The Golden Yard Drill (goal line tackling drill) is a great, low risk, drill that works both on tackling and running the football. This drill is designed to teach players to win the final yard before the end of the play. Many times players make the tackle and let their feet die on contact. The result is that the offensive player is able to fall forward to gain an additional 1 to 2 yards. This yard or two that the offense is able to gain right before the end of the play many times is the difference between a first down and a third down. Other times it might take a first down play from a 2 yard gain to a 4 yard gain. While this doesn’t seem like a huge gain in yards, the difference between the play calls that are available for a second and 8 and a second and 6 are huge.
The Golden Yard Drill | Goal Line Tackling Drill
The set up of the drill is very simple. The coach takes an agile bag and places it perpendicular to the Goal Line with the edge of the pad right on the goal line and a ball on the end away from the Goal Line. Each player starts with their hands on the pad and their feet behind them. The drill starts with the offensive players movement. He makes a move to pickup the ball and get across the Goal Line. He can go either way so the defensive player must adjust to his move.
There are a couple of coaching points for the offensive player on this drill. The first one is that he needs to run with a low pad level. It’s critical that he get his pads under the defenders pad level. This will allow him to fall forward and gain the Golden Yard. Besides running low he must keep his legs driving and run his feet through contact. These skills are critical for Running Backs to learn. Many times a running back will make contact with a defender in the hole two yards down field. The last major coaching point for the runner is to deflect the blow and find a way to twist forward. When a tackler makes contact with the runner he wants to hit him square, while this happens in most tackling drills it rarely happens during the game. The runner needs to feel where the defender has made contact and twist away from it so he can fall forward. In this drill the majority of times the defender makes contact on the inside of the runner so the ball carrier can twist to the outside and fall forward.
The defender has several key coaching points that translate to game scenarios. First and foremost he must drive his legs through contact. If the defender makes contact and stops foot fire a good running back will drive forward and win the golden yard. Instead he must continue to drive his feet and finish on the runners side of contact. In addition to foot fire he must shoot his arms to help corral the runner and stop him from spinning out of the tackle or twisting for additional yards. The last coaching point for the defender is often missed. The tackler must work to keep his hips in front of the runner. As the defender works to get to the outside edge the defender needs to keep his feet moving so that the runner can’t get the edge and fall forward.
Who wins this contest determines who will win the play. If the defender is able to stop his momentum and limit the gain to two yards this will create a 2nd and 8 which puts the defense at a huge advantage. If the runner is able to maintain a leg drive and fall forward for another 2 yards the offense will be in a 2nd and 6 situation which allows them to have a significantly wider playbook selection.
(See Also) Linebacker Read Drills
(See Also) Goal Line Offenses