Non-Contact Football Drills: Circuit Basics

football practice

football practice drillIn this blog post, we’re going to cover some basic information regarding how to approach utilizing non-contact defensive football drills.

Non-contact drills for tackling and pursuit involve form tackling and circuits.  You can use them as everyday drills in order to reduce injury to players that tend to happen in the everyday bump and grind of football.

While a lot of people use circuits, not all of them use them appropriately.  These are some good tips for you coaches to get a little bit better at your tackling and not give up the big play.

The purpose of non-contact and low-impact drills is so that players can get used to tackling, playing without pads, and playing at full speed without all the impact. Good tackling has a lot more to do with technique than it does with toughness.

In full pads, there are a lot of players out there who will mistake a technique tackling drill for a toughness drill.  We need to keep their focus on the technique and discourage players to try to prove to the coach their teammates how tough they are. Finally, it creates an opportunity to teach tackling in off-season periods when pads may not be allowed for a lot of programs.

What Every Good Football Drill Needs

It’s important to discuss what all good drills need.

All good drills, first of all, need to be relevant to playing football.

Second, when you’re doing a drill, you need to be clear regarding the tempo of the drill.  Is it half-speed?  Is it three-quarters speed?  Are you walking through?

Next, you need to be consistent as to the language you’re using with your coaching points. The coaching points are key, and all the team’s coaches need to use the same language.

Next, the drill needs to be set up exactly the same each time. If it’s two yards, or two-yard cones, they need to be two yards every time.

Next, and finally, the most important point is the drills need to be demonstrated your first time through after any time off. Whether it’s a week, whether it’s just the summer. You think kids are going to come back in the spring and be able to pick up where they left off, but it simply does not happen this way.

How to Approach Teaching Non-Contact Football Drills

We’re going to now discuss how to teach these drills to the players so that they can have a low-impact session of tackling and pursuit.

Form tackling needs to be taught almost every day. If you go back to the five ten-minute periods of learning theory, form tackling is zero if any impact depending on how long you’ve been teaching it.

Circuits and stations are next. Depending on how many players you have, depending on how many coaches you have, you can set up stations where your players will get in small enough groups to get so many reps that tackling in a game is going to be 99% muscle memory.

Tackling circuits are going to involve a little bit more impact depending on your certain rules during your non-contact off-periods and your personal rules for how much contact you allow during a practice. If you set up the drills right, you can get in and out, not use a lot of practice time, and still get the reps you need to have good tackling eventually become muscle memory for your players.

Here are some last tips for you and your players:

  • Make sure you keep your language consistent.
  • Make sure your language is always positive. Don’t tell the kid what not to do, tell him what to do.
  • Remind your players that they need a narrow base when they come up to tackle. They close to about three yards and get in tackle position. They have to have a narrow base so that they can change directions. If the feet are too wide apart, your players can only take a small step in any direction.
  • Your players should always keep their hands holstered and their elbows close to their body.

These are just some basics to get you prepared for running through non-contact defensive football drills with your players. Do you follow these basics when it comes to going through drills with your players?

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