The 3 Building Blocks Every Defensive Lineman Needs

Some coaches believe that the game is won or lost in the trenches, and it’s easy to see why. With extra time in the pocket, or bigger running

Football Practice Plans


lanes, it can make your offense’s job quite a bit easier.

That is why the front four are so important to your defense, because if they can break down their blocks and get into the backfield, it will make your blitzes even more effective, or allow you to keep more men in coverage.


Getting a good jump on the ball all begins with stance. The defensive line will line up quite a bit different than their offensive counterparts, with quite bit more of their weight pushed forward.

They will still need to be able to push off to either the left or right, and maintain good balance.

Chute Starts

Football Drills

Chute Starts

A lot of players tend to stay a little too high in their stance, or straighten up as soon as they come out, not staying as tight and compact as would be ideal. One of my favourite drills for teaching players to stay low as they explode out, is what I call ‘chute starts’.

Have two players line up in the chutes, and have them explode out on a visual command – if you can find a green football, this will do wonders for their concentration and greatly increase their ability to judge any slight movement in the regular brown football.

If you don’t have access to chutes, there are plenty of ways to create a similar situation – a table for example is a great substitute.

Quick Hands

Once your players have got a handle on their stance and exploding out with their lower body, we need to teach them to get their hands up into the chest of the blocker, pushing them off balance, where they can then proceed to bullrush, spin, or rip through the lineman.

To begin, have players start off in a four point stance, with their hands and knees on the ground. On your command, they’ll explode off their hands, powerfully shoving the blocking sled directly in the middle of the pad with both hands.

After the hit, they should immediately return into their four point stance, waiting for your next signal. Remember, use a visual

football linemen workouts

Strike and Recoil

command, as using an auditory command will condition your players to react off the quarter backs voice instead of ball movement, leaving them susceptible to offsides.

Once your players are comfortable with this, put them in their regular 3-point stance, and run the same drill. And once that becomes easy, have one player line up in front of the sled, and have them explode out of their stance, hit the pad, and slide over to the next pad, until they’ve gotten through the entire sled.


If you have any questions at all, make sure to let me know in the comment section below! And don’t forget to check out the facebook page!

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