Football: How to Block
Blocking is one of the main components of tackle football. It enables small fast running backs to escape into the open field. It also gives the quarterback time to throw the ball. Every offensive player on the field needs to be able to block. This is especially true of the offensive linemen whose primary job is blocking.
When linemen set up at the line of scrimmage they get into a stance that helps them to move into a blocking position quickly. The most common stance is the three-point stance.
- Linemen can run or pass block from the three-point stance. To get into a three point stance, do the following:
- Spread your feet a bit wider than the shoulders and get balanced.
- Bend at the waist and put your strong hand on the ground. Just your fingers should touch the ground.
- Bend your knees such that your rear end is parallel to the ground.
- Your other hand should be set back near your thigh.
- Your weak side foot should be about a foot in front of your other foot.
- Lift your head and face your opponent.
- Your balance should be such that you can lift your hand off of the ground without losing your balance. If you start to fall forward, you have too much of your weight on your hand.
In passing only situations, you can use a two-point stance. This is where neither hand is on the ground but held up and ready to pass block.
The Snap Count
One of the advantages the offensive line has over the defense is the snap count. By concentrating on the snap count and beginning your block the second the ball is snapped, you can gain an advantage on the defender. This takes concentration as you don't want to take off early and get a false start penalty.
In run blocking the idea is to drive the defender away from an area. This may be straight ahead or off to the side in order to create a hole for the running back to run through. There are a number of types of blocking techniques used in run blocking including the drive block, double team block, trap block, and crack back block.
When run blocking you want to:
- Drive with your feet in short choppy steps.
- Keep your head up.
- Keep your head on the side of the defender of the hole.
- Explode into the defender using your hands and forearms to deliver a blow and knock them back.
In passing situations, offensive linemen are looking to protect the quarterback. They form a pocket around the quarterback and keep the defenders from getting through. Each lineman should have an assigned defender to block. Sometimes two linemen will be assigned to one player in a double-team block.
To pass block you want to:
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- Get up from your three-point stance quickly.
- Move to your assigned position between your defender and the quarterback.
- Stay in front of your defender and hold your ground.
- Use your hands to push the defender away from the direction of the quarterback. This may be further up field. If you can, use the defender's momentum to your advantage.
- Always keep your head up.
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