Linebacker Drills – Mastering the Basics for Beginners!

Linebacker Drills

Linebacker drills were a game-changer for me, sharpening my tackling and coverage skills to excel on the field. With consistent practice, I improved as a linebacker, gaining confidence and making impactful plays during games. 

Linebacker drills are essential for football players to master the skills needed for this critical defensive position. From tackling to coverage, these exercises are designed to enhance speed, strength, and technique.

We’ll explore a range of linebacker drills, providing actionable tips for players at every level. Let’s get started on improving your linebacker game.

What Are Linebacker Drills? – Briefly Explain!

Linebacker drills are a cornerstone of football training, providing players with targeted exercises to enhance their performance in the linebacker position. These drills encompass a wide range of activities aimed at developing the fundamental skills and techniques required to excel on the defensive side of the ball.

One of the primary focuses of linebacker drills is tackling. Linebackers are often called upon to make crucial tackles in the open field, requiring proper technique and timing to bring down opposing ball carriers effectively. Tackling drills typically involve practicing different types of tackles, such as form tackles, angle tackles, and pursuit tackles, to ensure linebackers are prepared for any situation they may encounter during a game.

In addition to tackling, linebacker drills also emphasize coverage skills. Linebackers are responsible for covering tight ends, running backs, and even wide receivers in pass coverage, making it essential for them to possess strong coverage abilities. Coverage drills often involve practicing zone drops, man-to-man coverage techniques, and recognizing route patterns to improve linebackers’ ability to defend against the pass effectively.

Block Destruction – Shock and Shed Drill!

Developing linebackers in youth football goes beyond just stopping the run; they must excel in coverage and versatility. Whether covering tight ends or receivers, linebackers need to be the team’s top athletes, capable of fulfilling various roles. Our approach prioritizes building the linebacker unit from the inside out, with the most skilled player in the middle, the best athlete on the field, and the next best on the short side.

Linebacker Drills : Block Destruction

A key aspect we emphasize in training is block destruction, essential for linebackers to excel on the field. Our primary technique, “shock and shed,” teaches linebackers to deliver a forceful blow to the blocker, disengage, and make the tackle. 

This skill is crucial, especially for inside linebackers facing constant pressure from offensive linemen. While inside linebackers focus on this technique, outside linebackers utilize a “dip and rip” approach, emphasizing containment and disruption. Our drills prioritize mastering these techniques to prepare young linebackers for success on game day.

Fundamental Linebacker Skills and Techniques

  • Tackling: Master various tackling techniques including form tackles, angle tackles, and pursuit tackles.
  • Coverage: Develop skills to cover tight ends, running backs, and sometimes wide receivers, understanding route concepts, and maintaining proper positioning.
  • Block Shedding: Learn techniques like “shock and shed” or “rip and swim” to disengage from blockers and pursue the ball carrier effectively.
  • Reading Plays: Improve football IQ to quickly read offensive plays, recognize blocking schemes, and anticipate the direction of the ball.
  • Pass Rushing: Develop pass-rushing techniques such as speed rushes, bull rushes, and pass-rush moves to pressure the quarterback.
  • Communication: Serve as the defensive signal-caller, effectively communicating with teammates for proper alignment and execution.
  • Football Intelligence: Understand offensive formations, tendencies, and situational awareness to anticipate plays and make decisive decisions on the field.

Cutback Drill – Developing Agility and Adaptability!

Overcommitment to pursuit is a common mistake for linebackers. Opposing players often change direction abruptly, requiring linebackers to stay agile and adjust their path quickly. The cutback drill helps linebackers develop this agility and adaptability.


1. Setup:

  • Use four cones to create a large square with sides about 10 yards apart, representing the area of play.
  • Position a linebacker and a running back on cones opposite each other.

2. Drill Execution:

  • Upon the whistle signal, the running back sprints hard at an angle, simulating a play.
  • At any moment, the running back changes direction suddenly, executing a cutback.
  • The linebacker must react swiftly, adjusting their pursuit angle, and make contact with the running back for a mock tackle.

This drill emphasizes the importance of maintaining agility and readiness to respond to sudden changes in the flow of the game, ensuring linebackers are prepared to make crucial tackles in real-game situations.

Why Linebacker Drills Are Important – Enhancing Performance and Preparedness!

1. Skill Development: 

Linebackers require a diverse skill set encompassing tackling, coverage, agility, and situational awareness. Drills allow players to hone these skills in a controlled environment, improving their technique and proficiency over time.

2. Game Readiness: 

Football is a dynamic sport with constantly changing situations. Linebacker drills simulate real-game scenarios, preparing players to react quickly and effectively on the field. By practicing specific movements and techniques repeatedly, linebackers become more instinctive and prepared for game situations.

3. Physical Conditioning: 

Many linebacker drills involve intense physical exertion, helping players build strength, speed, and endurance. This physical conditioning is essential for withstanding the rigors of a football game and maintaining peak performance throughout all four quarters.

4. Team Cohesion: 

Linebackers often work closely with other defensive players, requiring seamless communication and coordination. Drills encourage teamwork and foster camaraderie among players, enhancing overall defensive cohesion and effectiveness.

5. Confidence Building: 

Mastering linebacker drills instills confidence in players, knowing they have the skills and preparation to perform at a high level. Confidence is crucial for linebackers to trust their instincts and make split-second decisions on the field without hesitation.

6. Injury Prevention: 

Proper technique is crucial for preventing injuries in football, especially in high-impact positions like linebackers. By emphasizing correct form and tackling technique in drills, coaches can help reduce the risk of injuries and keep players safe during practices and games.

Key Factors and Features of Effective Linebacker Drills – Read Important Points!

1. Realism: 

Drills should simulate game-like situations as closely as possible, providing players with experiences that mirror the challenges they will face on the field. Realistic drills help players develop skills and decision-making abilities that translate directly to game situations.

2. Progression: 

Drills should progress in difficulty over time, challenging players to continuously improve and develop their skills. Starting with basic techniques and gradually increasing complexity allows players to build upon their foundation and advance their abilities.

3. Variety: 

Incorporating a variety of drills targeting different skills and scenarios ensures that players receive well-rounded training. From tackling and coverage drills to agility and reaction drills, variety keeps practices engaging and addresses all aspects of linebacker play.

4. Repetition: 

Repetition is essential for skill acquisition and mastery. Effective drills should provide ample opportunities for players to practice techniques repeatedly, reinforcing muscle memory and improving proficiency over time.

5. Feedback: 

Providing constructive feedback during drills allows players to understand their strengths and areas for improvement. Coaches should offer specific feedback on technique, positioning, and decision-making to help players refine their skills and make necessary adjustments.

6. Adaptability: 

Drills should be adaptable to accommodate players of different skill levels and abilities. Coaches should tailor drills to meet the needs of individual players, ensuring that everyone receives appropriate challenges and opportunities for growth.


1. What skills do linebacker drills target?

Linebacker drills target a range of skills including tackling, coverage, block shedding, reading plays, pass rushing, communication, and football intelligence.

2. How often should linebacker drills be conducted?

Linebacker drills should be conducted regularly as part of a comprehensive training program. The frequency of drills may vary depending on factors such as the level of play, the time of year (offseason vs. regular season), and the individual player needs.

3. Can linebacker drills be adapted for different skill levels?

Yes, linebacker drills can and should be adapted to accommodate players of different skill levels and abilities. Coaches can modify drills to provide appropriate challenges and opportunities for growth for players at all levels.


linebacker drills are essential for football players to improve their skills and readiness for the game. These drills help players develop their abilities, work better as a team, and stay safe on the field.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *