Pass protection is always a very difficult thing to teach on the youth football level. In order to be a good pass protection team you need to commit practice time to it. For youth football, I highly recommend executing most of your passes off of play-action. This will make pass blocking much easier. However, sometimes you do have to drop back and pass so you must be able to protect. Keep in mind that the pass blocking techniques do differ depending on position. Here are the best pass protection fundamentals and technique that you can teach your players.
Pass Protection Fundamentals and Techniques
1. Kick and Slide (Tackles and Tight-end)
This is a pass protection set that is used against a wide aligned level one rusher (defensive linemen). This block is executed most of the time by an offensive tackle or maybe even a tight-end that is staying in to block. The first step is with your outside foot, similar to a bucket step. The second step is almost a mirror step of your first, but keep it close to the ground. It’s important that you keep yourself between the rusher and the QB by maintaining your outside half to his inside near half. This is a tough block, especially if you are facing wide defensive ends that are quick. If you are getting beat outside and/or up-field, take him that way- ride him out and let the QB step up.
2. Power Step (for interior linemen- guards)
This is a pass pro set vs. an inside gap rusher, either by alignment or movement (stunt or slant). Using an aggressive gap down technique, step at the defender’s mid-line, keeping square to the line of scrimmage. Inside hand on the defenders far number. Outside hand punch on the defenders near hip- then motor your feet and wash him down.
3. Hinge Technique (back-side of the slide)
This is a backside pass pro set. Invite the man out and up the field. Use a bucket step with the inside foot, now hinge and swing your backside half back- giving the rusher a soft corner (shoulder) to rush through. Once the defender commits himself out and up, turn- club and run him up field. If the defender aligns and slants to your inside, Power Step (2). If the defender crosses your face, use the technique talked about in the Power Step (for interior linemen).
4. Slide Protection (cut down hands- quick passing game- Cut and Gut Block)
This is a great technique that is used to keep the defensive line’s hands down, for when you are executing your quick passing game, or even a quick 3-step drop back. You want your kids to aggressively block the defender to keep the rusher at the line of scrimmage and to keep their hands down.
Cut: Taking as many steps as needed to close the distance (usually 2 steps or so)- then shoot near shoulder and near forearm just above the knee ( thigh is the aiming point), don’t take out the knees!). Keep your keep and scramble him. This isn’t a chop block.
Gut: Fire out at the base of the defender’s numbers, punching and driving through him as if it were a run play. Keep low, sink hips, sky the eyes.
5. Reach (great for wide defensive ends)
This is a pass pro set for defenders that are playing on your outside shoulder. Tackle technique- run him out to the side line if possible. This is a great technique that can be utilized across your entire line. It’s especially effective when defenders are playing in gaps. You can have all the offensive linemen step and reach play-side (reach play-side defenders) and have the backside offensive tackle or tight-end (whoever is the end man on the backside of your offensive line) hinge.