OLine Skills At Home

A close friend bought a book for my son’s high school graduation that I have begun to read during our time shelter-in-place:  “The Obstacle Is The Way,” by Ryan Holiday. We all face life-altering obstacles but must find ways to overcome them and become better as a result.

Over the next few weeks, I will share drills offensive linemen can do to work on their OLine Skills at home.  This same information will be released through USA Football’s Coach and Coordinator podcast.

This week we will focus on Run Steps, Visual Targets, and Strike Points.

You will need a chair and your phone’s video camera.  The chair back should be at a minimum height of 36 inches.  It would be helpful, (with Mom and Dad’s permission of course!) to put pieces of tape in the middle representing a defender’s2020-04-02 Chair as OLine Target sternum as well as right third and left third representing defender’s numbers.  Place tape on the top back of the chair as it is in the photo.  The chair posts represent the defender’s shoulders.

Turn the chair so that you are facing the back of it.  Put the camera to the side so that your entire body is in view (Feet too) and hit “record.”  Align yourself with the chair on your right shoulder to start.  Then execute the following steps with visual targets and strike points:

  1. Base Left Step (vertical), Visual Target on the near third of chair (Red tape), Strike Points of near Post and Middle (Silver tape).
  2. Reach Right Step (vertical with lateral displacement), Visual Target on the middle of the chair (Silver), Strike Points of thirds (Red)
  3. Angle Right Step (forward step at 45-degree angle), Visual Target on the far third of chair (Red), Strike Points of Middle (Silver) and far Post.
  4. Bucket Right Step (drop step at 45-degree angle), Visual Target on the near third of chair (Red), Strike Points of near Post and Middle (Silver).

Repeat with the chair aligned on your left shoulder taking Base Right, Reach Left, Angle Left and Bucket Left steps and same visual targets and strike points.

Coaching Points when you view the video of your drill work:

  1. Every step you take should land in a Heal-to-Toe relationship.  When you step with your Right foot, your right heel should land in alignment with your left toes, then your Left footstep should land aligned with your Right toes and so on throughout the block.  That keeps Knees over Toes through the block.
  2. On the first step, the elbows are cocked back bringing thumb knuckles to your chest.  If you were wearing shoulder pads, you would bring “Knuckles to Buckles”.  This keeps elbows at an acute angle and defends your chest from the defender’s strike.
  3. Contact with the chair must occur on the grounding of the Second Step with an outward and upward movement.  The chair should slide away from you with all 4 legs in contact with the floor then rock upward on its front legs lifting back legs off the floor.

Viewing your video reinforces the correct steps, targets, strikes, and leverage of all of your run blocks and allows you to self-correct.  This obstacle is the way for you to master your OLine Skills.

Coach Rich Alercio is available to discuss coaching philosophy, X’s & O’s, or teach his O-Line “techniques in the trenches.” Contact Coach at richalercio@gmail.com and share http://www.olineskills.com with your colleagues and friends. Thanks for supporting this blog and joining our conversations, and as always, thanks for your time!

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