Setup:

You’ll need five total players and three cones, as well as three blocking pads and a football.

Purpose:

To combine three separate skills into one drill – shedding a block, getting out into open space, and making the tackle.

Execution:

Three of the players will line up as the center, guard, and tackle of one side of an offensive line, each holding a blocking pad. There will be a cone just outside the foot of the tackle, with another about 3-5 yards further down the same line. The third and final cone will be just a couple of yards deeper than the widest cone, and the ball carrier will stand 5-7 yards directly behind the center. Your defender, the player running through the drill, will line up directly in front of the center. The defensive player is going to explode out of his stance, and pop each bag, shedding sideways as he does so. When the ball carrier sees the defender shed the guard’s block, he will begin running, following the line of the two cones set up in the backfield. Once the defender has shed the third block, he’ll shuffle over to the wide cone in stance, and then wrap up the ball carrier as he comes through the hole.

Coaching Tips:

Make sure the defender is really popping the o-line and not just going through the motions. A strong pop will move the o-lineman onto his heels, allowing the defender to slide over and disengage from the block. Also, the defender shouldn’t be looking to just lay the boom on the ball carrier as he comes up through the hole – this is a form tackling drill, where the focus is on wrapping up the defender with both arms and taking him down.

Tips for Younger Athletes:

  • Emphasize the importance of a strong, balanced stance before engaging with the blocker. Teach them to keep their feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent.
  • Instruct them on the correct hand placement and arm extension when engaging the blocker. They should aim to get their hands inside the blocker’s shoulders to control the block.
  • Encourage them to practice their footwork agility. Quick lateral movements are crucial for shedding blocks and adjusting to the ball carrier’s movements.

Tips for Older Athletes:

  • Focus on developing explosive power from the lower body. This power aids in delivering a more forceful initial pop against the blocker.
  • Teach them advanced techniques for shedding blocks, such as the rip, swim, or spin moves. These techniques can be more effective against seasoned blockers.
  • Work on the timing of shedding the block and immediately transitioning to pursue the ball carrier. This involves quick decision-making and immediate action to close the gap.