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Leverage and Hand Placement: Winning the Battle in the Trenches

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Leverage and Hand Placement: Winning the Battle in the Trenches

When it comes to football, the action often starts and ends in the trenches. The offensive and defensive lines are where games are won or lost, and for offensive linemen, mastering leverage and hand placement is paramount. Let's break down these critical techniques with tips and tricks from both player perspectives and coaching insights.

Understanding Leverage

Leverage is all about using your body position to gain an advantage over your opponent. A lower center of gravity often means better leverage. Here's a quick look at the essentials:

Key Elements of Leverage

Pad LevelMaintaining a low pad level helps in getting under the defender's pads.
BaseA wide, stable base gives you more power and balance.
Knee BendBending at the knees, not the waist, keeps your center of gravity low.
Angle of AttackYour initial step and attack angle determine the success of your leverage.

Coaching Wisdom

  1. Drill Work: Integrate sled drills to practice low pad levels and simulate game situations.
  2. Film Review: Regularly review game and practice films to identify leverage issues and correct them.

Player Tips

  1. Stay Low: Remember the saying, "low man wins." Keep your pads below the defender's.
  2. Explode Upward: Use your hips to explode upward into the defender, driving them back.

Mastering Hand Placement

Proper hand placement can make or break a block. It's about where and how you place your hands to control the defender.

Key Elements of Hand Placement

Inside HandsHands inside the defender's frame allow for better control and less holding calls.
Thumbs UpKeeping thumbs up helps in exerting maximum force and grip.
Strike PointTarget the defender's breastplate for optimal leverage and control.
Resetting HandsIf the defender swats your hands away, quickly resetting them is crucial.

Coaching Wisdom

  1. Hand Fighting Drills: Practice hand fighting to develop quick and effective hand placement techniques.
  2. Target Practice: Use strike pads to improve accuracy and consistency in hand placement.

Player Tips

  1. Quick Hands: Develop quick hands to get inside position before the defender does.
  2. Maintenance: Constantly work on hand strength and dexterity with grip exercises.

Combining Leverage and Hand Placement

The ultimate goal is to blend leverage with hand placement, creating a seamless technique that controls the defender. Practice combining both aspects in live drills and simulated game scenarios.

Example Drill: The Gauntlet

  1. Setup: Line up sleds or dummies in a row to simulate a defensive front.
  2. Execution: Fire off the line, focusing on low pad level (leverage) and proper hand placement on each dummy.
  3. Repetition: Repeat with increasing resistance and complexity to build muscle memory and confidence.

Final Thoughts

Winning the battle in the trenches takes dedication, technique, and constant improvement. By mastering leverage and hand placement, offensive linemen can control the game and lead their team to victory. Remember, practice makes perfect, and reviewing each technique through film and drills ensures that these skills become second nature.

Stay low, stay strong, and dominate the trenches!