Linebacker is the most crucial position in youth football, and in football, its defense is only as good as its linebackers. They should be quick, play fast, react fast, and should have a desire to hustle to the ball carrier every single day. Mastering the art of tackling and blocking destruction must be essential to work every day on. Besides, they have to deal with offensive linemen and lead blockers regularly.
One of the Important Skills of the Linebacker 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.
In a normal defensive formation, defensive backs are locked in the pass coverage. In contrast, the secondary’s defensive line holds their ground on blockers, so linebackers often make the tackle on a given play, and they hardly get the credit for it.
Linebackers line up just behind the defensive line; they must read plays and respond quickly as one mistake can lead up to making them out of position for the tackle. They help the defense and communicate to adjust the team depending on what the offense is trying to achieve.
We will share different youth linebacker workout plans and best linebacker drills to help become the better versions of what you are currently in today’s blog.
Youth Linebacker Drills & Training Workouts
Working on core and legs is the main focus for any youth linebacker, which helps bring strength in the lower body, hips, speed and allows him to perform a 40-yard dash in a snap of seconds.
Today most successful players in youth football are getting bigger, faster, and quicker than before. But you may be surprised by knowing how these players spend their time on their core exercises.
When players hit the gym, they are no longer focused on building pounds of muscles during their off-season workout; instead, their focus has shifted from building muscles to football athleticism and enhanced speed during football workouts.
Linebacker requires sheer speed and raw collisions. It demands explosiveness, cutting ability, and agility to quickly transition between acceleration and deceleration.
The squat jump is again a prevalent classic strength-building move for linebackers, and you are probably maxing out in your team’s weight room every week, but this is a little different than what you often do during your workout session. This variation of using the only bodyweight helps you build your quads, glutes, and back; along with this, it increases the vertical jumping capabilities, increasing muscle stamina that will give you an advantage over other players while making the tackle. If you want to challenge yourself more, you can include burpee with the squat jump for a more intense workout.
Single-Leg Deadlift with Cable Row.
Single leg Romanian deadlift is a complete functional exercise that can be used for strength and conditioning building and rehabilitation—resulting in fantastic posterior chain recruitment, which is very important for preventing injuries and overall linebacker performance working on single-leg stability.
It involves an emphasis on hinging around the hips while maintaining a slight movement around the knees and experiencing the feel of stretch in the hamstring.
The deadlift starts in a standing position and begins with lowering eccentric motion. Bring your left hand into the rowing cable, which means you will begin with your right leg as your supporting leg. Keep your head up and back straight, and slowly bend forward by looking straight ahead.
Single leg deadlift with cable row helps build the lower body and targets more into hamstring, glutes, and abs, resulting from translating best for what it needs for a linebacker to dominate on the field.
Dumbbell Flat Bench Press.
Using a dumbbell flat bench press allows a more excellent range of motion than using a barbell, and this means you can work more on your pec muscles and your triceps.
Opting for dumbbells also trains each side in isolation, so you can make sure one arm is just as strong as the other.
Lie back on a bench holding a dumbbell in each hand beside your shoulders, as shown in the picture. Your palm should be facing your feet while holding the dumbbells in the starting position.
Press the weight above your chest by extending your elbows until your arms are straight, slowly bringing back the value down, and continuing with multiple reps. Dumbbell flat bench press targets the anterior and lateral heads of the deltoid and pecs, and triceps. It helps the linebacker with pushing abilities, such as when he wants to make his way past the offensive line.
Superset the exercise with dumbbells rows to get a full upper body workout.
Drills for Youth Football Linebacker.
Having the right stance is one of the most crucial things in Youth Football; if a player doesn’t have the proper stance, he has already lost the battle, and it usually is tough to come back from this.
One of the benefits of being in a lowered position than a standing position is, you get to see a wide range of players, side to side, as well as into the backfield in an upright position. This allows defensive ends to maneuver over a slower offensive tackle to get the ball faster.
Having the right stance for linebackers helps take away any extra movements that prevent them from moving faster and concentrate better on the field.
Weave and Tackle Drill.
Weave and tackle drill is one of the most crucial exercises for linebackers of all time. Before the linebacker gets to the ball carrier, he must navigate through many blockers first, and this drill is worked and performed to get better in this specific skill, tackle the blockers through the weave, and push it by holding it towards the stomach.
Motive Behind the Drill: The reason behind Weave and Tackle drill is to build strength and agility into the youth linebackers and gain agility work by incorporating a tackle technique.
Set up: For setting up, you need to place five cones in a zig-zag manner to make the player move accordingly, with having around five yards of space between each cone. And set up the tackling dummy at the end of zig-zag cones.
Procedure to do the Drill: With the command of the coach, begin with your knees slightly bent, and the player should sprint through the zig-zag cones and attack the dummy offense in a manner where your head remains towards the sky, chest straight, and eyes forward and hand being still, pushing the offensive player through your stiffed hand and make a lateral cut and continue running downhill.
Being low, try to tackle the player by finishing the overall drill and complete it with six reps.
Track and Tackle Drill.
Track and tackle drill became prevalent around 2014 when the Seattle Seahawks head football coach released his entire tackle catalog, including the one Track and tackle.
Now it’s hard to find a program without the use to track and tackle for linebackers. The drill’s main motto is to limit his options and close space into the ball carrier.
Once the basics are Mastered, there are four significant scenarios that defenders need to rep in preparation like on one track, outside-in tracking, partner tracks, and more.
Motive Behind the Drill: Major reason behind the track and tackle drill is to limit the offensive line to limit his options and tight space into the ball carrier. Where tacklers need to identify the target and leverage and decide the proper angle and point of contact before the attack.
Set up: Set of this drill requires one player with a dummy running in the same direction as the player, the player with the dummy should line up around six to seven yards from the tackler, where he can change the speed and acceleration, and the linebacker has to decide and tackle the dummy player accurately.
Procedure to do the Drill: The linebacker has to track the dummy player running in the same direction, having different directions and speed until he is into the position to attack and make a tackle.
Once the dummy starts moving while keeping your shoulders and hips straight, track the dummy and decide where it will be at the time of tackle, not in the current position, and move in a diagonal position.
Once you’ve decided to make a tackle, fire your arms, place your lead foot in front of the ball while making contact with your shoulder.
These are the top drills and workout plans for youth linebackers that better tackle your tackle skills and develop overall conditioning and increase speed and agility. Making you change directions and generate snap acceleration when required much hassle, resulting in reduced injury and better gameplay.