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Three powerful blocks to stop the opponent

This is an excerpt from Football: Steps to Success edited by Greg Colby.


View more information about performing successful blocks in
Football: Steps to Success.

Pass-Protection Block

Pass-protection blocks are designed to stop the pass rush of a defender by getting between the quarterback and the rusher. There are several types of pass blocks, including the drop-back, sprint-out, and turn-protection block. All have common traits that occur once the blocker is in position to make the block.

The blocker must have a balanced stance, with one foot back at about a heel-to-toe relationship with his other foot. He needs to be in a good football stance with his knees bent. The blocker must keep his head up and back slightly arched forward with his weight over his toes. Probably the most important part of the stance is the head position and not being bent at the waist with the chest tilted toward the ground, which negatively affects balance.

The blocker must maintain balance and be able to move his feet quickly to stay between the rusher and the quarterback.

The actual block is with the hands. The blocker uses a punching action aimed at the pass rusher’s chest. His hands should be held close so they make contact inside the rusher’s shoulders. After each punch, the blocker slightly gives ground, which allows him to reestablish proper body balance between contact. When the rusher approaches again, the blocker repeats the punch and give of ground. In effect, the blocker is buying time for the quarterback by slowing the rusher down long enough for the quarterback to release the pass. During this punch and give sequence, the blocker must keep his back turned to the quarterback.

Drop-Back Pass Block

Part of the drop-back pass block involves the initial footwork to get in position. On the snap, the blocker quickly shuffles back several steps to establish his balanced position and prepare for contact with the pass rusher. By giving ground, the blocker gives himself time to get balanced and see what the rusher is attempting to do.

Another key element in the blocker’s initial movement is that he should never shuffle to the outside as he gives ground. This opens up an inside rushing lane for the defender, which is more direct to the quarterback. The blocker should always attempt to make the rusher go around to the outside in his path to the quarterback.

Sprint-Out and Turn-Protection Blocks

In the sprint-out and turn-protection pass blocks, the difference is in the initial setup and body position in relation to the defender. In the sprint-out pass, the quarterback runs to a throwing position outside the offensive blocker. Thus the blocker must first shuffle a step or two in that direction to get an angle on the rusher. The blocker then keeps his back to the quarterback and stays in his position between the quarterback and rusher.

In turn protection, the offensive blocker usually pivots his body in place at about a 45-degree angle to turn and pass-block the gap to the side he’s now facing. The main difference in the two blocks is in the blocker’s initial steps. The final part of both blocks is identical.

Blocking Drill 1 Six-Point Explosion

The blocker starts on his knees with his hands on the ground directly in front of his knees. His feet should be on the ground with his toes pulled up under his feet. On the coach’s command, the blocker forcefully brings his hands up to a blocking position while rolling his hips forward. He should end up with his body extended forward at a 45-degree angle to the ground. He pushes off with his feet and keeps his knees in contact with the ground.

The blocker can strike a sled pad, block another player lined up across from him, or simply extend forward as if blocking air.

The blocker should follow through by fully extending his body and landing on the ground on his abdomen and chest.

Success Check

  • Head and eyes are up throughout the drill.
  • The arms are extended on contact with thumbs up and fingers to the side.
  • Hips roll forward as contact is made.
  • The body is fully extended and flat on the ground at the end.

Blocking Drill 2 Four-Point Explosion

The four-point explosion drill is very similar to the six-point explosion drill, but here the blocker starts with knees on the ground and hands resting on his thighs. His toes are up under his feet as in the six-point drill. On the coach’s command, the blocker brings his hands up to strike his target (a sled, another man, or a pad). As he strikes the target, the blocker rolls his hips forward, extends his upper body, and pushes off with his feet, keeping his knees on the ground. This works the same fundamentals as the six-point drill but emphasizes rolling the hips forward without the help of the body lean to begin with.

Success Check

  • Head and eyes are up throughout the drill.
  • Arms are extended on contact with thumbs up and fingers to the side.
  • Hips roll forward as contact is made.
  • Body is fully extended and flat on the ground after contact.

Read more from Football: Steps to Success edited by Greg Colby.



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Greg Colby shares his vast coaching experience in this new addition to the popular Steps to Success series. Colby’s progressive instruction for all of the game’s fundamental skills, along with 58 drills, helps players master the basics so they can take the field with confidence.
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Greg Colby shares his vast coaching experience in this new addition to the popular Steps to Success series. Colby’s progressive instruction for all of the game’s fundamental skills, along with 58 drills, helps players master the basics so they can take the field with confidence.
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