We all know the success of offense depends entirely on the abilities of offensive line blocking skills. Blocking drills were always an essential part of football; keeping that in mind, we also understand coaching the offensive line correctly is also crucial in youth football. And this is because, when it comes to coaching Offensive line techniques, it’s a unique unit within a team, where the rest of the offense relies on, in order to do their job. The offensive line should work together and trust each other on each play of every game. This overall makes it very challenging for coaching the offensive line.
Also, there are always two categories of debate occurring in youth football regarding coaching the offensive line. First, those who believe shoulder progression blocking should be taught to youth football, and second those who believe hand blocking is the superior alternative. And deciding which should be taught or which is better for youth football was always an issue among coaches to decide.
Teaching the hybrid version is the best way to prepare youth football players for upcoming competitions. With this, players will have basic knowledge of the aspect of each approach.
You’ll notice many different kinds of offensive line drills and blocks drills like Angle block, hook block, drive block, etc. The only thing which makes offensive line block the better defense is not how many different blocks your team uses, but instead, it’s about how well they execute each step of every block.
For example, if you have not mastered the drive block, you shouldn’t move on to cross block or down block, be patient with your practice, try to take one single step at a time.
The football game is won on the line of scrimmage; if you can control the line of scrimmage, you will own the match.
Before we start with the offensive line drills, let’s see the fundamentals that every offensive line must know.
I cannot overstate the importance of proper stance. Depending on your first footwork and the ability to make the first contact with the defenders, your explosiveness generation will be affected.
- Get off.
Get off is the first step offensive linemen take right after the snap, to put himself in a position where he can make a block.
- Strike (Second step of the opposite foot)
With that said, your offensive line needs to commit intense practice; Each individual must use their skills to execute the assignments of the given day, even if four do their job and one fails, disaster is imminent. You should be doing a variety of different run blocking drills on each practice.
Here in this blog, I will talk about the best offensive line blocking drills for Youth football.
#1 Run blocking Drills.
This drill should be done regularly for offensive line training; run blocking is a one on one complete drill for defense. A perfect run block begins with a proper stance, good posture, snap response, and desire to finish, and overall good run block should include all these skills.
If your offensive linemen don’t play with proper technique, they will not block defenders, resulting in impacting the game. As a coach, you should instill in players’ mindset that they must finish their block; it’s all about the skills and technique.
When teaching runs blocking, make sure your linemen fire out, engage with their hands inside, sink their hips, and have a broad base, choppy steps similar to as you have seen in the video.
- Motive Behind the Drill: The reason for the run blocking drill is to improve the offensive defense linemen by teaching players proper techniques and skills to block the defender.
- Set up: Place two players face to face in a defensive position, and by order of the coach, offensive linemen would try to complete the drill while the defender will try to block.
- Procedure to do the Drill: By order of coach, explode towards the target, by shooting your hands inside and thumbs up, keep your elbow inside, have a positive attitude; the offensive line is all about perspective, be physical and finish the block.
#2 Pass Blocking.
Set and punch pass blocking is a perfect offensive line drill for youth football; players can pass blocking during their offseason. A successful pass blocking is a combination of balance and body control, which helps the quarterback get more time. It will teach offensive linemen to set and deliver a punch in a way that will slow down and stun the rushing defender. Many times, creating a block for even six seconds can create a long offensive gain.
- Motive Behind the Drill: The motive of pass blocking is to give the quarterback as much time as possible to judge and give a good throw.
- Set up: Align three players with exaggerated splits on the line in a standard formation, place defensive players holding hand shields across from each offensive player.
- Procedure to do the Drill: As everyone is lined up for the drill, the offensive linemen will deliver a punch by lowering its body and taking its elbows inside. The rushing defender slows down, resulting in giving time for the quarterback. During the footwork, snap the upper body to pass the blocking posture, find the target with your eyes, deliver a powerful strike to the bag, tight elbows in, thumbs up, and finish the drill.
#3 Offensive linemen Agility Drills
Agility and speed are required in all player’s positions, whether it is a quarterback or offensive linemen. Agility drills help in sudden explosiveness, which helps in getting better results overall conditioning.
Agility drills generate power and force them to fire out and finish.
There are many offensive linemen agility drills that helps in developing speed and quickness like:
Low bags and agility drills
20 Yard shuttle run, etc
- Motive Behind the Drill: To gain more speed and agility, that helps in quick body movement and explosiveness.
- Set up: Set up for Agility drills depends on the drill you are doing; you can watch the video or look at our previous blog on speed and agility to get more details.
#4 Down Blocking Drill
This is an excellent drill that will teach youth football offensive linemen about executing a successful down block. This drill will lead the offensive linemen to take the proper leverage step, get into a broad base, and finish the block.
The main advantage for youth football players with this drill is, this doesn’t require pads, although it can be done with or without pads, you can decide depending on your requirement.
- Motive Behind the Drill: The reason for the down block drill is to challenge the linemen to execute all phases of the down block.
- Set up: Coach holding a dummy and the player performing the down block.
- Procedure to do the Drill: The linemen should start the down block with a 45-degree angle foot outside. He must pick and point his foot at the initial attack point of the defender’s alignment. It may vary from one player to the next depending on his alignment preference but will be very close to a 45-degree angle. The linemen will execute a powerful second step blow delivery; he must focus on keeping the hands in tight and punching simultaneously to the second step, which should be the same as the first step. The linemen should fit and drive the defender, removing him and widening the run gap. As he drives the defender, the linemen should broaden its base, broadening the base would create a low position and create leverage and movement in the defender. Working from low to high will raise the defender’s hips and take the leverage he is fighting for.
#5 Offensive line Double team drill.
- Motive Behind the Drill: The double team drill’s motive is to teach offensive linemen the double team block when defensive linemen use the turn sideways and get the skinny technique.
- Set up: Place two offensive linemen foot to foot and hip to hip as if they have already taken the first on the block. Align a defensive line sideways with one shoulder in the crevice between both offensive players; this simulates the body posture taught to defensive linemen to defeat the double team.
- Procedure to do the Drill: As the coach commands, both players will stick to hips, extend the arms and work the feet to get upfield moving on a double team block. As players get movement in the defensive player turns and wiggles, players must work extremely hard to stay hip to hip, shoulder to shoulder and generate the upward lift and backward movement needed for a successful double team block
Finally, Instruct your players to avoid grabbing defender’s jerseys or shoulder pads. A legal block requires a player to prevent grappling or to pull on a uniform at any point. An excellent way to reinforce good blocking habits is to make habitual offenders run laps for each penalty.