Linemen are players who specializes in play at the line of scrimmage. Football drills for offensive linemen and defensive linemen need powerful lower bodies to push, block and outmaneuver other players and make more tackles.
The offensive linemen on the offense team currently in possession of the ball, while the defensive linemen are on the opposing team and on the defensive line. The linemen of the team currently in possession of the ball are the offensive line, while linemen on the opposing team are the defensive line.
Football Drills For Offensive Linemen
The duties of the offense line boils down to one objective; block the opposing team. This could involve blocking the defense to create holes for a linebacker to get through or merely to protect the quarterback. As rules state a player can hold the other, those on the offense line must have extremely powerful lower bodies to propel their body and a powerful upper body to push and block.
Unlike other positions who can run and turn, an offensive lineman’s play starts immediately upon the snap. This is because they almost always make contact with a defensive lineman mere milliseconds after jumping out of their initial stance. Therefore, their ability to be comfortable and solid in their starting stance is crucial.
- Have a lineman get into a 3 point stance
- Focus on perfecting the form
- To increase difficulty, have players lunge towards them to mimic play.
Set and Punch
Once an offensive lineman pops out of their stance, they almost always immediately deliver a powerful block. This is taught with the set and punch drill to help a lineman deliver the first blow and dominate the encounter.
- A lineman will line up on the line of scrimmage while another player with a bag lines up on either the left or right shoulder
- Upon snap, the lineman will step towards the athlete with the leg nearest. At the same time, they will be pushing off hard with the other leg
- The lineman will then deliver a powerful punch to the middle of the bad
- Focus on staying low and delivering the punch with an open palm.
An offensive lineman’s job is to block the defense, which does not always come straightforward. Mirroring drills help optimize lateral movements of a lineman to move side-to-side to get in position to block.
- Have a lineman and linebacker face each other on opposite sides of a line
- Instruct the running back to move back and forth laterally
- The lineman will need to move back and stay in front of the running back
- For more advanced players, instruct the running back to try and juke the lineman. They can then try to get past forcing the lineman to block him.
Barrel drills hammer home the importance of making contact low on a defensive player. An offensive lineman will hit and drive a barrel off the line of scrimmage. If the barrel falls over, it means they hit too high.
- Place a barrel on the opposite side of a lineman on the line of scrimmage
- Upon a snap, the lineman will hit the barrel low and push it
- If hit too high, the barrel will fall over.
Linemen are the biggest players on the team by far. However, they still need to move quickly to get into or adjust their blocking position. Some plays will even require linemen to run down the line to make blocks. The shuttle drill is a highly effective drill to improve this capability.
- Set up two cones about 5yds away from each other
- The lineman will start at a position located 5yds to the side of a cone and 5yds back
- Upon a whistle, the lineman will sprint forward 5yds, turn around, and sprint back
- The lineman will turn around again and now sprint towards the first cone
- He will loop around the cone and then sprint to the next
- Once at the cone, the lineman will loop around the cone and run back towards the outside of the other cone
- He will then sprint forward 5 yds.
The Most Effective Football Drills For Defensive Linemen
While the offensive line just needs to block, a defensive lineman must break through the line, outmaneuver other defensive players and make tackles. These positions are extremely demanding and require very high levels of athleticism from extremely large players.
The best way for a defensive lineman to win against an offensive lineman is not to make solid contact. Hand fighting drills will train this by blocking the offensive players’ hands to minimize the effect of their pushing.
- Have a defensive lineman and offensive lineman lineup on the line of scrimmage facing towards one another
- Instruct the offensive player to try and punch or push the defensive players chest
- The defensive player will then block the hands to avoid being hit
- Advanced versions can add arm rips and other moves
As the offense will do everything they can do to stop a tackle from happening, a defensive lineman can expect to come across multiple block attempts as they pursue the ball carrier. Shedding blocks trains the ability to handle a block and keep moving.
- Set a defensive lineman on the line of scrimmage in their stance
- Line up 3 blockers on the other side
- The blockers should be spaced going out going down the field and at an angle to represent layers of blocking
- Upon snap, the lineman will start moving at an angle and will be met by the first block
- They must take the block and evade to keep moving out at an angle
- This continues with the second and third blocker
- You can add a dummy which the lineman must tackle at the end
Punch and Evade
This is similar to the “Set and punch” drill for the offensive lineman as making first contact is important for both players. However, instead of punching to stop a player, the defense used a punch to throw the offense player off balance to avoid the block and move around them to make the tackle.
- Places lineman on the line of scrimmage with a coach holding a bag lined up on either the left or right shoulder
- Upon a snap, the coach will move towards the lineman with the bag extended out
- The lineman will deliver a powerful punch to the middle of the bag
- Once the blow is delivered, they will cut around the bag and get through
- You can add a dummy to tackle for extra practice.
The sack drill is an excellent agility drill to mimic real-game obstacles. To do this, you can use a combination of bags, cones, and a stand-up dummy. The bags and cones can be set up in various formations, which the athlete must maneuver through before finally making the tackle on the stand-up dummy.
- Place bags and cones information or your choice. For example, line up four bags, 4 cones, and a dummy in succession with about 2yds on between each object
- Have the lineman start in their stance
- Upon a whistle or snap, the defenseman will run forward to the obstacles.
- The lineman will use high knees over the bags and then swerve around the cones
- The drill ends with the lineman tackling the dummy
The scramble drill is really an advanced version of the sack drill and uses three bags, one cone, one stand-up dummy, and a football.
- The three bags and cones are set up in a staggered formation going down the field with about 3-4 yds of separation apart.
- The lineman will start in a 4-point stance. Upon a whistle, they will bear crawl around the three bags weaving from left to right
- After the third bag, the lineman will get up and sprint around the cone, hit the dummy, and then recover a “fumble”.