Defensive Line Drills

8 Defensive Line Drills Every Youth Football Needs

Practicing Defensive line Drills always appears to be tedious. But, Greatest of all football athletes who have trained and given time to practice developing defensive line techniques, know the importance of these defensive line drills in the game, for which we get to see the results while they play on the Field.

The football team’s defensive line is made of the most significant and most vital players in the defensive team. While you prepare for defensive line drills, you should have a certain mentality as you practice the routine. And whenever you see defensive line players performing outstandingly in Youth football matches, you see how well they performed, but you never see the endless hours of hustle and practice they give to refine the techniques they have thrived on. And that’s where coaching defensive lines come into existence.

One of the Important Skills of the Defensive line is the need for quickness and acceleration. Most of the breakaways in Youth Football rely on bursts of speed that is gained, which happens in a sudden snap of moment, and for that few seconds of acceleration gained, you have to give hours of practice. 

Youth Football Defensive Line Drills

Check below, 8 defensive line drills to improve your play!

#1 Karate Training.

Fighting with your hands or Karate training is a discipline that has become very popular in football defensive line drills these days. One of the skills which all linemen must learn is hand fighting.

One of the reasons this works ideally with high school football is because hand fighting doesn’t require pads, and since high school football doesn’t allow pads, this becomes very convenient for spring workouts.

  • Motive Behind the Drill: To teach defensive players how to control offensive lineman through hand fight.
  • Set up: Two players of similar size and strength stand across each other at an arm’s length. 
  • Procedure to do the Drill: Among the two players, designate one on the defensive and another on the offensive side. The offensive player repeatedly tries to strike the defensive player in his chest with his hands, and the defensive player should try to defend and put his hands away. This drill’s main motive is to save the defenders’ chest and knock the offensive player’s hands.

#2 Bad Ball Drill.

There are many reasons players drop the ball in football, and that is in many ways because of the lousy coaching defensive line, and there is no constructive criticism for such mistakes in a competitive game.

Some of the common problems are:

Quarterback young players don’t usually put the ball the way it has to be, and here the receivers should learn how to adjust the poorly thrown balls, which usually comes with continuous practice and drills.

Not focusing on a ball is another problem that we see many times in the game; coaching the defensive line for this problem works differently, like “taking a picture of the ball” before it is caught or marking the ball “X,” etc.

  • Motive Behind this defensive line Drill: To work on the player’s practice to not miss the ball.
  • Set up: you will need a bunch of balls and make the receivers form a single line.
  • Procedure to do the Drill: As coach orders, the player will run towards the tackling dummy, and as the player reaches the dummy, he starts to chop the dummy’s feet; the player then will complete the drill by running towards the finishing line.

#3 Breaking Double team blocks.

The double breaking team is also called the power back. Two types of double team blocks can occur first vertical based double team and second horizontal-based combination block.

If the defender realizes too late regarding the double block, you should take both linemen to the ground, creating a pile which eliminates the two blockers.

  • Motive Behind the Drill: This Drill’s motive is to learn good movement and chipping of the line-backer or learn how to split the block.
  • Set up: Set up for this is simple; you need three players, and two should be offensive linemen, and one should defend.
  • Procedure to do this defensive line Drill: Two offensive linemen try to block a single defender by creating a wall. Firstly, the defender has to split both offensive players; the defenders need to be quick and by diving leg between two players while staying as low as possible to squeeze both the defender between the two players’ hips.

#4 Six Point Explosion Drill.

A six-point explosive defensive line drill helps linemen stretch its body and attack the offensive linemen in a snap of time; the more attentive you become in this coaching defensive line, the better you perform in the game.

  • Motive Behind the Drill: The purpose of the Six-point explosion drill is to teach linemen defense to explosively open their hips on the ball’s snap while simultaneously throwing their hands to gain separation from a blocker drill.
  • Set up: Players are positioned in a way where their hand’s knees and toes touch the ground, and they face a dummy wall to attack.
  • Procedure to do the Drill: On the whistle of the coach, or the movement of the ball, players are to explode towards the dummy wall by rolling their hips and firing arms as to attack the offensive linemen. The player should stretch its body to the limit where it should land in its stomach or chest.

#5 Impact Ball partner block.

  • Motive Behind the Drill: Defensive line, Impact ball partner block is to have two defensive linemen work cut blocks against each other using the impact ball or Swiss ball.
  • Set up: Place two defensive lines approximately 3 yards apart with one impact or Swiss ball between them. 
  • Procedure to do the Drill: To start the impact ball partner block drill, player one will aggressively roll the ball to player two, who will defeat the cut block before rolling it back to his partner.

The defensive line should keep a great bender with low hips and low pad level to defeat the cut block, as the player maintains the posture they will shuffle down the line rolling the ball back and forth to each other, each player must have their eyes and hands to find the ball accurately to stop its forward charge and, defeat the cut block, for coaching defensive linemen, roll the ball very aggressively towards each other simulating the explosive amount of offensive linemen trying to get to the legs 

#6 Push-Pull Rip Drill.

  • Motive Behind this defensive line Drill: The Push-pull drill allows the defender to penetrate the scrimmage line and make the tackle, using push-pull and rip drill.
  • Set up: You need two players facing each other, one defensive lineman and another offensive blocker.
  • Procedure to do the Drill: While two players face each other, defensive linemen push the player and attack him, making V shape of hands and pulls the blocker using the Push-pull technique. In the Push-Pull method, one hand is used to push and pull it by twisting the player’s body. Then the player uses a rip move by aggressively ripping the inside arm in a way that it tackles the blocker, and this moves off the balance of the offensive blocker away from the defensive line.

#7 Club Rip Drill

  • Motive Behind the Drill: Club rip drill is a swift move drill where you rip the Offensive Block while flipping your hip and leveraging your body and club the player like a boxer.
  • Set up: Two players stand facing each other, or you can use a dummy wall in the place of offensive linemen by keeping 2 to 3 yards of distance in between.
  • Procedure to do the Drill: While defensive and offensive players face each other, the Defensive player tries to flip around the other player; on the snap of the ball, the defender fires up and uses the club move to rip and tackle the blocker like a boxer.

Club rip teaches a player a companion rush move for push-pull rip discussed above; it makes the player quick and tackles the blocker making his feet move and turns his body to get off quickly.

A well-performed Club rip will break down the blocker’s body angle, to allow the defensive line to rush to the Quarterback.

#8 Stick Drill

  • Motive Behind the Drill: Stick drill teaches defensive linemen to stunt one gap to the inside.
  • Set up:  Defensive player facing a dummy wall or another player blocking.
  • Procedure to do the Drill: Place to step over the bag one yard apart, to represent two adjacent offensive linemen have a coach with a hand shield stand over top of the first bag defensive linemen, align in an outside shade of a coach in the first bag.

Using a flat step, the defensive player crosses the blocker’s face, keeps pad level low, and uses the rip technique to beat the blocker into the adjacent gap, get vertical and attack the gap to create a new line scrimmage. 

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