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Teaching a Center to block after the snap  

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JustPlay
(@rjbthor)
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Joined: 7 years ago
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October 10, 2019 12:19 pm  

Gents I think our team is missing an opportunity with our center. He is a good kid but snaps and sits back more often then not. I came from a center snap and go get the MLB world. Any idea how to train a center to snap and then block? we only have 4 games left but why not add to his skill set?

Currently he has zero blocking responsibility. The most asked of him is to assist weak side after snap.

nothing replaces effort. nothing replaces the mind. One with out the other is a waste of time.


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blockandtackle
(@coacharnold)
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October 10, 2019 4:03 pm  

Gents I think our team is missing an opportunity with our center. He is a good kid but snaps and sits back more often then not. I came from a center snap and go get the MLB world. Any idea how to train a center to snap and then block? we only have 4 games left but why not add to his skill set?

Currently he has zero blocking responsibility. The most asked of him is to assist weak side after snap.

How are you making a Wing-T offense work without the C blocking anyone?  The Wing-T was literally created from the Single Wing in part because the old-school Single Wing Cs were ineffective blockers because they had their head down and looking back between their legs when they snapped.  Being under center allowed the C to just snap the ball and get out to block.

You'd teach him the same techniques, basically, as any other OL.  He needs to snap, then step into his block and use the exact techniques and apply whatever rules he is assigned in the blocking scheme.  What plays are you running?  Does he have to fill backside A gap for a pulling G or are you guys doing more base blocking?

Most traditional Wing-T teams would teach the basic plays as:

Buck Sweep--scoop block play side A gap
Buck Trap--downblock backside A gap to fill for the pulling backside G
Waggle--scoop block playside A gap just like Buck Sweep
Counter--downblock backside A gap to fill for the pulling backside G
Belly XB--scoop block playside A gap
Jet/Rocket/Power/Belly Sweep--scoop block playside A gap

Basically, if there's a DL in his assigned gap, he gets his head in front and facemark to the opposite thigh board to block him.  If there's no DL in that gap, he steps that way (in case someone stunts into it) and then runs a track to the MLB and blocks the first thing that shows.


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CoachDP
(@coachdp)
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October 10, 2019 10:29 pm  

Currently he has zero blocking responsibility. The most asked of him is to assist weak side after snap.

If he has "zero blocking responsibility," then why would you waste practice time teaching him how to block?

It'd be like using practice time to kick extra points when you always go for the 2-point conversion.

Sounds like you should change your "scheme," before asking a player to do something that's not relevant to the play.

--Dave

"The Greater the Teacher, the More Powerful the Player."

The Mission Statement: "I want to show any young man that he is far tougher than he thinks, that he can accomplish more than what he dreamed and that his work ethic will take him wherever he wants to go."

#BattleReady newhope


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Seabass
(@seabass)
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October 11, 2019 6:34 am  

I had never heard of a lineman not having a blocking assignment. You are playing 10 on 11 every play...you might re-think that.

I teach our center’s to snap and “step” (although I don’t use the word step with them) simultaneously....or one fluid motion.

I was always a “get the snap first” guy because that’s what I had always heard coaches say. Until one day, I heard a coach make a argument why the should be done together AND it’s not actually all that hard. Of course, I had to try it myself and it felt very natural.


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CoachDP
(@coachdp)
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October 11, 2019 7:13 am  

I had never heard of a lineman not having a blocking assignment.

--C'mon Josh, you've never heard of "block somebody?"

You are playing 10 on 11 every play...you might re-think that.

"My Center won't block!"
 
--"Does he have an assignment?

"No."

--"Does he rep any blocking?"

"No, but my Center won't block!"

--Dave

"The Greater the Teacher, the More Powerful the Player."

The Mission Statement: "I want to show any young man that he is far tougher than he thinks, that he can accomplish more than what he dreamed and that his work ethic will take him wherever he wants to go."

#BattleReady newhope


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terrypjohnson
(@terrypjohnson)
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October 11, 2019 7:25 am  

My suggestion is to make a competition out of it.

We run mostly Single Wing and play in a league where no one can line up in the A Gap. For the first few practices, our center wouldn't hit anyone; he just stood there. We didn't catch it at first because our LT did such a good job cut blocking. However, when we ran left, it stuck out like a sore thumb because the DG was running the TB down (RT is a lot slower and couldn't make the cut).

At that point, I challenged him. We reward big hits and tackles for losses with pride stickers. I told him that a coach would be watching him every play and if he put a big hit on someone, he'd be rewarded like a big hit or a TFL. He loved the idea and responded with three big hits and two pancakes! It's to the point now where he's so eager to make a big hit that he occasionally rushes the snap.

This worked for me... I hope it works for you.


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CoachDP
(@coachdp)
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October 11, 2019 8:23 am  

He loved the idea and responded with three big hits and two pancakes!

Halloween-sized Nestle Crunch bars.  It was a great idea when I coached youth ball and an even better idea when I was a high school header.  You'd have thought they'd won the Heisman.

--Dave

"The Greater the Teacher, the More Powerful the Player."

The Mission Statement: "I want to show any young man that he is far tougher than he thinks, that he can accomplish more than what he dreamed and that his work ethic will take him wherever he wants to go."

#BattleReady newhope


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CoachDP
(@coachdp)
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October 11, 2019 8:30 am  

Many coaches make the mistake of having their Center rep snaps against air while only snapping the ball.  Our Center gets 150 consecutive snaps every practice (3 groups of 50).  Of the first 130 snaps, he executes the snap, the footwork and our blocking techniques.  He'll execute down blocks to the left and right as well as the base block and fork lift.  For the final 20, he'll face a live Nose Tackle and then a double team, who simply work against him to try to cause a bad snap. 

Of course when we first teach our Center, we teach him how to block before we ever put a ball in his hands to snap.

--Dave

"The Greater the Teacher, the More Powerful the Player."

The Mission Statement: "I want to show any young man that he is far tougher than he thinks, that he can accomplish more than what he dreamed and that his work ethic will take him wherever he wants to go."

#BattleReady newhope


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Bob Goodman
(@bob-goodman)
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October 11, 2019 9:47 am  

I coach wing T with 11Us also.  However, whichever system I coach in, it's still a step-by-step process.  Of course you realize by now that should've started pre-season, but you still have time to coach him up in a week.

First practice snaps against air...but you've already got that down.

Next practice with an opposing DL giving him a shot as he snaps.  That's more for systems like single wing, but I rep a little of this regardless.

Then snap and step (simultaneously) against air.  Finally snap and block.  In the meantime, though, he should be getting blocking reps with the rest of the OL.

Depending on his quickness, you may have to modify the steps for the snapper depending on the direction of the play, because it's easier to step off the foot on the same side as the dominant hand if you're snapping with it -- or even if you're snapping with both hands.  Therefore it's easier to take the first step with the foot on the non-dominant side.  So if your snapper's right handed and not unusually quick, you may find it advantageous to have him take his first step with his left foot regardless of whether he's blocking left or right.  If he's blocking left, no problem, normal first step.  If his blocking rightward, it's a crossover step, and then a compensating swing with the second step to get butt towards the hole.  You won't get as good a block in the "wrong" direction, but you'll get something.  You may want to reduce the C-G split on the C's dominant hand side.

How have you been running wing T without the snapper blocking?  Have you been using unbalanced line or getting a tackle to cover for a puller?  Have you made some of the line splits smaller than most wing T systems would?


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JustPlay
(@rjbthor)
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Joined: 7 years ago
Posts: 524
October 12, 2019 2:38 pm  

Gents - I am the DC. I recognized that he was not being utilized. So I wanted to add a some additional responsibilities. He was an OT for a few weeks before we made the move to center. We run an unbalanced line. Most everything is 24 or 26. This week we went Offset I and it helped get us down hill much faster. We did play lesser team, but the center was able to effectively double team and move some players.

These last few weeks I have put 1/2 quick small kids firing in the A gaps. It has really helped him with his snap quickness and his confidence to know he could do more.

DP - what is the footwork for a center? say off tackle right?

nothing replaces effort. nothing replaces the mind. One with out the other is a waste of time.


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CoachDP
(@coachdp)
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October 12, 2019 5:21 pm  

DP - what is the footwork for a center? say off tackle right?

Since our Center rules are MOMA (Man On/Man Away, if we fill on the backside), or MOPA (Man On/Pivot Away, when we cut on the backside), the Center only has to learn to base block or down block.  (On pass blocking, our Center still drive blocks, albeit only engages and drives for 3 yards.)  On downside blocks, our Center is taught a run-thru meaning we want to accelerate through his man.  On the base block, he needs to get underneath the 0-Tech and raise him up because we want the PSG's down block to be in the ribs of that 0-Tech.

On our down block, our Center takes (approximately) a foot length (his own foot length) step with his foot closest to the downside defender, while pushing off with the away foot.  Anything shorter, and I don't think he can reach his man in time.  Anything longer, and he might make contact with a defender while his step is still in the air.  For the base block, both his steps need to be as short as possible, because his job is not to drive him back, but to simply get underneath the defender and raise him up (forklift), so his steps need to be as short as he can make them. 

Each of these blocks gets practiced on board drills (half rounds, agiles or boards) where we emphasize the "short" step for base blocking and the "long" step for the down block.  Both steps need to drag the top of the grass because cleat replacement is CRUCIAL.  Without quick cleat replacement, linemen get driven backwards.  We want to get the cleats back in the ground, ASAP.  The higher the step, the longer it takes to get the cleats back in the ground.  The longer the step, the longer it takes to get the cleats back in the ground.  Can this be taught with little guys?  Yes, it can through board drills.

Linemen who overstride find that they get pushed backwards, pretty quickly.  Starting them from fit on the boards will teach them faster.  I demonstrate "low" cleats (my cleats dragging the grass) and short steps.  Then I demonstrate "high" cleats (high steps) and long steps.  Players then see the difference between the two, as I explain that getting their cleats back in the ground ASAP is paramount.  On board drills starting from fit, I tell Billy to give me "high cleats" and Tommy to give me "low cleats."  Billy gets pushed back because his steps were higher, thus taking longer to get his cleats back in the ground.  Then I tell Tommy to give me "short steps" and Billy to give me "long steps."  Billy gets pushed back because his steps were longer, thus taking longer to get his cleats back in the ground.  Then I have them start from fit, telling them "low cleats, short steps" and tell those players watching the drill to simply watch Billy's and Tommy's feet and nothing else, and you will be able to see WHY one player defeats the other.  1) Low cleats. 2) Short steps. 3) Fast feet. (Take as many steps as possible, in a short a space as possible.)

This is where a warm-up drill like "high knees" or even "butt kickers" during Dynamics can help teach/emphasize our points.  When we warm-up, we are looking for players to "finish last" in "high knees" or "butt kickers" because that means they are taking the most steps, getting the most reps in.  Our players compete to see who will "finish last," which means they are getting many more steps in, than if they were long-striding to finish first.  So by the time we talk about "short steps," our players know what we mean because it's been repped and demonstrated so many times in our Dynamics.  That's why we incorporate other drills (like "butt kickers" reinforces the "short steps" terminology) that we use in blocking.  (Just as our "high knees" dynamics helps reinforce our approach to Wedge, where we deal with bearcrawlers and submariners.)  To "finish last" also reinforces our LTHS (Long Term High Stress) approach to training, which teaches effort and intensity.  WoT (Waste of Time) drills like gassers only serve to get the drill over with, as soon as possible.  "Finish Last" drills like "butt kickers," "high knees" and "Battle Buddies" mean that players get far more reps in because they aren't trying to finish first; they're trying to get 300 steps in, instead of 30, which maintains their intensity longer, while giving them more conditioning.

--Dave

"The Greater the Teacher, the More Powerful the Player."

The Mission Statement: "I want to show any young man that he is far tougher than he thinks, that he can accomplish more than what he dreamed and that his work ethic will take him wherever he wants to go."

#BattleReady newhope


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Seabass
(@seabass)
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Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 1217
October 16, 2019 11:32 am  

I want my guys driving off the insole of their feet...which means they have to have their feet turned out. Most kids have roller-skated, roller-balded or ice-skated before. Those activities require force to be created by driving off the insole of the foot. If you don't drive of the insole with skates you don't move or fall down...same thing will happen when a defender engages you.


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JustPlay
(@rjbthor)
Silver
Joined: 7 years ago
Posts: 524
October 16, 2019 12:26 pm  

Since the Center rules are MOMA (Man On/Man Away, if we fill on the backside), or MOPA (Man On/Pivot Away, when we cut on the backside), the Center only has to learn to base block or down block.  (On pass blocking, our Center still drive blocks, albeit only engages and drives for 3 yards.)  On downside blocks, our Center is taught a run-thru meaning we want to accelerate through his man.  On the base block, he needs to get underneath the 0-Tech and raise him up because we want the PSG's down block to be in the ribs of that 0-Tech.

On our down block, our Center takes (approximately) a foot length (his own foot length) step with his foot closest to the downside defender, while pushing off with the away foot.  Anything shorter, and I don't think he can reach his man in time.  Anything longer, and he might make contact with a defender while his step is still in the air.  For the base block, both his steps need to be as short as possible, because his job is not to drive him back, but to simply get underneath the defender and raise him up (forklift), so his steps need to be as short as he can make them. 

Each of these blocks gets practiced on board drills (half rounds, agiles or boards) where we emphasize the "short" step for base blocking and the "long" step for the down block.  Both steps need to drag the top of the grass because cleat replacement is CRUCIAL.  Without quick cleat replacement, linemen get driven backwards.  We want to get the cleats back in the ground, ASAP.  The higher the step, the longer it takes to get the cleats back in the ground.  The longer the step, the longer it takes to get the cleats back in the ground.  Can this be taught with little guys?  Yes, it can through board drills.

Linemen who overstride find that they get pushed backwards, pretty quickly.  Starting them from fit on the boards will teach them faster.  I demonstrate "low" cleats (my cleats dragging the grass) and short steps.  Then I demonstrate "high" cleats (high steps) and long steps.  Players then see the difference between the two, as I explain that getting their cleats back in the ground ASAP is paramount.  On board drills starting from fit, I tell Billy to give me "high cleats" and Tommy to give me "low cleats."  Billy gets pushed back because his steps were higher, thus taking longer to get his cleats back in the ground.  Then I tell Tommy to give me "short steps" and Billy to give me "long steps."  Billy gets pushed back because his steps were longer, thus taking longer to get his cleats back in the ground.  Then I have them start from fit, telling them "low cleats, short steps" and tell those players watching the drill to simply watch Billy's and Tommy's feet and nothing else, and you will be able to see WHY one player defeats the other.  1) Low cleats. 2) Short steps. 3) Fast feet. (Take as many steps as possible, in a short a space as possible.)

This is where a warm-up drill like "high knees" or even "butt kickers" during Dynamics can help teach/emphasize our points.  When we warm-up, we are looking for players to "finish last" in "high knees" or "butt kickers" because that means they are taking the most steps, getting the most reps in.  Our players compete to see who will "finish last," which means they are getting many more steps in, than if they were long-striding to finish first.  So by the time we talk about "short steps," our players know what we mean because it's been repped and demonstrated so many times in our Dynamics.  That's why we incorporate other drills (like "butt kickers" reinforces the "short steps" terminology) that we use in blocking.  (Just as our "high knees" dynamics helps reinforce our approach to Wedge, where we deal with bearcrawlers and submariners.)  To "finish last" also reinforces our LTHS (Long Term High Stress) approach to training, which teaches effort and intensity.  WoT (Waste of Time) drills like gassers only serve to get the drill over with, as soon as possible.  "Finish Last" drills like "butt kickers," "high knees" and "Battle Buddies" mean that players get far more reps in because they aren't trying to finish first; they're trying to get 300 steps in, instead of 30, which maintains their intensity longer, while giving them more conditioning.

--Dave

I will install this today

nothing replaces effort. nothing replaces the mind. One with out the other is a waste of time.


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JustPlay
(@rjbthor)
Silver
Joined: 7 years ago
Posts: 524
October 18, 2019 12:50 pm  

This should be a sticky under basic Offense.

nothing replaces effort. nothing replaces the mind. One with out the other is a waste of time.


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CoachDP
(@coachdp)
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Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 16985
North Carolina
High School
October 21, 2019 7:59 am  

This should be a sticky under basic Offense.

I appreciate that, but I disagree.  There are too many ways to skin a cat and one size does not fit all.  (Different schemes need differing approaches.)  While there may be some things that we do that can be applied universally, each blocking scheme has its own set of fundamentals that are specific to their scheme.  This just happens to be what we do.  Glad you found it helpful, but even Double Wing coaches will argue the way I do things.

--Dave

"The Greater the Teacher, the More Powerful the Player."

The Mission Statement: "I want to show any young man that he is far tougher than he thinks, that he can accomplish more than what he dreamed and that his work ethic will take him wherever he wants to go."

#BattleReady newhope


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