Teaching Defensive Linemen
, Written and published with the permission of Tim Lumpkin, MesquiteHigh School.Click for Diagrams(large graphics file)Using a sequenced based learning program, as most coaches do, provides the learner with a better than averageopportunity to succeed. At Mesquite High School we encourage the sequencing process to begin at the seventhgrade level with our defensive linemen.Throughout history, learning theorists have contended that the initial focus of a young learner must be narrow andallow for success or mastery of learning possibilities. As the learner progresses the types and amount of learnedmaterial can be increased and continued based on previous knowledge and skill development.In teaching the defensive lineman at Mesquite High School, we have developed a sequential method that has beenvery successful for our defensive scheme. The construct map in Diagram 1 provides a simple view of our teachingsystem. Each phase can be broken down into specific drills which make up the sequencing process. In the groundlevel Explosion Phase, the following drills are incorporated.
Drill #1: Six Point Explosion
(Diagrams 2-3) This drill works on hip and hand explosion.
Drill #2: Stance
(Diagrams 4-5) This drill requires holding a perfect stance for a given amount of time.
Drill #3: Four Point Explosion
(Diagrams 6-7) This drill works on hip explosion from a four point stance. The stepand explosion phase incorporates the mechanics of the stance combined with the short forty five degree step as a preparedness measure for direction and explosion into the offensive lineman.
Drill #4: Four Point Quick Step Drill
(Diagrams 8-9) This drill works on Stance along with a short step necessaryin a read technique defense.
Drill #5: Four Point Read Explosion Drill
(Diagrams 10-12) This Drill develops the lineman's ability to takereaction steps along with hip and hand explosion.The Hand and Eye phase extends into the area of hand and eye coordination during the explosion of the athlete'ships.
Drill #6: Fit Drill
(Diagrams 13-14) This drill teaches correct hand placement and blow delivery.
Drill #7: Quick hands Drill
(Diagrams15-16) This drill works on hip and hand explosion along with the correcthand placement and arm extension.
Drill #8: Steer Drill
(Diagrams 17-18) This drill works on buzzing the feet,maintaining a good power position, and controlling the blocker through a steering movement.These three phases (Explosion, Step and Explosion, and Hand And Eye Phase) should comprise seventy percent of the drills incorporated in the seventh and eighth grade level. Mastery of these skills would allow for the naturalsequencing of the next two phases which require specific refinement at the high school level. The remaining two phases include the Read Phase which is concentrated upon heavily at the ninth and tenth grade level, and theScheme Phase which is usually mastered at the eleventh and twelfth grade level.The Read Phase or Reaction Phase incorporates reaction to an offensive lineman using the previously sequenceddrills. Repetition and reduction of reaction time are the goals of this phase, as a defensive lineman must be preparedto implement this movement almost sixty times a ball game.
Drill #9: One on One
Defense vs. Offense
This drill works the defensive lineman in live situations against an offensive lineman using the five basic blocks:Base, Reach, Base Cutoff, Down Block and Scramble. This drill can also be extended to incorporate board drills andcompetition type drills. The Scheme Phase is the last phase in the teaching sequence. This phase involves therepetition of schemes which is so necessary to the defensive lineman in a game situation.
Drill #10: Two on One and Three on One
(Not Pictured) Included are Back Block, Double Team, Combo, SplitBlock, Pulling, Short and Long Traps, Influence Traps, Kick Out and Load Blocks.These drills teach the defensive lineman how to react to the many different schemes during the course of a game.At all levels it is suggested that the use of film or video be used for continual assessment and evaluation of phaseachievement.The ultimate goal of these sequencing techniques is highlighted in the success of the individual and team throughgoal achievement as shown on the top level of the construct map. At Mesquite High School, this sequencing processhas been a logical key to the success of the defensive linemen , and will hopefully work in your situation.