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What you need: 1 partner/coach
This is a simple linebacker drill that emphasizes proper stance and technique when getting started. The player will start down in their proper defensive stance with their knees bent and head up. The partner/coach who is standing in front of the linebacker will point to the left or right and then the linebacker will take a 6-inch step to the direction the coach points. Learning the short step in this drill shows the defender reading the offensive player and making the correct step in the direction they are headed.
Hitting on the Rise Drill
What you need: tackling dummies
Hearing the phrase “hitting on the rise” should be normal for youth defensive players when learning how to tackle. When coaches say this, it means the defensive player making the tackle should make it going up and through the opponent. This gives the tackler more power and makes it more difficult for the offensive player to break the tackle. Practicing this drill is beneficial for learning how to tackle properly while focusing on the idea of “hitting on the rise”.
It begins with the player down with their front knee up, hands should be down by the sides ready to pop up, and eyes and chest should be upright. When the coach blows the whistle, the player should explode up with their hands and hips into the dummy. While keeping their eyes and chest facing up, the tackler should step forward with their back leg and drive with their feet, pushing through with the hips. The tackler should carry the dummy forward 2-5 yards before dropping it back down.
Score Tackling Drill
What you need: 5 obstacle bags, ball-carriers, defenders
The following drill is helpful in teaching young linebackers proper movement and direction changes before making a tackle. The drill is designed to show a linebacker stopping the ball-carrier from breaking through a hole and gaining yards.
The 5 obstacle bags should be on the ground, parallel to each other, and all two yards apart. The offensive player starts on one side of the middle bag and the defender will be on the other side. The offensive player will start by running from end-to-end between the outside bags, with the defender copying the movements from the other side of the bags. While moving past the bags, the offensive player will pick one of the openings between the bags and try to run through the gap. The defender will then try to react to the offensive player by meeting him in the opening between the bags, and making a tackle. The defender must keep their feet moving to square up to the opponent before making the tackle and forcing the runner back. The defender does not need to finish the tackle but instead just wrap up the offensive player and drive them back.
Shed and Tackle Drill
What you need: 2 partners, blocking shield, tackle dummy
One partner with the blocking shield stands in the middle of the drill. A player then stands five yards out in front of him. The tackle dummy is set up five yards behind the partner with the blocking shield in the middle. When the whistle blows, the player should start tracking the dummy. Once the player is within two yards of the partner with the blocking shield, they should throw out the shield which the player must knock down to avoid the block. After dodging the first block, the player needs to find the dummy and run to where it will be. Once the player is close enough to the moving dummy, they should place their lead foot in front of the dummy and drive with their feet to make the tackle.
Joshua Perry is Apex Sports’ linebacker coach. Joshua teaches linebackers how to begin the play in the right stance, proper tackling form, how to read the play, moves to get to the quarterback, and so much more. If you want to be coached by a NFL and National Champion Linebacker, click the link below.Go to Joshua course
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