8 In-Season Block Destruction Drills by Position

Defensive Line Block Destruction 

We categorized the defensive line component of block destruction by presenting both run and pass. The focus of these drills is to teach defensive linemen how to defend against one-on-one run blocks (base, down and reach blocks) as well as pass blocks.

Drill #1: 

5 Dot Drill, Thurmond Moore, Former NFL Defensive Line Coach

Reinforcement: Teaches proper vertical and lateral hand placement of defensive linemen as well as the quickness of punch.

Editor’s Note: The following videos by Thurmond Moore are contributed thanks in part by FootballUniversity.org.

Drill # 2: 

Gun and Knife Drill, Thurmond Moore, Former NFL Defensive Line Coach

Reinforcement: Teaches the proper hand placement to defend offensive lineman’s high hands and low hands in a pass rush situation.

Drill #3: 

Hand Ladder Drill, Thurmond Moore, Former NFL Defensive Line Coach

Reinforcement: Similar to a footwork agility drill, this drill teaches defensive linemen how to develop their hand placement.

Drill #4: 

One-on-One Key the V Drill, Westfield High School (TX)

Reinforcement: Teaches defensive linemen in a shade defense the proper block destruction against base blocks.

Coaching Points: 

• Coach gives cadence/block to OL
• Start out in 2-point stance, emphasis on throwing hands and SLAM/CHOP/CHOP
• Progress to 3-point stance, working against a base block (Key the V)
• Attack opponent using hat and hands (screws/ thumbs at 2 o’clock and 10 o’clock)
• Start drill by focus on re-establishing the LOS (hot feet/drive)
• Continue LOS focus and then work into lockout/push/pull

Drill #5: 

Lockout Push and Pull Drill, Westfield High School (TX)

Reinforcement: Teaches defensive linemen in a shade defense the proper block destruction against reach blocks.

Coaching Points: 

• Coach gives cadence to offensive linemen.
DL moves on movement.
• Can start in a 2-point stance then graduates to a 3-point stance.
• On Movement, DL initiates contact (S/C/C) throwing hands with hand target being the breast plate of the OL while thumbs remain at 2 and 10 o’clock ensuring elbows stay inside.
• On contact, the DL should grab cloth while punching with HEAVY HANDS.
• Proceed to lockout OL while feet are running.
• As OL attempts to regain control by fighting pressure, use his momentum and pull violently.
• While pulling the DL should be step up field (45 degrees) in the opposite direction [of pull].
• As DL slings OL aside he brings a step and rip.
• As DL brings the step and rip he is trying to get “cheek to cheek of the OL to reinsure his gap leverage/responsibility.

Drill #6: 

Long Arm Short Arm Drill, Westfield High School (TX)

Reinforcement: Teaches defensive linemen in a shade defense to use the proper hand placement and escape mechanisms.

Coaching Points:

DL will be shaded to the outside of the OL.
• Start with 2pt and progress to a stance.
• 2pt, “Locked Up” (emphasis on hand placement/grab cloth/pad level).
• Introduce “triple whistle”:
o1st whistle: OL will initiate reach block, while DL SCC’s while shooting hands, maintaining gap leverage and trying to re-establish LOS.
o 2nd whistle: (OL still trying to reach), DL performs long arm/short (gap hand long/covered hand short) violently turning the OL’s shoulders.
o 3rd whistle: DL “rip/releases” off the push pull trying to locate the ball and redirecting.

Linebacker Block Destruction

Second level defenders need to learn how to protect themselves against blocks in space, so many of the following drills are centered around the proper hand placement and escape techniques to do so. It’s important to note that these are drills to teach one-on-one block situations, where a defender is not asked to play with certain leverage point (inside or outside).

Drill #7: 

Shed Technique Drill Progression, Virginia Tech University

Reinforcement: Teaches linebackers the various types of shed techniques using both the butt and press, forearm shiver on active and stationary targets.

Drill #8: 

Cut Block Drill Progression, Virginia Tech University

Reinforcement: Teaches defensive players how to defend against cut blocks both at the line of scrimmage and in space.

About X&O Labs

As the leading football research firm, X&O Labs provides its Insiders members with an early advantage by identifying emerging trends and reporting on the evolutions of established coaching concepts. X&O Labs’ research team releases over 200 new special reports, clinic reports, and research reports every year — with over 800 game and practice videos. These reports dig deeper than the general overview found in other coaching resources — and brings its Insiders members multiple options to solving the same issues thousands of coaches face every day. For more information, visit X&O Labs’ website.

X&O Labs 2017 Football Trends