Like I’ve said before, learning the tackling fundamentals is paramount to linebacker success. And while in my last post, we focused on the ideal tackle and tackling situation, today we’re going to look at some drills and techniques that your players can use in specific in game situations.
Angled Form Tackling
When performing a normal form tackle, from head on, the instructions are pretty straightforward – no pun intended. But if your facing an even slightly slippery ball carrier, most times you’ll be coming in at some variation of the 45 degree angle. And while the principles are fairly similar, there are some important differences.
For this drill, setup a large mat on the ground, and have a ball carrier stand in front. Your defender will start with his knees bent, the left shoulder up against the ball carrier’s right hip, with his helmet on his belly button and his left hand on the back of the ball carriers right leg.
Now on your command, the linebacker will start to accelerate, driving with his legs as he swings around to grab the ball carrier’s left leg. The ball carriers first instinct will be to put his weight on his back left leg, so once they feel his momentum beginning to move backwards and they’re lined up with both shoulders, they should
pull up hard with their right hand followed quickly by the left, and drive the ball carrier down into the mat.
Goal Line Tackling
One of the most exciting and exhilarating feats a defense can pull off is the goal line stand. With 6 points on the line and such a small difference between a score and a stop, these are the kinds of situations that remind you – football is a game of inches.
Alot of the time when an offense is only a couple of inches away from the endzone, they’ll have their o-line collapse the trenches and have their running back dive up and over the top of the pile. And while you won’t see this situation happen a ton, it’s important that your linebackers understand what they need to do, and get some reps doing it.
You’ll have the same mat setup as before, with some slight adjustments. At the front of the mat, stack a couple tackling dummies so that there is a peak (representing the pile of linemen) for the linebacker to jump over. Have him lineup a couple of feet behind the mats – we want to simulate a game situation, so they should be about as far away from the mat as they would be from the line of scrimmage in a goal line situation.
Now on your command they’ll start running towards the line. You’ll have a tackling dummy in hand, and as soon as they plant to jump into the air, launch the tackling dummy at them. The linebacker should be using the same principles they’ve always used in tackling – create leverage and drive the ball carrier down tot he ground. Just here, they’ll have to learn how to do it in the air!
If your looking for more ways to improve your defense, make sure you go check out our entire arsenal of football linebacker drills – I guarantee you’ll learn something new!