Today, we’re going to go over a variety of linebacker drills focusing on developing tackling skills (which is an important skill for every linebacker!).
With the form-fitted tackle, we want to approach the ball carrier in a good hitting position, so we’re going to put the linebacker in the ended position as if he has made contact with the ball carrier.
The ball carrier should simply hold on to the ball, and the linebacker wants to get fitted. He’s going to put his head pretty much on the football. He wants to have his neck bulled and his eyes open, looking at the target.
He’s going to start out with his hands right in the area just below his rear end. Now from that position, when you (the coach) give the command “go,” he will accelerate his feet, bring his head up, bring his hands up ,and drive him into the mat.
We use a mat with a bag in front of it for two reasons. One, to protect the ball carrier. Secondly, to present a goal for the defensive player. He must drive him back into that mat. Every time we make contact with the ball carrier, we’re working at driving him back five yards and getting him on his back.
Initiated Form Tackle Drill
In the next linebacker drill, the ball carrier will initiate the drill starting from the area of the mat. When he’s ready, he will start and go forward.
Now the defensive man must approach him in a good hitting position–not wind up, not waste motion, neck bulled, head and eyes up. On contact, his head is going to come up; he’ll accelerate his feet and drive him back into the mat.
Even though we try to move our feet to always get in front of the ball carrier, there are circumstances that occur where we are approaching a ball carrier at an angle. When we do that, it’s very important that we get our head in front of the ball carrier.
Our neck is bulled; immediately on contact, I bring my head and I try to look at the ball carrier. I accelerate my feet. I arch my back and I throw my head up. And I’m going to take him back into the mat.
Veer Bag Tackle
The next linebacker drill we do is called the veer bag tackle. The idea is to emphasize that we always want to get in front of ball carriers. We don’t want to be in a position where we’re making tackles at angles if we can avoid that.
The ball carrier will initiate the drill by taking a step. As he takes that step, the linebacker will slide laterally and then move in, attack the ball carrier, and make the tackle, accelerating his feet, and take him five yards back.
Score Tackling Drill
To further emphasize getting in front of ball carriers and attacking them square, we do the score tackling drill.
The offensive man will initiate the drill from behind four bags. He will start in the middle of those bags. I give him a break; on “go,” he will start to move laterally. The defensive man will mirror him by sliding or moving laterally, whatever is necessary.
Now when I say “score,” the offensive man will come up the alley in which he’s located. The linebacker must move his feet to get in front of the offensive man before he attacks the ball carrier and takes him back.
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