Michael A. Cieri via Coaches Choice Football Coaching Library
Objective: To develop the defensive lineman’s stance and get-off that allows for accelerating off the blocks, maintaining proper elevation, and gaining the leverage on the blocker by using his hands and feet to defeat the blocker
Equipment Needed: Yard lines, ball on a stick.
Description: Have two defensive linemen align on a yard line with one in a right-handed three-point stance and the other in a left-handed three-point stance. On the coach’s “set the feet” command, the defensive linemen’s front foot needs to be just over the yard line with the heel touching the upside of the line while the back foot’s toes should be touching the backside of the line (staggered stance).
This will ensure the toe-to-instep relationship of the stance. On the “drop down” command, the defensive linemen will position themselves in a squat (seated) position placing their elbows on their knees. The next command (“finish”) will direct the defensive linemen to extend the down hand in front of the player’s helmet while the off hand will be placed in the strike position.
On the visual key (ball on a stick), the defensive linemen will roll off their power angles and hips, push off the front foot, get the back foot moving forward, and get it on the ground quickly with leading with the hands. The defender should run for three yards before returning to the end of the opposite line.
• The coach should emphasize the basic components of sound and effective stance.
✓ When setting the feet, the toes need to be pointed forward and place under the player’s armpits.
✓ The up foot needs to be screwed in the ground ready for pushing off it to begin the get-off process.
✓ Placing the elbows on the knees, the defensive lineman allows for the seated squat position that creates the power angles at the hips,
knees, and ankles. The heels of the defensive lineman should be off the ground.
✓ When setting the down hand (arm on the side of the foot that is back), the defensive lineman must reach out the arm so that in falls on the ground in front of the facemask. The weight distribution should be on the down hand and front foot more than the back foot. The off hand in aligned off the body in a strike position 6 to 12 inches from the down hand.
• The coach should make sure that defensive lineman is using proper techniques when getting off on the ball.
✓ Hips first: The hips should be rolling forward as the defensive lineman pushes on the front foot to get across the line of scrimmage. This propels the hat and hands to lead the charge.
✓ Flat back: The defensive lineman must maintain a flat back posture upon accelerating forward. The defender’s eyes must be focused on the target straight ahead, and his head and shoulder level lower than his opponent’s. This allows the defensive linemen to win the battle of power and strength which equates to leverage.
✓ Power step: The back foot steps first with it just clearing the front foot maintaining its plane. This helps get the first step in the ground
quickly, which maintains leverage. If over striding occurred, the blocker has an advantage of power and strength over the defensive lineman. In addition, taking this short first step and getting it on the ground quickly helps the defensive lineman with reacting faster to lateral blocks that the offensive line uses mostly.
✓ Wedge thumbs: When coming out of the stance, the defensive lineman must lead with his hands. The thumbs should be up and touching each other, creating a triangle. The thumbs and hand are positioned directly under the facemask. Don’t have the defensive lineman brings his hand back first or begin a running motion. Don’t have the defensive lineman shoot his hands (striking the blow/locking out) until the target declares.
You can find out more about and purchase the eBook that this article is from at: 101 Winning Defensive Line Drills