How to Defeat a Block | FBCP S09E07

If your players can defeat a block and make a tackle, you have a pretty good defense. The simplest defensive scheme will still win a lot of games if you can do that.

Every coach spends a lot of time on teaching tackling technique. You invest hours in the off-season studying how to be better tacklers. You run angle tackling, open field tackling, tackling approach drills, fit tackles… OK, you work hard at tackling.

For some reason, how to defeat a block does not get the same attention. Lots of coaches have been teaching the same techniques for years. And the truth is, they don’t work. Watch most high school football defenses and you can count on one hand the number of true ‘Block Destructs’ you’ll see.

This episode of The Football Coaching Podcast breaks down how to coach up your players to defeat a block. Find out the Coach Simple approach to getting your players to the point of attack without having to just hope the offense makes a mistake.

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Why Defeating a Block is Important

  • Teach your players that on any play, they must defeat a block to make a tackle. They should expect to do that. The only time they are not blocked is when the offense makes a mistake.
  • Most high school football players are not good at defeating blocks. I learned this when recruiting linebackers in college coaching. Lots of guys could run in and hit. Not many showed the ability to defeat a block.
  • With good key reads and the ability to defeat a block, you can play a more vanilla defense. You do not have to call blitzes based on offensive tendencies – where if you guess wrong, you have fewer players at the point of attack.

3 Techniques to Defeat a Block

  • You can defeat a block using your hands. The most common application here is the ‘shock and shed’ type of block destruction. You punch the blocker with your hands and extend the arms. Just as you are about to lock your arms out, pull him to the side.
  • Many coaches teach the ‘flipper’ or Big Surface block destruct. The Big Surface is the front deltoid, pectoral, bicep, and forearm of the defender. Defeat a block by driving into the man with the shoulder, then separate off his body by driving the big surface up through the blocker. The movement is similar to the power clean in the weight room.
  • The Rip Move is probably the simplest way to defeat a block. As the blocker approaches, the defender makes himself skinny by opening the inside hip, grabbing grass and then punching the sky with his inside arm. He takes away the blocking surface this way.

The Coach Simple Method to Defeat a Block

  • I have taught every single one of these methods to defeat a block. Of course, that was all too much for me. I need the 80/20 of block destruction.
  • We teach every player on the defense to use the rip move. The original reason was that we were too small in most positions to Shock & Shed or Big Surface the blocker. Besides that, we rarely saw it executed well.
  • The Rip Move is decisive. You are not squaring up a blocker and giving him a 2-way go. You make the decision. That’s a risk if you do not have proper run fits established. Our players know if they are spill, force or alley defenders. They know which way they should defeat the block to maintain that leverage.

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