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Offensive Line Quickness Drill – The De La Salle Tennis Ball Drill
Tennis ball drill for offensive linemen
This is a drill used by many teams to get their offensive linemen out of the ball quickly. I first learned it at Concord De LaSalle High School in California. Yes, the school that had the 151 game winning streak. It’s also a great drill for guys who coach youth football.
De LaSalle football coaches rightly believe that the key to great offensive line play is to take your first 2 steps faster than the opponent’s first 2 steps. I noticed the speed at which De LaSalle linemen got the ball out was pretty amazing in a televised game with nationally ranked Evangel High School in Louisiana. While Evangel had a number of Division I prospects on his offensive line and averaged more than 50 pounds more per man than De LaSalle, De LaSalle just dominated the line.
This is a drill they use and youth football teams have used with success to improve line play and speed:
Put your linemen in two groups, those to the right of center on one line, those to the left of center on another. Have the players at the front of the line execute their first two steps quickly and perfectly, the inside step taking a first step at a 60 degree angle inward with the knee to the chest, while charging the hands on the sides at the “Six Shooter” level. The second step at the same angle comes very quickly after the installation of the first step. The second step would also be performed with the knees bent and when the foot is placed the forearms come up to kick with the shoulder.
Once these steps are repeated, we add the trainer with the tennis ball. The coach is at a 60 degree angle to the inside of the offensive linemen and approximately 1 yard along this 60 degree path away from the player. On the snap count, the offensive lineman takes their first step as shown above, then takes their second step down the line toward the coach using the above technique. The coach on the instant count drops the ball directly from a height of approximately 3 feet. The lineman must take his 2 perfect steps using the correct technique and catch the tennis ball before it hits the ground. Vary the distance and height to force your offensive linemen to perform the drill at their individual speed potential.
We alternate our center in the two lines, because it has to go both ways. This is an exercise that we bring in 4-5 weeks after our children have mastered the basics and we work on developing more advanced skills. This is a great change of pace exercise, it works and the kids love it.
Find out how this football drill helps your offensive linemen get off the ball faster and allows them to take their second step faster than their opponent. This will allow you to execute your football plays more accurately and efficiently if combined with proper blocking technique.
With over 15 years of practical experience as a youth coach, Dave has developed a detailed systematic approach to developing youth players and teams. His personal teams using this system to date have won 97% of their matches in 5 different leagues.
His website is: winyouthfootball.com
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