There are a few things that your youth football defense has to do well to be successful:
- Tackle well
- Create turnovers
- Get off blocks
- Proper alignment vs. the offensive formation
- Good pursuit-swarm to the ball
- Do not give up the big play
Good defenses tackle well and swarm to the football. Big plays are eliminated with relentless swarm to the football.
Tackling is what playing defense is all about. A solid tackling youth football defense will have much success, regardless of the offense you are facing. If you look at any good defense you will see that they tackle well. It is important that proper tackling technique is practiced frequently to ensure the best results on the field. Open field tackling needs to practiced as well. It is important that proper Form Tackling Techniques are taught. Proper technique will help prevent injury.
Quick tip, make sure your players always have their heads up- they need to see what they are hitting. Also, to ensure a solid tackle the tackler needs to get his head across the ball carrier’s body-this is often overlooked and under-practiced technique.
Get off the Blocks
Your team can have all the tackling skills in the world- but if your youth football players cannot get off blocks than tackling skill doesn’t matter. I often notice teams do not put enough time into losing a block. The rip move and swim move are two of the best ways to get off blocks. Your players must develop an attitude and mindset to the effect that we will not allow the offense to block us! The biggest thing we preach to our kids is do not play with the blocker, get off the block. So again, practice getting off blocks because your players cannot tackle if they cannot get off blocks.
Quick Tip, whenever your defense does tackling drills makes sure your players have to lose a block and then go through with the tackle. Make sure when doing defensive youth football drills block destruction and tackling are paired in every drill.
Having the proper defensive alignment is vital. As a defensive coordinator you must understand which side of the offensive formation is the strong side of the field. For example, if the offense has 5 blockers to the right and only 4 to the left the strong side is to the right. As a defense you cannot allow the offense to out flank or outnumber you on any side of the field.
Getting into the proper pursuit lanes and taking proper angles to the ball is imperative. Big plays are eliminated when all 11 defenders get to the ball, no make that swarm, to the ball carrier. Having a good defense that runs to the ball will not allow the ball carrier to break tackles and gain extra yardage. We do the pursuit drill every practice. Pride your defense on getting off blocks and getting to the ball carrier
Offense sells tickets, defense wins championships. Example, the New York Giants played the packers in the Divisional round of the playoffs this past weekend. The Giant’s defense shut down the number 1 team with the number 1 offense in the league. The Giants tackled well, did not give the Packers the big play, and they created turnovers. Make the offense drive the whole field in 10 plays make them earn it.