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How to Teach a Young Offensive Lineman to Stay with His Block

The running game is the first aspect related to offensive football that coaches teach young players. Running with the ball is all about offensive linemen getting off the line of scrimmage and opening holes for the running back. This requires aggression, strength, footwork and power. While the initial explosion of the offensive lineman may be responsible for giving the running back a crease through which to run, the ability to sustain that block keeps the hole open and helps the running back gain additional yards.

  1. Move out of your stance the instant the ball is snapped and drive your hands into the chest of the defensive lineman. You must deliver a stunning blow with your hands to get the defensive lineman moving backward to open a hole for the running back.

  2. Drive with your feet throughout the process of blocking your opponent. This is called chopping your feet, and must be sustained throughout the blocking process. Take short, quick steps, and do not stop until you hear the whistle.

  3. Grasp the defensive lineman's jersey with your hands so you can steer him to one side or the other when attempting to open a hole. The rules allow the offensive lineman to use his hands during the blocking process as long as he is grasping the front of the opponent's jersey and not the sides or the back. It's much easier to push the defensive lineman in one direction when you grab ahold of him.

  4. Drive him down and to the ground to finish the block. When you get the defensive lineman off of his feet, he cannot get involved in the tackle. This is called a "pancake" block because the defensive lineman is flat on his back -- like a pancake -- and it is a one-sided victory for the offensive lineman.

    Tip

    Do practice drills to improve your agility. Being quick on your feet is a necessary skill for an offensive lineman; but being agile -- being able to accelerate, decelerate, change direction and maintain balance -- while all of the distractions of the game itself are playing out around you, will enhance your game.

    Warning

    Never use your helmet when blocking your opponent. This is dangerous, and it can lead to serious injury. Leading with your helmet in the open field can also result in a penalty.

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About the Author

Steve Silverman is an award-winning writer, covering sports since 1980. Silverman authored The Minnesota Vikings: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and Who's Better, Who's Best in Football -- The Top 60 Players of All-Time, among others, and placed in the Pro Football Writers of America awards three times. Silverman holds a Master of Science in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism.

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