By Greg Patterson
Inside Linebackers Coach
Hueytown High School (AL)
The most essential thing we as coaches can do to help our players on the field is to give them the tools/techniques they need to be successful. Two of the most fundamental tools a defensive player needs are the ability to get off the ball and destroy blocks. We tell our guys all the time that we understand that a player may get blocked but it is unacceptable to stay blocked. Block destruction is a fundamental key to winning on defense.
Our catch phrase for block destruction is “Shock/Lock/Shed”.
As with most every aspect of this game, leverage is a fundamental key to success. We begin our teaching progression by teaching proper leverage for the position. Although we teach all of our players to keep low pad level (low hips) and head up (see what you are striking), there are slight variations from what a DL does vs what a corner does to defeat a block. Usually, the variations are strike point and the type of block they are trying to defeat. It is easy to lose focus on our player’s stance (feet) during these drills so we relate as many things as possible to how we are tackling.
We teach a good base with feet shoulder width apart, attack with near leg and near shoulder, head up, and eyes on target. We feel that this carry over in teaching principles from tackling to block destruction and vice versa helps our players perfect their technique.
Teaching Progression/Coaching Points
We simply use a wood board (1x6x14) to teach eye discipline and hand placement. When we begin the teaching progression, we like to use these boards instead of a hand shield to begin the teaching progression because it forces our players to keep their elbows tight and their thumbs up. The boards are easy to grab which helps us to emphasize our need to grab cloth to properly shed the blocker.
To study film of this drill, click on the video below: