Two of the hardest skills that young linebackers have a problem acquiring are the ability to find the ball (while using correct technique to get there) and the ability to get off blocks. “Attack the Rock” is a fun drill that can be used to help linebackers find the ball effectively. “Working Uphill” is an intense drill that can be used to teach linebackers how to shed blocks. Both of these drills should be used daily to help improve the play of the linebackers. Attack the Rock For a defense to be successful, the players must be able to quickly

Two of the hardest skills that young linebackers have a problem acquiring are the ability to find the ball (while using correct technique to get there) and the ability to get off blocks.
“Attack the Rock” is a fun drill that can be used to help linebackers find the ball effectively. “Working Uphill” is an intense drill that can be used to teach linebackers how to shed blocks. Both of these drills should be used daily to help improve the play of the linebackers.
Attack the Rock
For a defense to be successful, the players must be able to quickly recognize what an offense is trying to do to them. This is especially true for linebackers, as they should be dominant against the run and also proficient in pass defense.
To perform the drill Attack the Rock, you first must stand up five dummies, preferably stand-up dummies, and align them as the offense line. Make sure that they have the proper splits and then depending on your defensive front, lean blocking dummies against the appropriate dummies that are the offensive linemen.
We do this for two reasons: first, to make sure that the linebackers are working in an area that best resembles the offensive and defensive fronts and secondly, to hinder the line of sight of the linebackers.
This drill should be used with skill position players assuming the roles of the offense.
In the preseason, run a variety of plays such as sweeps, whams, counters, reverses, bootlegs, flairs, quick-ins and circles. When the season starts, use the known plays that your opponents run. This allows the linebackers more weekly reps in learning to defend that week’s opponent.
In the pre-snap phase, look for the alignment and stance of the linebackers, making sure they are at proper depth, in the correct position and in the correct stance.
In the post-snap phase, evaluate the linebackers’ ability to quickly recognize the play and to get to the football and make a play. To be successful as a defense, the players must learn to play fast and have the ability to quickly recognize what an offense is trying to do. This drill helps with both.
Working Uphill
A linebacker must have the ability to get off a block and position him or herself in the correct position to make a play, especially against the run. This drill will help in developing that skill.
In this drill, form three units of a blocker and a ball carrier. The ball carrier is to be five yards behind their blocker.
These units are to align in a pattern that resembles the side of a Christmas tree, with the second unit seven yards back and to the right of the first unit and with the third unit following behind the second unit in the same fashion.
The linebacker performing the rep is to align three yards in front of the bottom unit and at the movement and snap count by the ball carrier, they are to shed the block of the blocker. After the shed, they are to square up on the ball carrier and hit and wrap him without taking him to the ground.
At the whistle, they are to quickly align in front of the second unit and repeat the process. After the second whistle, they are finished with the rep and repeat the process with the third unit.
When first starting this drill, have the ball carrier jog. As the linebackers get better at shedding blocks, have ball carriers sprint and line up closer to their blocker.
In conclusion, for a defense to play fast, the linebackers must first learn play recognition and how to shed blocks. If they can do this, they greatly increase the chances of the defense to be effective.

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Husband, Father of two 'sports crazed' boys, Sports Marketing Executive by day, youth sports Coach by night/weekend.

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