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[Sticky] What's Difficult About the Pull?

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CoachDP
(@coachdp)
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In reading some threads, I become reminded about the difficulty in teaching the pull successfully.  Some coaches simply refuse to teach it because it's too hard or takes too much time.  I am hoping to see a list of what coaches find challenging about teaching the pull.

--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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Beansko82
(@beansko82)
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I haven't found teaching the mechanics of the pull to be all that difficult.  However the challenging part for me has been ensuring the the puller actually makes contact with the defender when he gets where he's going.


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Coach Correa
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ONE ANSWER 4 ALL CIRCLE DRILL ......

Head Coach Tito Correa New Britain Raiders 14-U


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blockandtackle
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In reading some threads, I become reminded about the difficulty in teaching the pull successfully.  Some coaches simply refuse to teach it because it's too hard or takes too much time.  I am hoping to see a list of what coaches find challenging about teaching the pull.

--Dave

I used to be intimidated by it, since we didn't do it much as a player.  I was pretty lousy at coaching it for my first couple of years, too.

Pulling introduces moving parts into the offense, which adds to the complexity.  It's hard enough to get them blocking someone right across from them, let alone run sideways, find a hole, identify their man, and block him in the open field.

On the pull itself, there are really 4 things to coach and each one requires a lot of attention to detail, but they aren't that hard to coach once you know what you're doing:

1.  The first steps--we skip pull our wraps and open pull our kick outs and traps.  For us, a skip puller needs to get the good crossover step out of the blocks and then get out of it and gain depth on the second step.  A trap puller/kick out is an open pull where he should throw the playside elbow back ("start the lawnmower") and then rip with the other arm to get some momentum back into the pull.

2.  Getting around the trash--you need depth, but just the right amount of depth to get around the other OL in case someone gets blown up yet not so much that you lose leverage or take too long to get there.  On a trap/short pull the G needs to go back on the first step and attack back up into the DL on a 45 degree angle.  On a longer pull, the angle is flatter but he still needs to attack proper shoulder

3.  Getting to your assignment.  If you don't give kids clear rules here, they'll just pull and run into somebody.  Few things suck more than watching your kids pull around the corner, run right by the guy he's supposed to block, and then hit the wrong dude or doubling up on someone who's already blocked.  You really need to focus on a kid's eyes and where he's looking  For us, we tell them to simply kick out the first thing that shows outside the downblocks on open pulls and to track the PSLB throughout the skip pull and block that guy on wraps.  Then we work the wrapper's path to be tight to the downblock and come downhill to the next level.

4.  Fitting to your block with explosiveness.  Right shoulder right/left shoulder left for kick outs, the opposite for logs, and try to come downhill and fit with head outside on LBs.  That's the basis, but you also need to come in lower than the guy you're blocking and uncoil the hips to deliver a real blow with follow through.  A lot of kids just want to run in high and chest bump or they lower their head and dive at ankles/belt buckles without ever bringing the hips and surface--neither is good.

Another thing that can make it more challenging to coach within your system is how all of this fits with the backfield.  The backs, especially an under center QB, have to get out of the pullers' way.  Then they need to trust their pullers and fit behind the pull in the proper way--they need to hug the downblocks on kick outs and get in behind a wrapper to the second level.

You also need to coach the other OL up on how to properly fill for a puller--OL who are filling need to open up completely flat and get their head in front of a potential penetrator and make good contact on a DL's hip.  Backs who are filling need to let the pullers clear and then get their block.

Then you have to make sure that the pull truly fits into your scheme.  Sometimes I see teams try to reach a DL and pull outside of him, but they're not gap sound in their blocking or the reach block fails and the puller slams into the same guy they just wasted two blockers on.  Block down, kick out/log, then lead through the hole... that's a nice recipe for success.  It's all about leverage--pulling is a way to out leverage the defense by maneuvering the backside of your OL to the playside with inside-out leverage before they can get dudes there.

At times, kids can find it hard to remember who pulls and who to block on each play.  This is part of the reason I don't care for "fan and fold" schemes or having a bunch of different types of pulls and assignments that vary depending on the play.  We either pull to kick out or we pull to wrap to the first thing inside.  Occasionally we may tag a "log" block on there to turn a kick out into a log by changing the puller's aiming point.  That's it.

I really don't find it hard to coach now... but there are a lot of details there that people don't know at first.  With the young ones, it's a lot to polish up.


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jrk5150
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I'll give you three things -

1. Making a block in space is always one of the more difficult skills to execute for any player.

2. With bodies everywhere it can be hard to determine WHO to block.  We frequently spend time on here discussing how important it is for players to know who to block, as it makes them more confident, aggressive, etc., and that's from a static start.  When it comes to a puller, we frequently cannot tell him exactly who he's blocking until the play happens.

3. Closing the hole made by the puller.  With MPR rules, it can be difficult to find someone who can consistently shut down the hole previously occupied by the puller when it's possible the other team's fastest DL is trying to get through it.  We will NEVER win that talent battle, the other team will pretty much always have better talent trying to come through that hole than we have trying to close it.

Of course there is always a learning curve around path or...urgency...but those are workable.


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PSLCOACHROB
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Making contact is not absolutely necesary. Eyes up to poa during the pull helps in finding a defender. Pulling to the C in zero splits is a whole different monster than with 2 ft splits. Not harder, I just do it different. Drop/ bucket step with inside foot and right to poa. Super easy in tight splits. Poa is more B gap imo. Bend it out a little if need be. One of the problems I have had is the center not firing out fast enough or the qb being too slow. Not a pulling problem though.


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Vince148
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We just put in pulling the other day. We've been doing bucket step bird dogs in our on air drills every day. Then we put cones down for landmarks and where to pull. We set out a CB and a LB. For us, the biggest thing is making sure that the backside guard is pulling with his eyes on the LB. I thought about doing a skip pull, but decided that it would be much easier teaching one pulling technique.


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gumby_in_co
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To me, pulling has always been a simple matter of getting out of a stance, running from A to B and throwing a block. In the DW, it took some time and effort to get right due to the tight spaces and precise footwork. I've always been curious why many coaches think that there's some "magic" involved when you ask a lineman to do this.

When in doot . . . glass and oot.


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COACH JC
(@winged)
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The hardest part is teaching em to get get skinny & not get caught up in the trash. In practice they'll execute their elbow rips correctly, then in the game they ditch it.

It's all about having fun.  But losing aint fun!


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Dusty Ol Fart
(@youth-coach)
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My issue has always been with the rest of the OL as opposed to the actual person who pulls.  We seem to get caught up in Line Wash (Bad Blocks).  Now go figure, our Traps are pretty dang good?  ARGH.  LOL

We continue to work on them as we progress in our ability to block.  Never give up on em.  😉

Not MPP... ONE TASK!  Teach them!  🙂


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Dimson
(@dimson)
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I let the kid use their own technique for the most part as long as they get the job done. If they don't get the job done then I will focus on trying to improve their footwork if that is the issue. Honestly I mainly care that they get there and stay tight to the double team.


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Vince148
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The hardest part is teaching em to get get skinny & not get caught up in the trash. In practice they'll execute their elbow rips correctly, then in the game they ditch it.

They ditch it in practice.

We go over steps EVERY DAY for 20+ minutes. First step bird dogs. Then get-offs. Then against shields. Everybody does them. Then we start live hitting yesterday and it's like they forgot what they just did 10 minutes earlier. Who just leans their body out. Who never moves their feet. Who takes their first step backwards. Really?!!!


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Michael
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Other than stance the first few days, and lifting the sled (if we have one), we teach everything live.  I haven't done fit or steps in years.  Maybe a drill or two of steps every few years. 

Michael can not receive PM's, emails or respond to Posts. He passed away in September 2018. To honor his contributions we are leaving his account active. R.I.P - Dumcoach Staff.


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blockandtackle
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They ditch it in practice.

We go over steps EVERY DAY for 20+ minutes. First step bird dogs. Then get-offs. Then against shields. Everybody does them. Then we start live hitting yesterday and it's like they forgot what they just did 10 minutes earlier. Who just leans their body out. Who never moves their feet. Who takes their first step backwards. Really?!!!

Do them in team.  Not just in bird dogs, but line the whole team up and walk through their steps and assignments for each play.  Do this at the initial install, then have them do it again, taking each of the first 3-5 steps on a whistle.  Correct any errors you see step by step before you blow the whistle to move onto the next step.  Make sure they see how it fits into the whole.

If you don't have enough kids to do 11 on 11 team (even just as a walkthrough), do an inside drill with the OL against a defensive front or even bust out bags/trash cans to stand in for "defenders" and have them go that way while coaches handle the "moving parts" of the defense.

Kids can get really good at a drill and learn to execute what you're asking for there without having the slightest clue how that translates into the game at times.  Like the old thing about kids getting really good at bag drills... then thinking they're doing them to learn how to jump over people who've fallen on the ground or because the coach just wanted to play a game.


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CoachDP
(@coachdp)
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Topic starter  

I'll give you three things -

1. Making a block in space is always one of the more difficult skills to execute for any player.

--We've eliminated "blocking in space" by having the defense come to us.

2. With bodies everywhere it can be hard to determine WHO to block.

--We've eliminated this by having our offense "keep their relationships" to each other.  We don't chase defenders.  They come to us.  If a 9-technique is so far away from our Fullback's kick-out that he's already kicked-out, the Fullback will not chase out that far.  We don't have to kick out a Wide-9; we have to run up inside our Fullback successfully. 

When it comes to a puller, we frequently cannot tell him exactly who he's blocking until the play happens.

--In our approach, our pullers are no longer "scrape and kick" or "scrape and seal."  Now they are tucked behind the playside line, getting north as soon as they round the Center.

3. Closing the hole made by the puller.  With MPR rules, it can be difficult to find someone who can consistently shut down the hole previously occupied by the puller when it's possible the other team's fastest DL is trying to get through it.  We will NEVER win that talent battle, the other team will pretty much always have better talent trying to come through that hole than we have trying to close it.

--The elimination of the Shoeshine/Superman/Scramble/Cut in the FBZ has definitely given a new challenge to our offense.  It might be resolved in going unbalanced, pulling the BSG and BSTE and/or holding the Center accountable for taking away the backside A-gap.

--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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