1.Backpedal, Shuffle, Plant, and Change of Direction Drill
This drill incorporates a mirror situation which your linebackers will mirror their movement back and forth by the coach. Remember finish all drills with a 5 yard hard sprint.
Change of direction drill is exactly like drill number eight, except the coach will give a command to change his direction. Coach should look for player’s ability to plant suddenly, while maintaining a good playing position. Player starts with a good tow point stance, proper stance should always be reinforced at this point.
Drill begins with player taking his freeze step, and then starts into a backpedal. Once reaching the end of the bag, he will sink his hips, and go into his shuffle.
Player should always keep his shoulders square, and his eyes on the coach. Once into the shuffle, player always maintains a great base with feet shoulder width apart, and arms pumping; never cross the feet over. On the plant, player will plant the foot to the direction of his movement and drive off, sprint as hard as possible, plant and shuffle. Finish drill by sprinting a hard five yards past the end of the bags.
I want to reference the use of plastic industrial barrels as coaching aids. 50-gallon plastic industrial drums can be picked up at most industrial sites, and can usually be obtained free by just asking. If you don’t have access to bags, the 50-gallon drums make a great substitute.
2. Stance and Starts With Freeze Step Drill
A proper linebacker stance puts your feet shoulder width apart with the feet pointing towards the goal line. The chin should be over the knees, eyes looking straight ahead on designated read key. In order to keep you linebackers from flying out of position, you
should teach the freeze step.
Freeze step is a read step prior to reacting to you keys. The first step a linebacker should take is by picking up and putting down the inside foot. Picking up and putting down the inside foot buys the linebacker the proper time in which to read proper flow of the ball.
Your linebacker stance should have what we call a “Z” in the knee. This drill should position a coach in front of the players, with the coach giving the linebacker a key in which to read. The read key by the coach cold show pass, run right, or run left. Look to see if linebacker is taking his freeze step.
The first foot movement is to pick-up and put down the inside foot (Freeze Step).
3. Stance and Drive With “W” Drill
Form a single file line, facing toward the coach. Player will start by taking a freeze step, and then sprinting at a 45-degree angle forward, then backpedal at a 45-degree angle. Always maintain eye contact with the coach, this simulates locating the runner. Change of direction should come off the plant of the backside foot, the foot away from the direction you are running in. Once the first player finishes, the next player begins. As your players master this drill, the next player can begin his run after the first players makes his change of direction.
4. Line Touch and Shoulder Square Progression Drill
Start on the goal line; freeze step and sprint to the five-yard line. Square shoulders facing the coach and then plant outside foot, push off with outside leg, and step with inside foot back towards the goal line. Concentrate on touching each line with the hand away from the coach, this will help in squaring the shoulders toward the coach. When running to your left, plant the left foot, and touch the line with the left hand on change of direction. When running to your right, always plant the right foot, and touch the line with the right hand on change of direction.
5. Four Corner Drill
The FIRST PHASE of the four-corner drill, is the straight-ahead sprint. Your linebacker starts by freeze stepping, and then sprints 10 yards. Once reaching the 10-yard cone, he then pivots around off his inside foot, which will put him facing the coach.
SECOND PHASE of the four corner is CKRIOKA; once your linebacker comes out of his pivot he will then step with one foot, crossover with the other, then step again and crossover behind. Keep shoulders square to the line of scrimmage while maintaining a “Z” in the knees, and keep eyes focused on the coach. Go as fast as you can, and stay low. Once reaching the second cone, you come out of your Karioka shuffle by pivoting, and go into backpedal.
THIRD PHASE is a BACKPEDAL, which requires your linebacker to begin backward movement with a good body lean, and chin in line with the knee. Make sure when backpedaling, you weight is distributed over the knees, and in line with the hips. Always keep arms pumping when backpedaling.
FOURTH PHASE of four corner is the SHUFFLE. Once reaching the third cone, pivot and keep shoulders square to the L.O.S. Shuffle for ten yards to the next cone by keeping feet shoulder width apart; never allow the feet to come together, or crossover. Keep the “Z” in the knees, and shoulders square to the L.O.S. while always maintaining eye contact with the coach. When you reach the fourth and final cone, turn and finish the drill with a hard five-yard sprint.
About the Author of this post:
Jerry Campbell has over 30 years of high school and college coaching experience. He has experience as a head coach, offensive coordinator, and various position coaches. He has written numerous football coaching articles in various publications, is the author of over 30 books on coaching football, and has produced 12 coaching video series. Additionally, he is a nationally sought after speaker on the coaching clinic circuit.