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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Youth Football Middle Linebackers

In youth football they're probably your most aggressive and best tacklers on the team that go side-line to side-line making tackles. Their attack is relentless and they are a big part of your defence, and no doubt, during the regular season they rack up the tackling stats.
But there's a problem developing among the many tackles that your youth football player is making. A problem that is lurking and waiting to be exposed, by the right offensive co-ordinator. You probably won't notice it until play-offs when the teams you face are better.

Now what's that lurking problem? It's called misdirection!

I have seen it a hundred times. Linebackers biting and bailing on plays, only to be taken advantage of by misdirection. All of a sudden your all-star linebacker is invisible and your in trouble in a hurray.

At the youth football level the misdirection would probably be in the form of a sweep reverse play or quarterback bootleg.

As you try to settle your linebacker down another problem usually follows. You soon discover that with your middle linebacker staying home that you have contain problems. Probably never seen much of it all year as your middle linebacker went side-line to side-line, but now it's there and at the worst time, and it's not an easy fix. Practice time is when you fix it, but it's a play-off game and you might not be practicing on Monday.

All in all, your linebackers need to be familiar with the terms misdirection and contain. They need to understand their assignments from within these terms and how things can go wrong if these two areas are ignored. It starts in your first linebacker group practice and is reinforced every work-out through out the season. They have to do respect it and most of all, they have to think it! If they have a contain responsibility then that's what their first and foremost responsibility is, making the tackle is secondary. If they are playing in the middle, then they are taught to stay at home on plays away from their side and to think of misdirection back their way.


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