Playing Championship Defense
Offenses sell tickets, defenses win championships!
- Tackle well
- Create turnovers
- Get off blocks
- Proper alignment vs. the offensive formation
- Good pursuit-swarm to the ball
- Do not give up the big play
Good defenses tackle well and swarm to the football. Big plays are eliminated with relentless swarm to the football.
Tackling is what playing defense is all about. If you look at any championship defense you will notice that they tackle well. It is important that proper tackling technique is practiced frequently to ensure the best results on the field. Open field tackling needs to practiced as well. Proper tackling technique will help prevent injury. Here is the ultimate guide on how to teach tackling with proper technique.
Tackling is probably the #1 ingredient for playing championship defense.
Your team can have all the tackling skills in the world- but if your youth football players cannot destruct blocks, overall tackling skill doesn’t matter. I often notice teams do not put enough time into destructing blocks. Your players must develop an attitude and mindset that we will not allow the offense to block us! The biggest thing we preach to our kids is- do not play with the blocker or try to go around the blocker, destruct the block, rip through the block.
(See Also) The Rip Move for Block Destruction
Quick Tip, whenever your defense does tackling drills makes sure your players have to rip through a block and then go through with the tackle. Make sure when doing defensive drills block destruction and tackling are paired.
Playing championship defense begins with block destruction.
Having the proper defensive alignment is vital. As a defensive coordinator you must understand which side of the offensive formation is the strong side of the field. For example- if the offense has 5 blockers to the right and 4 to the left, the strong side is to the offense’s right. If the offense has double tight-ends with a wing back to the left, then the strong side of the offense is to the left (defense’s right). As a defense you cannot allow the offense to out flank or outnumber you on any side of the field. When teams go unbalanced you have to recognize that quickly and make sure your defense adjust accordingly.
Getting into the proper pursuit lanes and taking proper angles to the ball carrier is imperative. Big plays are eliminated when all 11 defenders get to the ball carrier. Playing championship defense will require your defenders to run to the ball and gang tackle. On all passing and running plays the entire defense needs to fly to the ball carrier. Do the pursuit drill every single practice. After we execute warm-ups will get right into our defensive pursuit drill. The pursuit drill is also an excellent conditioning drill. This drill will practice alignment, attacking on ball movement, zone drops, and flying to the football on all run and passing plays. Our motto is- be sharks out there. Check out this article about SHARK WEEK. Shark week is our defensive installation week.
Last but not least, create turnovers! Every championship defense will find ways to create turnovers. Gang tackling, pursuit, and solid tackling will lead to turnovers naturally. We will do some form tackling drills in practice where the first defender secures the tackle and the second defender attacks the ball. On passing plays all defenders need to run to where the ball is thrown. This will allow the defenders to get into a position to catch a tipped ball off the DB’s or WR’s hands or help secure a tackle.
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