Football coaches teach their quarterbacks to take a short
6" step with the hand-off side foot. This keeps the quarterback from pulling
away from the center before the snap has actually been completed.
Quarterbacks are team leaders who always skillfully move the team up the
field, confidently controls the exchange from center, cleanly offers the
ball to the Running Backs, demonstrates consistent throwing mechanics,
sets up to throw with their feet directly under their hips, throws to a
spot on the field--not to a receiver, and readily distinguishes between
Man-To-Man and Zone Defenses.
The goal in the Quarterback "Stance" is comfort.
Head - the head is straight up... Eyes -
focused straight ahead... Shoulders - slightly in front of the hips...
Arms - extended forward under the center's backside... Hand - placed on
top of each other with the palms in, throwing hand on top, fingers spread
with the middle finger placed on the center's pant seam. Pressing the hands
into the center's backside is the signal the Quarterback is comfortable
and ready for the exchange... Back - arched... Waist - slightly bent...
Knees - comfortably flexed to the point that the ball can easily be exchanged
with the center. In practice without a center, use a 45 degree bend...
Feet - shoulder width apart, toes pointing straight ahead.
Drills for a Quarterback include drills designed
to improve hand to eye coordination and ball handling. Everything
from dropping the football then catching it in midair to hitting a fixed
object from predetermined distances are effective. Drills to strengthen
the fingers, hands, and wrists are as important as arm strength.
Football coaches teach their running back stances so the shoulders are
even with the knees. This keeps the running back from leaning forward and
tipping a running play to the defense. Running Backs are explosive
players who always look for holes in the defense, give a distinct pocket
for the hand off, know how to avoid tacklers, blocks well on passing plays,
and catch all passes thrown in their direction with their hands.
COMPLETING THE EXCHANGE
The player makes a "pocket" with the arms to receive the ball... Top Half
of the "Pocket."
Inside Elbow - even with the shoulders... Forearm - horizontal with
the ground... Inside Hand - palm down ready to accept the point of the
ball... Bottom Half of the "Pocket." Outside Elbow -
straight down from the shoulder... Forearm - horizontal across the
midsection... Outside Hand -
slightly bent with the palm up ready to accept the other end of the
ball... Fingers - pointing toward
the quarterback. Receiving the Ball. Hands - both hands instantly
secure the ball upon contact... Eyes - focused on the hole where the play
goes and the defensive reactions to the play.
Football coaches teach their receivers to catch the ball at the numbers
with their thumbs and index fingers touching. The hands form a cone
enabling the receiver to catch a higher per cent of their passes.
Receivers are speedy players who always get off the line quickly, effectively
block the defense, move the defensive backs to a desired area, form
a pocket for catching the ball, and knows how to avoid and break tackles.
THE "SHOULDER CLUB" RELEASE
Feet - step in the direction of the release past the outside of the defender's
shoulder pads. When the
defender lines up opposite the back foot, the tight end takes two steps
to pass the defender's
shoulder pads... Forearm - touches the defender's arm slightly below
the top of the shoulder driving
the defender's arm down... Opposite Arm - swings over the defender's
shoulder... Elbow - drives
into the defender's back... Hips - the receiver drives their hips past
the defender's body.
All receivers regularly participate in tipped ball and
fumble recovery drills. Other drills include those designed to improve
foot speed, quickness, and speed. But by far the most important drill
for receivers is the most fundamental--ALL catches are to be made with
the hands, then the ball is brought into the torso and secured. Drills
encouraging receivers not to leave their feet are also high on my list.
I truly hate when when a player makes a thirty yard gain for the team,
then tackles himself by unnecessarily leaving his feet and falling to the
& Drills for Offensive Linemen
Football coaches want their offensive linemen to be aggressive, strong,
quick, and most of all smart. There are many blocking techniques
employed by offensive linemen. The most important keys for offensive
linemen are for them to work together as one cohesive unit, always aware
of each other's responsibilities. One of the many ways they do this
is through extensive communications.
There are three basic stances for offensive linemen,
the 2-point stance, the 3-point stance, and the 4-point stance. The
point stance has the lineman in a stance where the fingers are not
touching the ground. Neither are the player's hands to rest on the
knees as this is often an indication of fatigue. The hands should
be slightly extended in front of the body, palms down, fingers flexing,
elbows tight to the body, knees bent, and slightly bent over at the waist.
Weight should be centered on the whole of the foot or slightly shifted
toward the balls of the feet, but never on the heels. Feet are shoulder
width apart, toes directly ahead. Many coaches allow the offensive
line to use the two point stance in obvious passing situations. The
point stance continues from the two point stance. The player
bends over at the waist and places the three forward fingers of the strong
hand to the ground. The rear end drops parallel to the ground as
the knees bend. The head is up and looking straight ahead.
The strong side foot (the same as the hand) is one foot behind the other
foot with the ball of the foot touching the ground. The player drives
off with the up foot first. A good way to test the player's stance
is to quickly remove the hand from its anchor to the ground. If the
player falls forward, too much weight was supported on the hand.
A player should be able to drop his hand to the ground, and pick it back
up without obvious torso movement. In the four point stance
the player places the second hand to the ground as well. The weight
ratio between the hands and feet in the four point stance is 1-1.
This stance is often used by linemen in obvious running downs to keep the
line low and firing out at the opponent. It is also used by many
power running teams as they pass very infrequently. It is difficult
to pass block from the four point stance. A player may have a natural
affinity for a particular stance, or even have modified a stance to his
liking, and a coach should be sure to use the one best for each specific
There are ten basic types of block an offensive lineman
uses. There are three Golden Rules of Blocking. First, the
blocker must keep his head between the defender and the play, maintaining
proper position. Second, the feet never stop moving. And third,
blocks are maintained until the whistle.
The Drive Block calls for the blocker to
fire out low and hard on the defender hitting him squarely between the
numbers, pumping the legs vigorously and driving the defender from a specified
area. During the driving motion the open hands extend and the elbows
The Read Block calls for the blocker to make
contact with the defender in the middle of the torso and "read" the defender.
The idea is the defender will choose a shoulder to attempt to go around,
and the blocker then proceeds to assist the defender in that direction.
The Position Block has the blocker position
himself between the play and the defender. If the defender to be
blocked is already lined up in such a manner, this block might be referred
to as an Angle Block. If the defender has the superior angle
on the blocker, then the blocker will attempt to "Hook" the defender.
This is accomplished by making contact with and sliding the head to the
outside of the defender. The blocker turns his behind to the running
lane fully placing himself between the defender and the play. The
hands are extended.
The Double Team Block is when two blockers
block the same man usually to expose an area or isolate a defensive back
with a running back.
The Trap Block is when a blocker (usually
a Guard) pivots the foot furthest from the direction he is going, driving
of that foot and coming down the line of scrimmage in order to trap or
kick out a defender left unblocked for this very purpose. More times
than not the unblocked defender will penetrate into the back field making
the trap block both highly visible and effective.
The Cross Pull Block has the pulling blocker
coming from his own side of the line across the Center position to the
other side. The Pull Block occurs when the pulling player
pulls to the same side of the line he is on, going even wider toward the
The Seal Block occurs when a blocker's main
objective is to seal off defensive pursuit from one side of the line of
scrimmage to the other.
The Cross Block attempts to take advantage
or pre existing angles at the point of attack. Which blocker "goes
first" is determined by the running lane and defensive alignments and tendencies.
Good communication between the offensive linemen is a must in order to
properly execute a good cross block.
Here is a diagram of the most common blocking techniques.
Use a "Two Point Stance." When beginning with a "Three
Point Stance," the lineman pushes
up with the down hand to get into a "Two Point Stance" position. Feet
- take a small step
toward the center with the inside foot... Knees - knees flex to lower
the hips... Hips - parallel to the
line... Elbows - close to the body, bent... Hands - a few inches from
and even with the lineman's
numbers, thumbs touching, fingers point up, palms facing the defender...
Shoulders - parallel with the line. The offensive linemen "stiff
arm" the defenders with locked elbows and open hands. The offensive
linemen then recoil, and deliver another blow. This sequence is repeated
until the pass has been thrown. Offensive linemen do not block in
pass protection until a certain count, rather they maintain their blocks
for several reasons. The pocket is designed to puss the pass rush
to the outside edges of the pocket. For this reason, the outer edges
of the pocket are usually the first to break down. When and if the
quarterback feels pressure form the outside, he steps forward. When
the QB steps up, the linemen are given new angles to resume their pass
For short, quick passes, offensive linemen do not
recoil or step back. Instead they fire off aggressively hitting the
defender to the mid section. This "Fence Blocking Technique"
serves two purposes. First, it tends to keep the defender's hands
down so as not to allow the defender to reach out and bat down or tip a
passed ball. Second, it keeps the offensive linemen from stepping
back and getting in either the quarterback's way or the passing lane.
Drills for Offensive Linemen .
I support Doug Mallory's concept
that offensive linemen must understand the three phases of blocking:
the approach, contact, then follow through.
The approach begins with a good start. From a correct
stance, linemen should be drilled in shifting their weight distribution
from the back to the front foot. One should be able to displace an
offensive lineman's fingers from the ground without notice with the offensive
player not falling forward. A good offensive lineman comes off the
line of scrimmage low and mean. No upward movement (or raising) is
tolerated. Linemen fire out, not pop up. A low trajectory can
be perfected in practice through the use of drills. One such drill
has a coach hold a blocking hand dummy two or three feet out in front of
a lineman at or slightly above the upper level of the player's helmet.
The player then comes off the ball head below the dummy and makes full
scale contact with a defender.
Some players have a natural affinity for contact.
They just know how to explode through their opponent, springing from a
coiled stance. Regardless of size they seem to possess a natural
density that allows them to bring power with the punch. Unfortunately,
these players are not made by the barrel. Fortunately, that is not
necessary. Contact is very teachable. Keeping the head between
the defender and the direction of the play the offensive lineman approaches
his block at full speed never juking or faking steps. At the
final step before contact with the defender the blocker constricts his
closed hands and elbows tight into the torso and uncoils into the defender
extending open hands to the point of locking the elbows. The arms
and hands remain inside the opponents shoulders preferably to each outer
side of the defenders jersey numbers, thumbs in or down. At the point
of contact the feet never stop moving. The blocker leans into the
defender and pumps his legs driving the defender back.
Offensive linemen perform many different types of drills
utilizing the seven man sled. The sled teaches linemen to work together
as a unit and serves as a good assessment tool for player stance, trajectory
from the stance, and ability to drive an opponent from an area.