Coaching Football-Defense

Coaching Football Defense. There is an old saying “Defense Wins Championships”, it is certainly true. Having a great defense comes down to three components- (1) solid defensive line play (2) pursuit to the ball (3) sure tackling. If your defense does those three things well, you will be in great shape. Here are some quick coaching tips:

General Defense

Proper Form Tackling:

  1. Good-ready stance hitting position
  2. Keep the head up to avoid injury-always see what you are hitting
  3. Drive through ball carrier’s midsection with your shoulder pads- not your helmet
  4. Head has to be up- head placement needs to be across the body
  5. Sink your hips and sky your eyes (should look like a power cling exercise)
  6. Wrap up
  7. Grab cloth (jersey)
  8. Wide base– drive ball carrier to the ground- do not stop feet. Run through the ball carrier

Good form tackling is the most vital aspect of playing defense. Having the proper form when tackling will help deter injuries.

Tip – Coach your players on taking good angles to the ball, keeping their head up, sinking their hips, and running though the ball carrier. Remember, head across the ball carrier’s body.


Coaching Tips for Football Defense

Defensive Alignment

Defense all starts with the proper alignment to the offense. YOU CANNOT ALLOW THE OFFENSE TO OUTNUMBER OR OUT FLANK YOU ON ANY SIDE.  It is vital that any unbalanced offensive line is noticed so that the defense can align. It is all about numbers advantage. If they have 7 guys to the left; you better have 7 players to the defense’s right. Match numbers-mirror the offense.

Scouting the offense you are facing is very important. You can learn your opponent’s tendencies, formations, players, and play calling from the film. Knowing what is coming will allow you to practice against it during the practice week. Knowing how your opponent is going to attack you will help you prepare your kids for it.

Bend but don’t break. Do not give up the big play! Great defenses tackle well and do not give up big plays. Make the offense earn every single yard. It is hard for an offense to go 10+ plays without making a mistake. Make the offense go the field-good tackling, pursuit to the football and proper alignment are the foundations of a great youth football defense.

Defensive line

The game is won at the line of scrimmage. If you control the line of scrimmage you then control the game.

The defensive line is the most important aspect of defensive football.  To have a successful youth football defense it is important that your youth football defensive linemen play with great technique.

Coaching Points for Defensive Line:

  • Great stance-It all starts with a good defensive linemen stance-the fire off on ball movement is imperative.
  • Staying low and launching– The low man usually wins. Always make sure your D-linemen play with leverage. It is also important that your D-linemen jolt the offensive linemen.
  • Squeezing-This will prevent any vertical space, voided gaps and cut back alleys for running backs.
  • Get off the Blocks-defensive linemen must be able to get off blocks. As a defense we cannot allow the offense to block us. The rip and swim techniques are probably the best techniques for youth football.

Man to man vs. Zone Coverage

Man to man is the most commonly used pass coverage in youth football. Man to man coverage is easy to teach and works well in youth football. It is a little bit easier than playing zone coverage. But, play action, slants, and combination routes are man to man killers. It is hard for a linebacker when he reads run in the backfield to recover and cover a tight-end or slot player that go right out for a pass.

Check out this great defensive back drill:

With my team we play both man to man and zone coverage. When we play man to man coverage it is important that the defender plays with inside leverage, always take away the inside. When playing zone coverage have your defenders read linemen. Are the linemen sitting back in their stance? Are the splits tighter for easier pass protection? On the snap of the football are the offensive linemen not firing out? Those are the keys that zone coverage defenders must read.

Offense sells tickets, defenses win championships.


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