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All Drills Listed under the following Categories: Agilities/Tackling/Run Stopping/Stop Pass/Blitz

(Frequency: Agility drills will be selected in regard to the opponent at least 1 or 2 agilities
will be performed each day)

High-knee Agility
To develop agility, flexibility and footwork for linebackers

On command LB assumes proper football position. Second command LB runs forward through
bags with high knee action.
Coaching Points
Player drives off of proper foot. (Rt/Lt) Elminate false steps. Gain maximum ground on 1st step.
Good high knee action with lengthening of stride.


4-5 square bags

Downhill Shuffle Drill

Purpose - Improve fundamentals of the downhill shuffle and foot agility.
Action - For this football linebacker drill, set up 5 dummy bags where you have 1 yard of
space between each one and so it forms a line that's at a 45 to the line of scrimmage.
Align the linebackers in a single file on the line. On the coach's signal, the first 'backer
breaks down into the hitting position. At the next signal, the player leads with the right foot
as he shuffles over the bags.

Coaching Details - Keep your linebackers low in proper hitting position with shoulders
square, head up. Emphasize an "attack" mentality. Run this football drill for linebackers from
both directions so the players practice leading with each foot.

Wave drill
Developing quick changes of direction, and quick reactions.

get into a good football stance about 2 to 3 yrds apart. The coach stands in front of them, holding
a ball on the ground. The coach shouts out a cadence, and when he moves the ball they start
moving their feet, watching the coach, and shuffling into the indicated direction, if the coach
shows pass, they drop; if he shows run, they come forward. On command the Players will sprint
past the coach.
As a variation you can include seatrolls (only lateral movement), i.e. every change of direction
begins with a seatroll to the new direction.

Instead of a command and the final sprint, the coach can drop the football and have the players
recover the fumble, or throw a more or less interceptable pass and have them run it back.

Coaching Points
Feet should always be moving and never cross on lateral movement. Players should always
maintain a wide base. Quick change of direction is more important than speed on lateral



Square drills
To work on footwork in all phases of linebacker play.

Set up a square of about 6 by 6 yards with the cones.

The player lines up at one cone facing away from the square.
On signal the player runs to the next cone, like on a straight zone drop, then he runs forward in
an 45-degree angle to the next cone, from which he drops again straight back to the last cone,
from there he runs to the starting cone, on this way the coach throws him the ball to intercept it.
When all players are through, start over except do 45-degree drops and straight forward runs.

You also can include shuffle passages.

Coaching Points
Look for proper foot-technique at the change of direction. This should be a technique drill not a
conditioning drill.


4 cones


Shuffle Hips Drill


To develop quickness

and change of direction to the Linebackers,

keeping good Linebacker position -

never crossing feet.


1. Set up 5 stand up dummies in a line about 3 yards apart. (closer: works more on the hips, farther
apart works more on the shuffle) and a cone about 5 yards from the last dummy.

2. The player lines up at the first dummy in a good Linebacker stance, facing the coach.

3. On signal the Linebacker shuffles through the dummies, popping the hips as quickly as possible and
continues shuffling, maintaining a good leverage position throughout the drill.

4. After the last dummy turn to sprint past the cone.

Coaching Points

This is a shuffle - quick hip drill

Linebacker should never cross his feet

Maintain leverage with shoulders down - eyes up

Stay tight with dummies

Sprinting all the way through the cone


5 Stand up dummies


T Drill

This Linebacker Drill works on conditioning and several skills that LBs must use at any given point in
the game.

It's to work proper techniques and to put it all together. It

will also help LBs practice changing direction quickly. This does not
need to be a full-pads drill, but can be.


1. The linebacker will start at the base of the T of cones. The cones
should all be spread about five yards apart from each other as shown.
The linebacker will sprint up to the middle cone and catch a medicine
ball at knee level. He must sink his hips and have arms out as if
taking on a cut block. You can also have a coach hold a back out
towards the LB and have the LB tap the bag down when he reaches the cone simulating the same

2. LB sprints to the next cone. Depending on what you want to teach,

you can have him sprint directly to the cone with his shoulders
perpendicular to the line of cones, or keep the shoulders square and
crossover run as he would chasing a RB down the line. Touch the cone.

3. Sprint toward the far cone. A coach or player should throw a ball to
him so that he can practice moving forward and catching at the same
time. Drop the ball when reach the final cone.

4. Sprint toward the middle cone.

5. Run back as the linebacker would in dropping into pass coverage to

the back cone where he started.

6. Plant at the back cone and burst forward meeting the RB for a nice
form tackle.

Coaching Points

Sharp Cuts, keep the feet out of cement!

Head up and eyes forward at all times.

Catch the ball with proper technique.

Stay low when moving through the "T".
Never stand straight up.

Make a good form tackle.

Shoot the arms, grab cloth, keep the feet moving and hips low.



Weave & Sprint


This drill mimics the LB dropping back into coverage and reading run, so he needs to sprint up


1. Start the LB moving at an angle. The LB should always stay facing forward towards the QB, while
moving backwards. This movement is called a Weave Step and he should not be backpedaling. The
feet need to take him backwards to gain depth while staying under control. As the LB reaches the
top of the angled bag, he should plant and come forward sprinting up.

2. The plant is crucial. It should not be a huge step backwards that takes up time and wastes effort.
Stutter step, "bam-bam" and go! This will ensure that the LBs do not slip taking too big of a plant
step and it is definitely a quicker step than the longer plant step most players use.

3. Each angled bag should be the weave step, each straight path is sprinting forward. At the end of
the bags, the coach can either throw a ball to him that he needs to turn and go grab, or you can
practice your angle tackling with a RB.

4. The second time through, you can have the straight bags be the weave steps and have the LBs
sprint up at an angle. Both methods will help increase the LBs movement and control of their body
moving backwards and changing direction to come up and make the play.

Coaching Points

Make sure the Linebacker stays in a proper athletic stance throughout the entire drill

Linebacker should keep his head up looking at the coach (into the backfield) never look down at the

Stress the 2-studder-step "plant"


5 Bags
(Frequency: At least one Tackling drill will be performed every day)

Tackling progression drill

To teach proper tackling technique master the skill & prevent injury.


1. Fit

On command the designated defenders walk up to their partner and into a fit position.
They should stay in that position until the coach checked and possibly corrected the

2. Fit and lift

On command the designated defenders walk up to their partner and into a good fit
On the next command they follow through, rolling their hips and lifting their partner and
taking him back a few steps.

3. Form tackle

Partners should be about 5 yards apart. On command the designated offender jogs toward
the defender.
The defender meets him in proper tackling position and performs a form tackle.

- Tackle no pads Perfect Fit, Short Choppy steps, Chest on Chest, Face just slides over a bit
R/L work both sides, Shoot and Grab-Quick Hands, Never straight legged and face always up,
Never stop feet. Do both sides, then incorporate the lift as you roll hips Ball carrier jumps a
little to help you experience the realistic feel. Then work each side offset a yard or 2 to
opposite side and form it up. Missed tackles come when feet stop and you lunge.

For each progression step: start off one after the other, and as the players get better, let them
execute simultaneously.
Coaching Points

1. Fit

Feet shoulder width apart, knees bent, back straight, head up, arms around butt, shoulder
at belt-buckle.

2. Fit and lift

Additional: hips should roll, the lift should be caused by the rolling hips and the
extension of the legs. The offenders should assist the lift by hopping up on the second
command. Stress the importance of leverage.

3. Form tackle

Same as above, make sure the form tackle will be done in one fluid motion. Offenders
should not change direction or speed, nor fight the tackle.

Increase speed as players get better but not intensity of contact.

Frequency: This is a pre-season/ spring ball 1st day introductory drill.

Tackle Fit-Ups

-2 lines one on #s and one on the Hash. Ball carrier 12 yds away facing the 2 lines between #s
and hash. Ball carrier starts and cuts either way. Tacklers chew up space in between and become
force and cutback players depending on where the ball goes. Cutback fits up nicely and cant
overrun. Force should stay square not allowing a quick shoot to run through.
- Tackle Outside Run Two OTs with hand shields and one LB 4 yds back in the middle. RB 5
yds behind LOS. RB runs outside off Tackle either way and OT steps up field and shoots the
shield. LB Dips Shoulder and Hip working downhill to finish the play. Short Choppy Under
Control Down Hill, No Drop Step.
- Tackle Circuit Whole Defense 4 Cones 10 yds. apart forming a big box. DL, LBs, DBs,
all attack differently This one is easier to understand visually. The key is to get a quick burst to
eliminate distance between defender and the ball. Next is a downhill waterfall with 3 stations -
Blow Delivery and shed, Beat the Cut, and then Finish the Tackle RB starts 10 yds. back, on
the Hash and first station is in the middle of the field. Fit drill descried earlier is also done in this
2-hits and a tackle drill
Teach and practice the correct body position on shedding a blocker and regaining it for proper

Align two players about 5 to 6 yards apart. On command they jog at each other, when they meet,
the designated defender will thrust his arms out to shed the would be blocker, then they
backpedal to their starting point and repeat. When they meet the third time the defender performs
a form tackle.
As a variation you can have them moving down a line and have the defender perform an angle

Coaching Points
Check for proper body position on each contact, and on the variation an inside out leverage as



eventually cones to mark starting points

Angle tackling drill

To improve inside out path to ball carrier with good leg and hip explosion

On command, tackler is in good football position, feet moving. Second command ball carrier
takes two steps forward and breaks at 45 angle. Tackler moves when ball carrier does and drives
through outside number and gets his number across ball carriers outside number. Tackler drives
feet and ball carrier back 2 yards.

Coaching Points
Tackler must close distance keeping on ball carriers inside half to take away cutback. Tackler
must work form low plane to high plane. Hit on the rise. (For minimum contact work in 5 yards



Goalline tackling drill
To teach and improve tackling technique to deny any gain after contact (i.e. in short-yardage

two cones three to five yards apart on any given line, representing the goalline. Place one
linebacker with his heels on the goalline. The ballcarrier (another linebacker or a runningback)
lines up 2-3 yards in front of him, holding a ball. On command the ballcarrier starts and tries to
break the plane between the cones, while the linebacker has to prevent this.
This drill should be run at full speed and therefore not the first tackling drill of the practice.

If working against the running backs you can make it more competitive by keeping score and
have the "loosers" do some extra sprints or pushups.

Coaching Points
Tackler must make good solid contact having his whole body in front of ball carrier. Tackler
must get under ball carrier and work from low plane to high plane. Hit on the rise. Make sure
tackler makes good use of his arms (wrap-up) to prevent ball carrier from falling forward.


2 cones


Open field tackling drill

Improve the chances of defenders to make a tackle in the open field.

Step #1

Have two LB's stand 2-3 yards away from and facing each other. One of them is the ball carrier
and the other one is the defender. Have the ball carrier try to juke the defender. Constantly stress
to the defender to move with him and stay broken down (knees bent and ready for him to try to
run him over).
Step #2

Next blow the whistle and have the ball carrier and run at the defender full speed or walk to him
half speed. Then have the defender react to what ever the ball carrier does like if he goes full
speed lay a lick on him or if he goes half speed go half speed and thud him or hit lightly.

Step #3
Next have them switch such as ball carrier is now the defender and the defender is now the ball
carrier. Go through this with all of your DB's and if you have an odd number of them have one
who has already been pose as the ball carrier since this is a defensive position.

Coaching Points
Defender must always keep his balance and his hips square.



SWING _ Open Field Tackle

-purpose- simulates OF Tackle in game like situation

Popsicle Drill
Objective - Teach 3-point contact fundamentals.

Action - For this football linebacker drill, position linebackers in a single file in front of the
one-man sled. On the coach's signal, the first player gets in a proper stance about a yard
and half to two yards in front of the bag. On the next signal, the 'backer hits the sled with
correct 3-point contact and continues to chop his feet. On the third signal, the player
releases from the sled, take two steps upfield and then get into a proper hitting position.

Coaching Details - Be sure to check stances. Emphasize that the linebackers must roll their
hips on contact with the sled and work on getting separation.

- RUN STOPPING/ (Shed Block/Read Keys):

(Frequency: We will perform 2 or more of these drills every day)

One on One KEY READ Drill

Objective - Teach to react to various blocks in space.

Action - Position 2 cones about 2-3 yards apart with a blocker in the middle. Align the
linebacker about 3-4 yards in front of the blocker. The coach decides which block the blocker
will use (pull, trap, down block, base, pass set, zone scheme, etc) and on the coach's signal
the linebacker reacts.

Coaching Details - Check stance. Emphasize the need for proper read and reaction.

Piano drill
To develop body control, flexibility and reaction to a low block
LB assume position with outside foot slightly back. On command LB shuffles back two steps in
football position & then shuffles forward to line touching line with both hands to simulate taking
on blocker. Repeat two more repetitions. Then flip to other side.
Coaching Points
Player must keep eyes up and outside leg back. Chest over knees and chin over toes.

Shed and throw drill

To develop proper position to defeat potential blocker and make the tackle.

On the sled LB's assume proper football position one yard from their sled. On command they
attack sled. A ball carrier is positioned 8 yards away and on command reacts in 45 angle in
direction coach requests. LB's working feet and hands throw sled and accelerate to ball carrier.

Coaching Points
Have LB's place hands properly. Maintain leverage, separation and foot movement. Once in
proper position find ball carrier, throw/rip and get to ball carrier.


3-men sled

Stay In the Box Drill

Objective - Teach linebackers to stay their ground and to deliver a blow after only one step.

Action - Use 4 cones to make a 2 yard square with the linebacker inside the square. Position
2-3 lineman about 5 yards outside the square. On the signal, the linemen try to block the
linebacker out of the box. Keep the linemen coming quickly one after the other.
Coaching Details - Make sure the linebacker is in good low position with the head up and
delivers a good strong blow to each lineman during this football linebacker drill.

Step in the Hole Drill

Objective - Teach linebackers to flow to the football and then fill the hole for the tackle.

Action - Align about 6 dummies in a line about a yard or yard and a half from one another. A
linebacker lines up on one side and a running back faces him on the other side. Have the
back run down the line, then come forward into one of the gaps. The linebacker must mirror
the back down the line, then fill the hole and make the tackle when the back makes his

Coaching Details - Be sure the linebacker stays low and makes a quick move into the hole
with power to make the tackle.

Read the play and react drill

To teach the linebackers to read the block of the offensive lineman and recognize the play and
react properly.
Align 4 players as three OL-men plus a FB, put two players as DL on the outside two OL and a
LB on the middle OL.

Signal the offensive players their assignments and a snap count.

On the snap count the offensive players carry out their blocks (# read keys) and the linebacker
reacts accordingly. Make sure all linebackers get a sufficient number of repetitions.

Start off at half speed, and pick up the speed as players get better.

include DL personnel if you don't have enough linebackers.

Coaching Points
Make sure offensive personnel carries out its assignments correctly.

Linebackers have to be in proper stance and alignment before the "snap".

Emphasize the correct movement while reading the block/play and the correct reaction to the
read play.

Don't allow any sloppiness on either side.

The intensity of contact should be low, correct and quick reaction is the purpose of this drill.

Counter Drill
This drill will help your Linebackers play the counter effectively. The CNTR (counter) is one of
the more difficult running plays in football to defend. This drill will teach a linebacker how to
effectively change direction once he recognizes the play is a CNTR.

Set up 3 cones, the first two will be 2 yards apart, the third will be 4 yards from those 2. (3 cones
in a straight line, 6 yards long, see diagram below)

The player should be in a good two point stance, 3 yards deep straddling the middle cone.

On the coaches command the LB will take 1or 2 short shuffles to the cone that is nearest to him.

When he reaches that cone that is when he will react as if he has seen CNTR. The LB will then
change direction, begin a crossover run accelerating around the farthest cone.

Coaching points
The CPs for the short shuffle is to keep the shoulders square and do not cross your feet.

Do not HOP while shuffling. (Keep your body level).

For the crossover run, stay square to the line of scrimmage and the player should kick his heel
out toward the direction he is moving. This will force the LBs hips and shoulders to stay

While accelerating around the farthest cone, stay square to the line of scrimmage.


3 cones

Mirror Drill
The purpose of this drill is to teach linebackers how keep inside leverage on a running back on
any outside Run (toss,.pitch,outside zone option, etc.)

It emphasizes not over playing a running back in case of a cut back.

It also teaches linebackers to shuffle without crossing there feet and staying square to the line of
Another important aspect of this drill is the crossover run, which is used when the ball carrier
picks up speed.

Both the shuffle and the cross over run will be utilized in game situation.

Set up 5 cones 10 yards apart.

There are two lines of players on either side of the cone. One line being the ball carrier and the
other being the linebacker.

The running back starts out in a slow jog, the linebacker (5 yards away) will shuffle mirroring
the ball carrier.
The LB must keep inside leverage on the running back, by always keeping his outside shoulder
on the backside hip of the RB.

The objective is to not overplay the RB.

When the ball carrier hits the second cone he will begin a 3/4 sprint, which will force the
linebacker begin a cross over run, enabling him to keep inside leverage.

When the ball carrier reaches the third cone he will then gear down to a slow jog, which forces
the linebacker to get back into a slow shuffle, continuing to keep inside leverage on the ball

Finally at the fourth cone the ball carrier returns to a 3/4 sprint and the LB mirrors him with a
crossover run.

The drill ends with both the RB and LB meeting on a 45 degree angle with a form tackle.

Coaching points
The CPs for the shuffle is to keep shoulders square to the ball carrier or line of scrimmage and to
not your cross feet.

It is very important for the linebacker to NOT hop while shuffling.

For the crossover run, the player needs to stay square to line of scrimmage and kick his heel out
towards the direction he is moving. This will force the LBs hips and shoulders to stay square.

To maintain inside leverage the LB must keep the ball carrier on his outside shoulder at all times.


5 cones

shed skate tackle
This drill teaches and improves the linebackers ability to shed a block, beating a cut block and
making a tackle on the move.
Position a blocker (with or without a blocking shield) in front of the linebacker. A second blocker
(maybe throwing a tackling dummy) lines up about 5 yards to one side and about 2 yards back.
The ballcarrier lines up about another 5 yards outside and another 6 yards back.

The drills starts with the blocker performing a base or reach block on the linebacker.

The linebacker has to shed / beat that block and then continue along the line, beating the cut
block and then performing an open field tackle on the ballcarrier, who starts running, when the
linebacker is engaged in the cut block.

It is important to first teach techniques before getting into more live action. Therefore use shields
and dummies for the blocks in the beginning and let the linebacker make "just" a form tackle. Go
to more "live" action as the players improve on the technique.

Coaching Points
Linebacker should always keep his balance and run low to be able to protect his knees.




Tackling dummy

(Frequency: We will perform at least one of these drills every day)
Drops Drill
Objective - Teach how to drop back and break on the football.

Action - Position three receivers 12-15 yards off the line (already positioned behind the
linebackers). Put one receiver in the middle of the field, one on the left hash, and one on
the right hash. Line up two linebackers in their proper stance and position off the line. The
QB or coach drops back (3, 5 or 7-step) as the linebackers take their drops, get square and
break on the ball. One LB intercepts the football while the other one blocks the closest

Coaching Details - Check stances and drop technique during the football linebacker drill.
Emphasize squaring up when the quarterback sets his feet.

Diamond Break Drill

This linebacker pass coverage drill is to improve

the opening of the hips and getting to the pass drop area

the reading of the quarterback's eyes and shoulders

the ability of the linebacker breaking to the ball

Place one cone 20 yards deep, and two cones 8 yards to the side and 12 yards deep. (see picture)

1. The Linebacker positions himself 4 yards in front of the Coach in a good linebacker stance.

2. The drill starts with the coach pointing the ball to one of the side cones. The linebacker opens up
and drops to that cone keeping the shoulders square.

3. Once he reaches the cone the coach will direct him to the deep cone.

4. When he reaches this cone the coach throws the ball to the left or right of the linebacker but in a
way that the pass is catchable for the linebacker.

5. The linebacker intercepts the ball, tucks it and sprints past the coach.

As players get better, the coach varies the type of pass and possible interception points, making it
never too easy for the linebacker to catch the pass.

Coaching Points
Make sure linebacker is in a good stance when the drill starts

Linebacker should get to the cones as fast as possible.

While dropping, the linebacker should keep his shoulders square and his eyes on the QB/coach.

When getting to the middle cone, react on the QB/coaches eyes and shoulder movement when
throwing the ball.

Keep eyes on the ball when catching and tucking away.

Full sprint past coach, slow down no sooner than being past the coach


3 cones


Angle interception
To improve actual angle to drop area. Aid in field awareness as well as reading QB's throwing
action for break to ball

Drill done with a defender in different position on the field relating to the hash marks or
numbers. Drop related to coverage and player drops to landmark on QB's drop. Player sets and
reacts accordingly to eyes and shoulder movement of QB.

Coaching Points
Make sure player does not continue to drift when QB sets. Player must shuffle to anticipate
throw with QB's shoulders and eyes looking in opposite direction. Be in football position to



eventually Quarterback(s)

Tip drill
To improve ability to break to a tipped pass and intercept it.

Let two LBs about 4-6 yards behind each other run towards the QB/Coach. The Passer throws
the ball over the head of the first LB but so that he still can reach it and tip it up in the air. The
second defender goes for the ball, intercepts it, calls out "Bingo", and then both sprint by the
Coaching Points
Stress intercepting high with arms, hands and fingers extended. Look the ball in and put it away.



eventually Quarterback

Break Drill
This Linebacker Interception Drill works on four phases:

The break on the Quarterback,

The correct break angle,

Concentrating on the ball, and

Catching the interception.


1. Put 2 cones about 10 yards apart on a line, and a "receiver" over each cone.

2. The Linebacker positions himself in the middle between the receivers about 2-3 yards in front of

3. The passer (coach) lines up about 10-12 yards in front of the linebacker.

4. Upon command the drill starts and the linebacker begins backpedaling and the passer steps towards
one of the "receivers" and throws (a slow high pass) to that "receiver".

5. The linebacker reads the passers step (and commitment) to the receiver and breaks towards that
receiver, catches the interception in front of the "receiver" and returns the ball past the
coach/passer in full sprint.

modification: start by putting the linebacker on a given spot, in hitting position moving his feet...

Coaching Points

good backpedal

no false steps on the break - plant foot immediately when passers steps

sprint in front of the receiver

keep eyes on the ball

catch ball at highes possible point - if the player can't catch the ball, at least he has to get a hand
on it deflecting or better: knocking it down

sprint past the coach



2 cones

Deflection Drill
This Linebacker Interception Drill works on four phases:

The quick break on the ball,

The proper angle of the break,

Focussing on the ball, and

Catching the deflection.


1. Put 2 cones about 10 yards apart on a line, and a "receiver" over each cone.

2. The Linebacker lines up right between the cones.

3. The coach or a passer lines up about 12 yards in front of the linebacker.

4. Upon command the linebacker starts backpedaling and the coach or passer steps towards one of the
"receivers" and throws (a slow pass) over the head of that "receiver" who will deflect the pass.

5. The linebacker reads the passers step (and commitment) to the receiver and breaks towards that
receiver, catches the deflection and sprints with the ball past the coach/passer.

modification: when introducing the drill put the linebacker in a more stationary position just
chopping his feet...

Coaching Points

good backpedal

plant foot for the break - no false steps

sprint to the receiver

keep eyes on the ball

sprint past the coach



2 cones

(Frequency: We will perform one of these drills one to two times per week)

Passrush technique drill

To develop good feeling and automatism for the different passrush techniques
Have LB pair up facing each other in a 2-point football position, designate one row as the
passrushers and the other as passblockers. Call the technique they should use (bull, rip, swim, ...)
and the side they should pass the blocker. On command the passblockers drop back like a
passblocker, and the passrusher close on them and use the correct technique to pass him. On the
whistle they reset, with changed designations.
This drill can be done with or without pads (without pads it's a good prepractice warm-up

Coaching Points
Since this is not a physical drill, hand quickness and correct technique is most important.

Close drill
To develop quickness and good body position while closing the distance between offensive
blocker while pass rushing.
Defensive linemen assume good pass rush stance on LOS, offensive linemen align off of
defenders approximatly 3 to 4 yards off of LOS. On snap of football the offensive linemen
shuffle straight back trying to avoid 'their' linebacker, while defenders close to 'their' offensive
lineman with good body lean and execute a pass rush technique when reaching OL.

Coaching Points

Good movement off of ball

Good body lean

Eyes on blocker

Make linebacker use a move. Equipment: Ball

LB v RB Gauntlet Doubled Sided Blitz/Blitz Pick Up (Rapid Fire


Many eyes on this drill. First time the pass rush technique is chosen by
coach, then we give them freedom.