Winning Youth Football

Coaching Youth Fooball - Football Plays

Monday, December 6, 2010

Football Defensive Linemen Footwork

An effective football defensive line has to be able to move. If they cannot get out of their stance and effectively engage their block and get  to the ball, then your linebackers are in for a very long day on the grid-iron.
 A solid footwork program should be implemented as part of your group time in football practice and it should be done each and every practice for at least 10-15 minutes.The plan should start out having them in their stance and incorporate a lot of body movement and change of direction drills as well as drills where they have to pick up their feet. Practice equipment should include the flat rectangular bags, cones, and a ball. Such movement as high knees over the bags, lateral side steps over the bags, and change of direction drills are  a few examples of what can be done to get that football line moving. As well, throw in some fundamentals such as block shedding as they perform their specific footwork drills where along the way they enagage and disengage a blocker all the while mainatining a low stance and keeping their feet moving. These drills also help with their conditioning. Emphasize snap explosion whereby they get out of their stance fast and agressive.


Defensive Linemen the Neglected Group

One of the most neglected positions in youth football is the defensive lineman. A lot of times we get so busy sorting out the offensive line that we neglect the defensive linemen. We basically set them up as blocking dummmies opposite the o-linemen and as we practice offensive line fundamentals they are told to line up here or line up there and come hard. As a result these players become lost in the shuffle and we wonder on game day why we cannot get a stop on defence.

Usually these players are perhaps slower and not as athletic as your fine tuned O-linemen. So how can we make them into ferocious ball attackers? Its simple my friend. You need to make a commitment to them the same as you do with your offensive linemen. As a lot of smaller programs have both of these groups together because of numbers , its important that all practice their defensive linemen fundamentals as much as offensive line. Everything from stance, footwork, snap explosion, engaging the blocker to block shedding, getting up field to the ball, tackling as well as system assignments should be covered. Another key would be teaching them how to read their blocks . By reading the block of the o-linemen the d-linemen can effectively determine what kind of play the offence is running and make an agressive read to the ball.

All in all, a good run stopping, sacking defensive line starts in practice and is worth the time of investment.