Youth Football Offensive Line Drills: The Fundamentals
The two skills you want to improve with youth football offensive line drills are drive blocking and pass blocking. With both skills, you first need to teach your players how to get into a proper stance to execute a block.
The player starts with his feet at or just outside shoulder-width. Guards and tackles should have their back foot offset to the heel of their inside foot. Centers should have a squared stance with most of their weight toward the front of their feet. From there, a player lowers himself into a half squat, placing his hands on his thighs with his shoulders back and his chest up. This is your basic pass-blocking stance.
Set up the run-blocking stance the same way as the pass-blocking stance. The player then lowers his inside arm to the ground, supporting his upper-body with outstretched fingers. This is the ideal run-blocking stance.
Once your players can consistently line up in a fundamental drive-block stance, the next steps are to teach first-step quickness, arm and hand placement, and multiple take-off angles for different blocks.
First Step Drill
- You can do this drill against a bag or with another player.
- Do the drill for all three forward directions: forward, inside and outside.
- Start in the basic stance, then take a quick first step into the ground.
- Hold this position without falling.
- Engage a teammate or a bag with hands gripping the chest plate area.
- Drive your feet so you make only six-inch steps while keeping your head and shoulders down.
Angle Step Drill
- Sometimes you need to take a step at an angle, either to get to the second level or execute a double team.
- Place a cone just outside your foot. This is the angle to step to.
- Step so your foot can get around the cone.
- Keep your shoulders low and square.
- Move the cone to work on different angles.
Sound pass blocking starts with a fundamental pass-blocking stance. Once that's achieved, work on the fundamental execution of pass blocking skills, including the back step to set up for a block; arm placement and striking during pass blocking; and steering your man once engaged.
- Start in the pass-blocking stance.
- Push off your front foot and kick your back foot directly back.
- Land in a balanced stance with your chest up and arms ready to strike.
- From this position, you should be able to move backward, right or left.
- Have your lineman engage with another player in a balanced pass stance with his arms outstretched.
- Have the other player try to run from side to side. Your lineman should shuffle his feet from side to side to keep his man in front, pushing him the way the lineman wants him to go.
- When the opposing player moves left, have your lineman push him with his right arm. When he moves to the right, have him extend his left arm. The goal is essentially to steer the opposing player to prevent him from passing your lineman.
Arm Strike Drill
- Have your lineman start in a pass stance. Have another player start toward him.
- Your lineman should start a slow kick-back step.
- When the other player gets about arm's length away from your lineman, have your lineman strike so he can contact the other player's chest plate just as be becomes within reach.
- From there, have your lineman take another kick-back step and repeat the drill.