Today, I’m going to share with you a number of youth football defensive drills that are perfect for pass rush situations.
Draw and Screen Drill
We do this youth football defensive drill with the pop-up dummies. As you know, in planning practice it’s very hard in your team period to get many screens involved.
The coordinators need work on linebacker drops. Secondary coverages don’t get many screens we practice in this drill. We also hardly ever get any draws, so we do it in this drill.
What happens is, the linemen are going to get off and, naturally, if we had a full line, all of them would go at the same time. They’re going to approach me like a quarterback at seven yards’ depth, and I’m going to give them a draw call in which they would retrace their steps and go right back to the line of scrimmage, or I’ll point a screen to the right or to the left and see if they break in the proper direction and the proper pursuit angles.
Surprisingly enough, we need to coach pursuit angles in the NFL. Sometimes they break and they’re following each other, where one block would get them all. But this is the way we work the draw and screen drill.
You want your players to have great take-off, great movement and acceleration to the quarterback–you don’t want that to east up at all. Don’t let them ease up and slow up anticipating anything. When they hear the draw or feel the draw, they broke back to the line of scrimmage. We don’t really use the word retrace, we just get back to the line, try to restrict the running area for the quarterback.
It’s hard for us to make tackles on the draw. We can’t rush a passer and play the draw. We react to it. We try to squeeze the running area so the linebackers and safeties up near the line of scrimmage to make the tackle on the draw.
During the screen phrase, you want there to be a good pursuit angle by both the tackle inside and outside. The farther you are away from the ball that’s released on the screen, the deeper pursuit angle you have to take, which is a common pursuit angle that they’ve been taught since junior high school.
Running the Hoops Drill
During this youth football defensive drill, we’re going to use hoops, which have been in football for a while now.
The purpose of running the hoops is to get that feel of really sinking the inside hip, pointing the inside toe at the quarterback, dipping as low as we can possibly go, and maintaining our balance. This is what has to happen after we defeat a blocker on the rush to get the quarterback and get the sack.
To tie in with this, we’ve added a player in the middle who’s going to hold out his arms. He’s going to hold his arms out and we’re going to slap that arm down on the right, slap one down on the left, and the finality of it is when we get to the quarterback, we’re going to start working the strip drill.
Every rush drill that we do is full rush. We either strip or we tackle the quarterback. We don’t just want to run in there and hit him. We want to strip. We want to tackle. In this case, it’s going to be the strip. If you can get the sack, get the ball knocked out and get the strip, you’ve really helped your chances of winning.
After you do that a few times, then switch and do it from the other direction.
Naturally, your defensive lineman, the interior lineman that tackles the noses and those type people, need to do it both ways. If you’re a defensive end and all your lean is to your left or all your lean and all your sink and all your flexion is to your right, you may only want to do it in one manner.
What do you think your players will think about these youth football defensive drills? Share your thoughts below!
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