Published on

Pass Protection Drills: Building Strength and Technique

  • avatar
    Sports Tips

Pass Protection Drills: Building Strength and Technique

When it comes to football, especially for offensive linemen, pass protection is a critical skill. The key is not only in raw power but also in refined technique and sharp hand-eye coordination. Whether you're a coach looking to give your players the edge or an athlete aiming to elevate your game, mastering these drills is essential. Let's dive into some of the top drills that can help build the holy trinity of pass protection: strength, technique, and hand-eye coordination.

Drill 1: The Punch and Set Drill

Objective: Enhance the initial strike and footwork during pass protection.

How to do it:

  1. Set Up: Two linemen face each other; one is the defender, the other the offensive lineman.
  2. Execution: On signal, the offensive lineman practices the "punch" – a quick, powerful jab with the hands, aiming to hit the defender's chest.
  3. Footwork: Simultaneously, the offensive lineman takes a retreating step, focusing on maintaining balance and body positioning.
Key FocusDescription
Hand PlacementStrike with palms, thumbs up, and fingers spread.
FootworkQuick, short steps, maintaining a wide base.
BalanceKeep a low center of gravity to absorb the defender’s push.

Drill 2: The Mirror Drill

Objective: Improve foot speed, lateral movement, and balance.

How to do it:

  1. Setup: Two players, one offensive lineman and one "shadow," face each other.
  2. Execution: The shadow moves randomly side-to-side, forward, or backward.
  3. Objective: The offensive lineman mirrors every move with quick, responsive steps.
Key FocusDescription
AgilityQuick, reactive steps without crossing feet.
Body ControlMaintain a low stance and balance.
Eyes on HipsFocus on the shadow’s hips to read movements.

Drill 3: The Resistance Band Drill

Objective: Build explosive strength and hand-eye coordination.

How to do it:

  1. Setup: Attach resistance bands to a firm anchor. Players place the other end around their waist.
  2. Execution: Players perform their pass protection sets against the resistance.
  3. Optional: Use a pad to simulate the defender’s pressure.
Key FocusDescription
ExplosivenessDrive off the line with power from the hips and thighs.
Hand TechniqueUse quick, forceful punches to manage the defender.
Core StrengthEngage core muscles to maintain stability under resistance.

Drill 4: The Pass Rush Drill

Objective: Real-time application of pass protection skills against a live defender.

How to do it:

  1. Setup: Align one offensive lineman against one defensive lineman.
  2. Execution: On signal, the defensive lineman rushes towards the offensive lineman, who must use learned techniques to protect the "quarterback."
  3. Repetition: Switch roles to ensure comprehensive skill development.
Key FocusDescription
Real-time SpeedSimulate game-speed rushes.
AdjustmentsPractice real-time correction of technique.
Competitive EdgeFoster a competitive environment to replicate game pressure.

Coaching Wisdom

Emphasis on Fundamentals

  • Footwork: Teach linemen to take short, choppy steps, keeping their feet under their shoulders to maintain balance and power.
  • Hand Placement: Correct hand placement is crucial – aim for the chest plate, not the shoulders or helmet.
  • Eyes: Keep eyes on the defender’s torso, not the head or shoulders, to better predict movements.


  • Begin with individual drills focusing on technique.
  • Gradually introduce resistance and dynamic movements.
  • Finally, simulate live-game scenarios to consolidate skills under pressure.

Player Development Tips

  • Consistency: Encourage daily practice of these drills.
  • Strength Training: Complement drills with a robust strength training regimen.
  • Film Study: Review footage to identify improvement areas and reinforce proper techniques.

By incorporating these pass protection drills into your training regimen, you can significantly enhance your players' ability to shield the quarterback, maintain offensive tempo, and dominate the trenches. Mastery doesn't come overnight, but with dedicated practice, you're sure to see marked improvement in both individual performance and overall line cohesion.