leverage circuit drills

In today’s blog post, we are continuing to talk about the leverage circuit, and some fabulous non-contact leverage circuit drills to work on this important aspect of the game.

The key to any leverage circuit is reminding your players that you need to push running backs or any ball carriers to the outside. These leverage circuit drills will help reinforce this key component.

The leverage circuit needs to happen later in your practice and you don’t want to do the circuits back to back.


Angle Tackle

leverage circuit drill 1This is simply an angle tackle without the contact that we usually see in tackling circuits.


These cones are 10 by 10. You’re maintaining inside leverage, and your focus is on the near hip and near shoulder, and you are tapping the hip. You’re tapping the hip just to let the coach know that you were close enough to step on his foot or smell his breath. If you can’t tap the hip, then you’re not close enough to tackle, you are out of position. Tapping the hip also gets players used to not slowing down. We don’t want to teach kids to run up to a player and then stop. We want him to keep forward motion.


Be sure you don’t confuse your players with the freeze too often. You use this in the leverage circuit to remind them that in real life you don’t freeze during a football game when you get up to the ball carrier. You actually keep going. This trains their bodies and their eyes to run through, by tapping the hip.



leverage circuit drill 2

Now once your guys are getting it down and they’re feeling pretty good about their inside leverage, another circuit you’re going to run is a cutback.


You’re going to widen up the cones and you’re going to allow the players to cut back. Now the key coaching point here is this: as soon as the ball carrier cuts back, you need to move upfield. And always stay on that inside hip. You’ll get beat if you don’t focus on the inside leverage. If he pushed him out, he wouldn’t have been able to cut back. So focus on the hip and cut up.


As soon as the cutback happens, the player needs to go straight upfield. Now he’s on the run.


If you float, you can get around him by using a little shifty back. Now depending on how tough that guy is, he may make that play. But you don’t want to bet on it. Especially in a man-to-man situation.


The next guy though, if he’s focused on the near hip and he’s pushing him out, the cutback happens and he goes straight upfield. That’s a win for the defense.


Outside Leverage Drill

leverage circuit drill 3

This is an outside leverage drill. It is useful for locking up linemen and using hand play. The idea is to try to get out. Don’t get reached. You wrap up, move to one side, and you try to slap the hand up and get your arm under.


So there’s the part of the circuit where you’re slapping the hand up and getting under, and then there’s the part of the circuit where you can add a running back, and then you have two defenders and two offenders.



Star Drill

leverage circuit drill 4This is the star drill. In this drill, you touch the cone on the right, touch the cone on the left, and then touch the cone at the end. You want to be sure that you are always digging, with your hand on the ground.


So the player is going to get low, put their hand on the ground and steal the base.




Gap Drill

leverage circuit drill 5

This is gap drill. In this drill you want to put the bags on the ground, and you’re going to signal to the ball carrier which bag to run to. Remember that you are always tapping the hip



These youth football defensive drills are great for getting your players more comfortable with pursuit and tackling. If you’re excited to try out one (or more) of these drills, be sure to share this post with your fellow coaches and players!

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