How to Block in Football
When learning how to block in football, it’s essential that you learn how to maintain proper stance and form for safety, not just for your safety, but for the safety of the quarterback and running back as well. The entire goal of learning how to block in football is protecting the football, and that happens by protecting your quarterback and running back from defensive pressure in the backfield.
- Know who you are blocking. If you take your place at the line of scrimmage and there is no one directly in front of you, then you must be prepared to block a linebacker. Depending on the scheme, linebackers can rush the quarterback or running back from the inside (between linemen) or from the outside (to the sides of the offensive line).
- Get into a proper three-point stance. With your feet shoulder-width apart, place one hand on the ground with the other arm on your thigh. Bend at the waist and knees, keeping your back parallel to the ground, your head up and your eyes on your man. When in this stance, be prepared to either drive your defender forward if you’re run blocking or hold your ground if pass blocking.
- To know how to block in football, you must know what kind of play the offense is running. If it is a running play, you will perform what is called a “run block,” meaning you try to drive the defensive line backwards in order to create a hole for your running back. If it is a passing play, you will be “pass blocking,” which means you will stay at the line of scrimmage and attempt to keep the defense from reaching your quarterback.
- Always explode upward from your stance. To execute a proper run block, spring up from your three-point stance while pushing your arms out and against the defender’s chest. To execute a proper pass block, take one or two steps back and push up and against the defender’s chest to keep him from breaking into the backfield.
- Focus on the chest. If you block too high around his shoulders, he’ll perform a “swim” move and blow by you. Aim lower than his chest and he can spin away and out of your block. The best spot to place your hands is on the defender’s chest where his shoulder pads end. Pressure applied here will interrupt his momentum and is not as easy to get out of as a block around the shoulders or stomach. This is how to block for maximum effect in football.
- Never stop moving. Always keep pushing with your legs and feet. You cannot execute a proper block, whether run or pass, by standing still.
- Keep your hands away from your defender's face. It will be tempting to want to grab the facemask of his helmet to keep him from getting around you. Avoid this at all costs. It will earn you a penalty and your team will be assessed a loss of yards on the play. Always keep your hands on his chest, never his face.
- If a defender does get by you, do not push his back. This is called “clipping.” The referee will penalize your team with a loss of yardage.
Follow through, even on blown assignments. If you want to learn how to block in football, one of the best things to learn is that if your defender gets by you, always follow him as he makes his way to the quarterback. Depending on how the situation develops, your quarterback may be able to scramble. Sometimes scrambling can allow you to make another block on your defender that will buy your quarterback time to throw the ball downfield or attempt a run.
- Never stop blocking. The most crucial thing to remember in how to block in football is that the only times you stop blocking are when your quarterback throws the ball or the referee whistles the play dead. Most plays last no more than ten seconds, but while you’re blocking it will feel like an hour. You’ll be tempted to ease up on your intensity. Always see a play through to the end.