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Short Yardage Situations: Power Running Techniques

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    Sports Tips

Short Yardage Situations: Power Running Techniques

When the game is on the line and you need that crucial yard or two, effective power running can be the difference between moving the chains and a disappointing turnover on downs. Let's break down the essentials of effective power running in short-yardage situations, incorporating both player skills and coaching strategies.

Key Components of Power Running

  1. Pad Level
  2. Leverage
  3. Driving Through Contact

Pad Level

Maintaining a low pad level is crucial for power running. Lowering your pads helps reduce the target size for defenders and enables a runner to gain better balance and power.

Key Tips:

  • Bend at the Knees, Not the Waist: This keeps your center of gravity low and helps in absorbing contact.
  • Eyes Up: Always keep your head up to see openings and avoid dangerous collisions.

Coaching Wisdom:

  • Drill players with low-to-high contact drills to reinforce muscle memory for low pad level.
  • Use sled pushes where players maintain low pads to move the sled forward.


Leverage is about using your body's alignment and positioning to gain an advantage over defenders. This involves not just the runner but also the offensive linemen.

Key Tips:

  • Shoulder Placement: Aim to get your inside shoulder lower than the opponent's shoulder to gain leverage.
  • Hand Quickness: Quick, strong hands get positions faster, helping gain initial leverage.

Coaching Wisdom:

  • Incorporate one-on-one trench drills where focus is on gaining and maintaining leverage.
  • Emphasize joint alignments during repetitions to make movements instinctual.

Driving Through Contact

Effective power running isn't just about the first hit; it's about continuing to drive forward through contact.

Key Tips:

  • Churning Legs: Keep your legs moving at all times. Power through would-be tacklers.
  • Core Strength: Strengthen your core to better absorb and drive through contact.

Coaching Wisdom:

  • Practice with resistance bands to simulate driving through tackles.
  • Engage them in "finishing the run" drills where players must continue running through padded gauntlets.

Advanced Techniques and Strategies

The Importance of Double Teams

Double-teaming a key defensive lineman can create easier running lanes. Here's a simple way to visualize double teams:

Offensive LineAssignment
LTStabilize DE with LG assistance
LGDouble team DT with C assistance
CDouble team DT then move to 2nd level
RGEngage opposite DT
RTBlock DE

Utilization of the Fullback

Fullbacks are often key to power running schemes. Their role is to lead block and clear pathways for the running back.

Tips for Fullbacks:

  • Target Identification: Quickly determine which linebacker to block.
  • Speed and Timing: Hit the hole swiftly but under control to effectively block.


By mastering pad level, leveraging your body, and effectively driving through contact, you set yourself up for success in critical short-yardage situations. Coaches, reinforcing these techniques through targeted drills and drills, can see improvements in their power running game.

For athletes, dedicated effort in maintaining these fundamentals can turn those crucial "one or two yard" gains into game-changing moments. Now, go hit the practice field and turn these strategies into muscle memory!

If you enjoyed this article and found these tips helpful, be sure to check out our other posts on advanced football techniques and strategies. Drop a comment or email us at contact@example.com for any questions or feedback!