The swim move has been the staple of youth football for years. I learned about the swim move as a youth football player. Defense is about tackling right? You bet your bottom dollar it is! Is the offense just going to let you tackle the ball carrier? No, they will try to block you. Getting off blocks is the first key aspect of youth football defense.
Five main areas of youth football defense:
- Getting off blocks (engage-rip through)
- Gap control/pursuit
- Goal line defense
- Avoiding giving up the “BIG Play”
The swim move is a great pass rushing move, but there is one key reason why I do not even bother teaching the swim move to my players.
- Performing the swim move will make the defender stand straight up, taking away leverage. You’ve heard this saying often, “the low man always wins”, for the most part that is correct. The team that controls the line of scrimmage controls the game. If you’re defensive linemen are not holding their gaps, you’re in for a long day. Doing the swim move will make the defender come up high, allowing the blocker to get under and push the defender right out of the play. So do not even bother with this move. I do not even teach it to my secondary (safety and corner-backs).
The rip move is the most effective way to get off blocks.
- After engaging the blocker, rip your inside arm up while driving (pumping legs) through the blocker, this will knock back the blocker. This will also keep the defender’s low leverage while having the rip arm force through the blocker. The defender will hold his ground. Do not have your defensive linemen stand straight up because your defender will get pushed around.
- Engage the blockers, do not try and go around them. This will leave running lanes; the blocker will just push you right out of the play.
- Work on controlling gaps in practice
- Practice squeezing and getting into pursuit lanes
- Engage and rip through!