Chase the Chicken youth football drill is a fun drill that gets players working on maintaining leverage, taking great pursuit angles and working together to corral a ball carrier. This simple drill is a great warm up drill that gets the players moving and working together at the start of practice.
Chase the Chicken Youth Football Drill
The setup of the drill is very simple. There is one chicken (normally a DB or another fast player) and three defensive players. The chicken is lined up in the middle and 10 yards away from the defensive players. On the coach’s whistle or command the Chicken is free to run anywhere from sideline to sideline in a space of 10 yards. While the Chicken is running wherever the goal of the defenders is to get all three of their hands on him at the same time. While it is a very simple drill to set up and learn it teaches many skills that players use on defense and special teams.
From a coaching perspective you should be focused on the defenders, the chicken is just there to make the drill work. The defenders start the drill with great leverage and they must maintain it to corral the chicken. As the chicken takes off running the defender who is on the side he is running must expand to keep the chicken on his inside. He should do this using the Inside In Front technique that we work on in our Special Teams drill time.
The defender opposite of the side the chicken runs has a very important and tricky job. He must work to shrink the area that the middle defender must cover while still maintaining leverage on the chicken. He needs to pursue the Chicken and close space but he has to stay in an athletic position in case the Chicken changes directions. If the Chicken changes directions and is able to get outside of the pursuit man the defenders are in trouble. This leaves the pursuing contain main with a difficult assignment, he must quickly shrink down the space the chicken can run while still maintaining leverage to stop the Chicken from running outside.
The final defender is the middle defender. His job is to move forward and cover the area between the two leverage defenders. If the two leverage defenders are doing a good job this man will make the majority of tackles by wrapping up the chicken and letting the two pursuit men touch him. The difficult part of the middle defender is that he is responsible for all of the area between the two leverage defenders. If they are doing a good job eliminating space this makes for an easy wrap up, but if the leverage defenders aren’t able to squeeze the space, the middle defender is forced to cover a large area and make a tackle in space.
If the chicken does get away from the initial alignment of the defenders, either by breaking contain or through the middle, the drill keeps going. When this happens the defenders must work together to establish leverage and corral the chicken into a tackle.
While this drill seems very complex in the description the best part of the drill is the minimal amount of coaching that is needed. While it’s important to show the players Inside In Front position and how they must maintain leverage, many of the other ideas they learn on their own. They use the drill to quickly figure out about maintain leverage angles and working together. It is an incredible process to watch because they learn from the drill and do not even realize they are improving.
(See Also) Tap the Hip Linebacker Drill