youth football linebackerDuring this blog post, we’re going to talk about individual youth football drills that we use to develop the fundamentals and principles of play for our linebackers.

Proper Linebacker Stance

The first drill we’ll do will get your players into the proper stance. Here are some key points to remind your linebackers of with regards to stance:

  • Keep your feet shoulder-width apart
  • Your toes should be pointed straight ahead
  • Keep your weight on the balls of your feet
  • Bend your knees slightly

The easiest way to get into this stance is to put your hands on your knees like you’re playing centerfield in baseball.

Lateral Movement Drills

For this drill, first we’re going to start with a simple slide. If you analyze that slide, if I’m going to my right, I want to lean in the direction that I want to go, I bring my back foot first, my left foot, slide, and kick out my right.

Now the drill goes like this: first I’ll give the players the command “break,” and they will take their stance. On my movement, they will slide in the direction that I point. Following that, we want to end that drill with a full-speed acceleration of about five yards.

The next drill that we will do will be just continuing to slide in the same manner. Now it’s very important I give them break, and they take their stance. On my movement, they will slide.

When I stop them with my hand, they should maintain the same hitting position that they started. It is very important that they do not raise or lower themselves as they are moving laterally. To end the drill, once again, I’ll give them a signal and they’ll sprint full speed for five yards.

If sliding isn’t fast enough, we’ll do a lateral run drill, again emphasizing that we want to keep our shoulders square to the line of scrimmage.

So if I’m going to my right, I’m going to cross over, stay down in a good hitting position, swing my arms naturally, it’s left over, right out. Going the opposite way, it’s right over, left out, right over, left out. And I’m simply going as fast as I can, keeping my shoulders square to the line of scrimmage.

Now to combine these movements, we do a slide-lateral run drill. I give them break, and they take their stance. On my movement, they begin to slide. When I turn my wrist, now they will run laterally. When I stop them, they’ll stop. When I give them a particular signal, they will sprint full speed.

Give-a-Step Drill

Continuing with movement drills, it is very important that the linebacker learns to give with his feet. Whether he’s playing off a low block or moving laterally and somebody’s going to crack back on him.

With this youth football drill, I’m going to start, running laterally, and when I get to the bag, I’m going to throw my feet back behind me and finish with a lateral run.

Mirror Score Drill

The purpose of this drill is to teach your linebackers to move their feet. When we’re playing linebacker and we have to get in front of somebody, we can reach with our hands, and we have to move our feet to get in front of them.

In addition to that, we don’t want to ever get overextended. It’s very important that a linebacker never gets into an overextended position where his feet are too far out in front of him and he’s likely to fall or not be in a good body position to make a play. This drill emphasizes these two points.

We start out by putting a defensive player on one side of the line. We’ll have two bags on the ground that’ll be approximately seven yards apart. Now to start the drill, the offensive man will move right up near the line; he’s going to try to move back and forth between those two bags, staying on his side of the line.

To emphasize that we want to do this drill by moving our feet, we start out with the defensive player with his hands behind his back. So I’ll give the break command, both players get in a stance, and on command go, the offensive man will go back and forth between the bags; the linebacker will just slide and mirror him, trying to keep his nose right on his numbers, keeping him from getting across the line.

Now we’re going to move the offensive man back a distance of about five yards from the line. The defensive player can move right up on him and he can now use his hands. However, it is very important that he moves with his feet. He can jam him with his hands, but he wants to slide and jam him. Now the offensive player is going to try to fake him out and get across the line as many times as he can in a period of 10-15 seconds. Once he crosses the line, he immediately goes back to the starting point and tries to score again.

These drills are ideal for your youth football team’s linebackers. Agree that your linebackers will benefit from these drills? Be sure to share this post with your fellow coaches on Facebook!