The running game is absolutely key to any offense – it increases your time of possession, and is a safe efficient way of moving the ball
forward, not to mention it makes working on the goalline a whole lot easier.
And while everyone loves watching a shifty running back break down that last defender and stroll into the endzone, none of that is possible without solid run blocking by both your offensive line, receivers, and backs.
Today we are going to focus on the kinds of blocks your team will need to be able to pull off to have success running to the outside.
First we are going to look at the technique and footwork required to make what is called a reach block, forcing the defender inside and behind the play.
Your player has to execute what is called a half-step – it will allow them to slide to the outside shoulder of the defender without sparing too much time.
To perform a half step, pull your outside foot a couple inches out and back. Not so far that your off balance, just enough so that you can quickly transfer your weight off your inside foot so that you can bring it over to the outside as well.
Once you’ve brought your inside foot over, you should be in a low athletic stance, aiming your block at the defenders outside number, and preventing him from slipping past into the runner’s path.
Log Blocks & Kick Out Blocks
When a guard (or tackle) pulls around to the other side of the field, the first thing they should do is locate a target.
Yes it’s true, often by the time they get to that side of the field there may be a change in the play and another defender might be of higher priority, but it’s important to ‘pull with a purpose’ and know just exactly where you are running.
When they do arrive, and have a defender to block, there are two basic ways that the blocker can react, and that is with either a log block, or a kick out block.
The difference is that a kick out block pushes a player south of the line of the scrimmage and towards the side line, letting the runner split upfield.
In a log block, the blocker will hit, and pivot towards the inside of the field, pushing the defender behind the play, and opening the field up for a possible cutback for the running back.
While the footwork is important, it’s important to remember to establish good contact on the log
block and not focus too much on the feet and pivoting motion.
- Remind your players to get proper head and hand position – hands inside the shoulder pads, with their head on the chest of the defender
- Once they initiate the block, make sure they finish it properly as well, driving their hips forward and exploding through the defender
If you found this useful, check out this article on run blocking technique with loads of helpful information!