doesn’t start trending in a positive direction.


The Nike Skills Trainer can also help you out with your defense. Many people don’t like to take control of a secondary player for fear giving up a big play. The Ball Hawk tutorial will teach you how to switch to the proper player and get into position to make a play on the ball. If you’ve always wanted to attack passes more aggressively but didn’t know where to start, this is the perfect place to learn.


One thing that separates the elite players from warm bodies on the roster is the ability to effectively execute pre-snap adjustments. Sometimes you’ll see a mismatch you want to exploit, and other times an opponent will show you something that catches you off-guard, so quick adjustments are needed.

The Skills Trainer will also allow you to run through various hot routes and audibles on both sides of the ball. Whether it’s changing a receiver’s route from a slant to a zig, or switching your linebacker from a blitz to a hook zone, the Skills Trainer will help teach you exactly what you need in order to be a more effective playcaller. Don’t know what a zig or hook zone is? Don’t worry, after utilizing the Skills Trainer, you will. 

The goal of the Nike Skills Trainer is to make you a better player on both sides of the ball. Whether you’re brand-new to the game or a savvy veteran, you can always get better. It’s a great mode to visit the first time you take the game out of the box, and it’s the perfect resource to revisit anytime you need a refresher. 

Ready to try out the all-new Nike Skills Trainer? Download the demo today!


NCAA Football 14 is available on Tuesday, July 9 for Xbox 360 and PS3. Fans can learn more at the NCAA Football website. Pre-order today to receive exclusive Conference Packs.

Keep up to date and visit the NCAA Football websiteFacebook, and Twitter to find exclusive assets and unique insights into all of this year’s new features. College football enthusiasts can also get involved in the conversation by tweeting with the hashtag #PLAYTRUE.