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The seven steps in drive blocking.

Teaching your down linemen to establish contact and drive the defenders out of the ball-carrier's path

The most critical factor in drive blocking is the lineman's ability to win that three-second encounter with his opponent at the point of contact.

It's thus incumbent upon the line coach to implant the steps that will put the down lineman into position to move the defender out of the ball-carrier's path.

At Coronado H.S., our highly successful running game is predicated in large part upon the seven fundamental steps (techniques) that our down linemen use in blocking the down defensive linemen or linebackers.

Once these fundamental techniques are understood, our linemen will be able to practice them on the field in season and off the field in off-season.

1 STANCE

This has to be checked every day in practice. We teach our down linemen to set up with their feet shoulder-width apart in a toe-to-instep stagger.

The one exception is our center. Since we want him to be able to move in either direction, we ask him to set his feet evenly with his knees flexed, heels raised one to one and a half inches off the ground, and his off-hand braced against the knee on the outside of the leg.

The back must be kept flat, with the tail slightly lower than the head, the neck fixed (stationary) and relaxed, and the eyes focused on the target.

Note: The shoulders and hips are squared, and the weight balanced slightly over the balls of the feet.

2 STEPS

When blocking a defender directly across from him, the lineman must take a short step with the inside foot, at the snap - enabling him to counter any inside penetration or adjust to a quick slanting defender.

As the blocker steps, he cocks his arms back into a punch position, ready to deliver a powerful blow.

Note: Whenever the defender is aligned either inside or outside the blocker, the blocker must take a short directional step with the near foot. All other techniques remain the same.

3 CONTACT POINT

The blocker must establish contact on his second step, which is a timing step, depending on the proximity of the down lineman.

If the defender plays close to the LOS, the blocker will have to take a slightly shorter first step.

The blocker establishes contact by driving his hands from the cocked position right into the defender's numbers. This is known as the FIT position.

4 LEVERAGE, THE KEY TO DRIVE BLOCKING

When firing out of a stance, our blockers must bring their chest off their thigh on the first step, to help achieve leverage at the contact point.

At contact, the blocker's back must be arched and the tail up. We don't want the blocker to roll his hips, as this will cause him to raise up and lose his leverage.

5 MOVEMENT

In order to maintain leverage at the contact point, the blocker must have his hands in the cocked position after the first step. That will put him into position to strike a blow to the numbers on the second step.

The blocker can then begin to move the opponent away from the ball-carrier with quick short steps.

6 TRACKING

We use this term when blocking a man in space - a linebacker who is off the LOS. All too often, a blocker will raise up, run four yards, and then try to drop back into leverage position.

We want the blocker to take short quick steps, with the knees bents and the arms cocked, ready to strike a blow upon reaching the defender.

7 FINISHING

This final area of drive blocking is overlooked at every level of the game. It comes into play only after the block is achieved and the defender is being moved.

The blocker must raise up and roll his hips to maintain contact and prevent the defender from pursuing.

SUMMARY

In blocking a down lineman or a linebacker, the offensive lineman must take a step that will allow him to adjust to a quick slanting defender, take a second step to the contact point, use the hands to maintain proper leverage, and, finally, maintain contact to prevent the defender from pursing the ball-carrier.
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Copyright 1996, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Stancato, Perry F.
Publication:Coach and Athletic Director
Date:Oct 1, 1996
Words:704
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