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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Football Blocking Footwork: Stance and Step

Offensive line footwork is the key to good blocking. An offensive lineman has to be able to move his feet in order to be an effective blocker regardless of the type of blocking scheme that you implement. If they cannot move their feet, they cannot block!

The problem in youth football is that we neglect basic fundamentals that are necessary for our players to be effective blockers. Then we try and implement a blocking scheme and they struggle with it because they cannot move effectively. A lot of times, at the youth football level, the coach will take the biggest and slowest kids and throw then on the line of scrimmage and expect them to be able to block because they are big kids. In some cases this works but overall, without good footwork, they are exposed by a swifter smaller defensive linemen or linebacker, become frustrated, and lose their confidence.

It all begins with a good stance. As a youth football coach you must make sure that your linemen have a good stance. Practice it patiently step by step. Have them set their feet, and then get in their stances; feet should be about shoulder width apart and slightly staggered. Check their head position, make sure its back. Now check their back, it should be nice and flat and their butts should be down with their front hand just slightly touching the ground for balance. A lot of times the youth football player will put too much weight on their fingers. As a result they are slow getting out of their stance. Make sure to coach them up to absorb their weight in their legs, like a coiled spring, and then on the snap of the football to use this coiled energy to explode out and into the defender. Once they have their stance down pat. Teach them first step out of the stance. The first step should be a short six inch "power step" followed by a second "engagement of defender" step. Make sure they don't stand straight up as they engage the defender and make sure they always move their feet. Repeat as many times as necessary until they get Stance and Step down pat.

Offensive linemen have to be able to move in order to be effective blockers. Footwork drills are just as important as blocking drills and must be done every practice. These footwork drills are usually done in the individual group work session of your practice plan and should be a series of agility footwork and change of direction type drills. Begin all footwork drills out of a stance so as to make the drill as effective as possible. Good footwork will compliment your blocking scheme, give the big kid confidence now that he can move and not be beat by the smaller guy and as a result effectively use his size to drive out the defender.


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