There’s a good reason so many defensive coordinators are also coaching linebackers on their staff. The position is critical for High School and Youth Football defenses to stop the run. Many coaches put their best defender at an Inside Linebacker position.
If you’re fortunate enough to have a natural, instinctive linebacker to play the position then your job is easy. Just stay out of his way and don’t slow him down. For the rest of your guys, you need to coach.
Earlier this season on The Football Coaching Podcast, I shared the ASKA Principle that has become one of the core principles for our defensive coaching systems. On this week’s episode of the Football Coaching Podcast, we’re going in-depth on coaching linebackers using the ASKA Principle.
What is ASKA?
ASKA stands for Alignment, Stance, Key Reads and Assignment. It started as a pre-snap checklist (stolen from the TCU coaching staff) for our defensive players. It evolved to a checklist for the coaches, and then to the foundation of how each defensive position gets coached.
Each of those elements of ASKA gives you a lever to pull. By systematically seeking out weaknesses, and then pulling levers for solutions, you have constant improvement on your defense. Check out this podcast on Coaching the Levers Principle to learn more.
ASKA for Coaching Linebackers
When you’re coaching linebackers using ASKA, there’s a lot of levers you can pull. Check out these examples of levers to pull with your inside linebacker group:
- Alignment: Move your linebackers away from the line of scrimmage so they can flow to the football. Moving them closer makes them one-gap defenders, so you might as well put their hand in the dirt.
- Stance: Years ago, I made a simple adjustment in the way we coached linebacker stance to stop making false steps. I go in detail on that in this episode.
- Key Reads: Simplify your key reads if they’re not working. There’s usually too many if-then situations you’re giving your athletes if they’re not reading their keys. You can always start simple and build later. I detail both guard reads and linebacker reads in the episode.
- Assignment: You’ve got the most flexibility here. Changing the assignment can mean everything from a blitz call or coverage call, changing the front, or tons of other minor adjustments. Your most critical piece here is clearly defining the run fits using the Umbrella Principle.
Listen to this week’s episode of The Football Coaching Podcast using the player below, or subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts!