American football positions

How to Play Noseguard at the Youth Football Level

Learning how to Play Noseguard in youth football will make your defense dominate your opponent’s offensive line.

By Geoffrey Weed

Learn how to play nose guard by following these tips.


The noseguard position in football is one of the most grueling spots on the defense. Not only are noseguards positioned directly in the middle of the defensive line, but they are often subject to double-team blocking, chop blocks, and other hard-to-handle abuse. Learning how to play the noseguard position you’ll need a particular kind of grittiness and toughness.

Doing the Dirty Work

1. Line up in a 3-point stance directly across from the opposing team’s center, also known as a zero technique. The center is the player who snaps the football to the quarterback.

2. Watch the football and wait for it to be snapped. As soon as the ball moves, you’re free to cross the line of scrimmage.

3. Cross the line of scrimmage and try to get past the center and into the other team’s backfield. You can do this by bull rushing the center, using a swim or spin move or slapping their arms away. Use leverage to get underneath the center and push upward to get him off balance. The offensive line is usually crowded with big bodies so use proper technique along with power to get the advantage.

4. Locate the football. As you cross the line of scrimmage you should be looking to see where the football is and actively determining the quickest way to get to the ball.

5. Attack the football. If the quarterback still has the football, try to sack him. If the ball has been handed off, attempt to tackle the ball carrier.

6. Take an angle of pursuit. If the football has already passed you by, determine a proper angle of pursuit and pursue the ball carrier, never giving up your pursuit until the whistle blows.

Tips & Warnings when learning how to play noseguard

Learn all of your teams “stunts.” These are essentially tricks that defensive linemen, like the noseguard, use to confuse the offensive linemen and make it easier for the defensive players to get penetration of the line of scrimmage.

Make sure that you never over-pursue the football, leaving your area of the defensive line unprotected.

Be on the lookout for double team blocking, which happens to noseguards frequently. If you’re double teamed, get as low to the ground as you can and just try to plug your hole up and keep the football from being carried through your area of space.

Always keep your head up and wear proper equipment to help avoid serious spinal injury when learning how to play noseguard.

Be weary of trick plays and screens.

If you can follow these tips you’ll be on your way to becoming a dominating force.

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The most underrated and under coached area in a youth football team is the defensive line.  Far too many coaches try to hide weaker players here.  These coaches do not work any Defensive Linemen Drills and this is a huge mistake.  I believe in putting your better players there and coaching them up with Defensive Linemen Drills so they can wreak havoc in my opponents backfield.  Here’s some great tip on Defensive Linemen Drills from Jerry Campbell.


Defensive Linemen Drills

1. Always line up with your feet well underneath you so that you are ready to fight pressure from any direction. The only thing that overrides the first sentence is; pass only responsibility. This can elongate a defensive lineman’s stance.

2. Always concentrate on the man nearest you, for he is the man who can block you first.

3. Never rise up to look for the ball carrier, for the blocker will tell you where the ball is going.

4. Always keep your back parallel with the ground, and you then become very difficult to block.

5. Do not go to the ground, but if you do so, get back up quickly. A football player’s ability can be equated by the amount of time he spends on the ground.

6. In defeating the trap, first know who is going to trap you. Secondly, use your head to get an “anti-trap” position. As you turn to play the trap, keep your head on your side of the L.O.S. and you will never be trapped. If you get too much penetration, then spin back inside.  Defensive Linemen Drills like this make a big difference come game day.

7. Never allow a blocker to get into your legs; for if he does, you will go down, and on pass, this is a cardinal sin.

1. Lack of total effort – Trying to save yourself for the fourth quarter. By that time, it doesn’t matter.

2. Guessing – Not playing what you see because you “think” they are going to do something else.

3. Trying to make a tackle, or big play, without first defeating primary blocker.

4. Giving up if picked by a second blocker.

5. Not being prepared for a quick count.

6. Giving up when you think the play is over, and not going until the whistle blows.

7. Wearing unnecessary pads, bandages, tape, etc… that hinder, rather than help a performance.

8. Anticipating the snap count.

9. Appearing tired, out of shape, or dragging your body on, or off, the field.

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How to Rush the Quarterback

To teach a youth football player how to rush the quarterback I would first make sure the pass rushers know the types of rushes that are available for them to use. We would go over the rip, the swat and swim and the bull rush. I like to use a fourth style also I learned while watching a Reggie White interview a long time ago. A player sets the lineman up by favoring the rush to the outside, the when he thinks the lineman is cheating to the outside he employs this other move. At the snap the defender goes up field like he is going to rush the outside, then plants his inside foot while simultaneously getting his inside hand in the armpit of the line man. He then shoves the lineman while he is off balance to his outside, which creates a clear path to the quarterback. One would have to have considerable upper body strength to accomplish this move.

Every player will have a favorite style of how to rush the quarterback, but the objective of this first stage is to get the competent at a couple of other styles. During this first stage, we would also go over the hand and footwork required to use these moves. During the second stage of the staircase I would have the defensive lineman go against the offensive linemen and you can use another player to simulate the quarterback if he is not available, I am sure that he is probably doing more important things. This stage would be at half speed in full pads so the players can get a feel for the new move they have learned. For the third step I would put first team offensive line against the defenders, no matter what string they are. During this process, I would keep tract of which players were using proper hand and foot techniques, and after the drill refresh the memories of the ones who failed to use proper technique. The fourth step would be to use a game to exhaust the player, which would create muscle memory for the moves learned. The game could pit one defensive lineman against a constantly rotating offensive lineman, this way the offensive lineman will be fresh, whereas the defender will be tired.

IOWA CITY, IA - OCTOBER 23- Quarterback Scott ...

A coach could use some way to keep track of points to make it a competition on how to rush the quarterback. Creating muscle memory is the best way to have the human body do what you want it to do when a person is so tired that their brain shuts down, it is all about repetition. Unless you see that the players do not understand in practice, the only real proof of whether the system is really working or not will happen on game night. The techniques I would use to teach the pass rush would start with proper stance then jump to proper hand and foot movement and finish with the follow through and properly tackling the quarterback.

The first key point in learning how to rush the quarterback is to recognizing the pass protection. It is stated in the text that this step does not have to be used all of the time. If it is 3rd and 19, the hope is that the defenders can be reckless in their pursuit of the quarterback because the quarterback is probably going to pass, and if they did run the ball there would be a slim chance that they would succeed in getting the first down.

Another key point in how to rush the quarterback is staying in your lane, this one is important because you do not want to disrupt the other pass rushers on your team from completing their task by getting in their way. The last two key points are to use the move taught and to use other moves. The last is especially important; you do not want to be the defender getting pancaked because you do the same rushing move every time. Then during the film study on Monday it will hurt all over again as your teammates laugh. The video really made sense to me because it was a concept that I was already familiar with.

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7 Steps to Succeeding at Running Back

KANSAS CITY, MO - OCTOBER 02:  Running back De...

All of these running back drills can be developed and there are a number of different things you can do to improve as a running back. Here some tips to help you do just that:

Notice Your Weaknesses

Running back drills

If you are able to watch back a tape of your performances then do so and make a note of where you are making mistakes. Maybe you are having trouble following your blockers or making the correct cuts when required. When you know and understand the areas you need to improve you are on the way to becoming a better running back. Ignoring criticism and problems is no way to develop as a player.

Define Your Style

Running back drills

Depending on your build and physical attributes you will be suited to a particular style of running. For example if you are a big and powerful build you will be much more suited to carrying the ball between the tackles whereas if you are a smaller, quicker player you will be better running to the outside and beating players with speed and agility rather than power. Make sure you know what your strengths are and play to them.

Work Harding in

Running back drills

There are so many different drills designed to improve all the areas required to be a good running back. Rather than practicing full contact running, working through running back drills can be much more effective in helping you improve skills such as your ball control, agility, making cuts and awareness.

Work on Your Strength

When developing your strength training, don’t simply focus on one area of your body. If you build up upper body strength without working on your leg strength, then you aren’t going to develop as a running back. You need to work on getting stronger in the legs and the upper body and you will cause more problems to defenders.

Know Your Plays










Understanding the plays and knowing where you need to be following your blockers is a simple step to improving as a runner. Being organized and aware of what is going on will make it much easier for you to gain yards consistently.

Practice Catching

The running back position is not all about carrying the ball from the line of scrimmage. Being able to run routes and catch the ball downfield will make you a much more versatile and dynamic running back.

Practice Blocking

Running back drills

Occasionally you will not be involved as a playmaker during the game and you will be needed to protect the quarterback. Simply developing your blocking skills will make you a much more valuable running back and benefit you with more time on the field.

David Jones is the author of the free Football Coaching eBook filled with 60 Football Drills and Practice Plans For Developing the Fundamentals of Football. It includes complete step-by-step illustrations, easy-to-follow instructions, and coaching points for all 60 football drills. For free football drills, articles, tips and advice,

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Defensive Line Drills

Houston, Texas (Dec. 30, 2003) -- The Navy def...

Having a dominating defensive line is a must if you are trying to establish a solid defense.  Far too many youth football coaches ignore the defensive line and look to hide their weaker players here.  What a mistake!  Use these Defensive Line Drills to sharpen up these players.

Check out this article from Sean McCormick teaching Defensive Line Drills and you how use the blocking sled on a daily basis to make your defensive line better.

Every Day Defensive Line Drills for the Defensive Line
From Sean McCormick

Every Day Drills (EDD’s) offer a great way for defensive line coaches to get the most out of practice time while keeping the players’ interest. Introduce players to these Defensive Line Drills and explain the fundamental focus of each drill. Choose two or three of these Defensive Line Drills daily to sharpen the player’ skills.

6 Point
Players are positioned in a six-point stance (Hands/Knees/Toes on ground). The buttocks of players should be touching their heels (as close as possible). On the whistle/ball simulation, players are to explode out of this stance – rolling the hips and firing arms out as if attacking o-lineman. Have players land on chest and stomach. Watch for proper firing out hip roll techniques. Also, make sure hands are ready to attack lineman with the thumb and forefinger forming a “V.” The forefinger is pointing upward. Players tend to point thumbs up, which can cause greater stress to wrist when the player strikes with the punch. Have players fire out and recoil (back in 6 pt.) until they pass a predetermined end point (10-15 yards downfield).

Purpose of the Defensive Line Drills: It creates muscle memory on proper hip roll and striking out with arms, and also conditions players’ stomachs for hits as they are landing on the ground. It also stretches the quad muscles.

Trap Defensive Line Drills
The defensive line faces the offensive line. A coach will instruct the offensive players to:

•Down Block – the line blocks at an angle towards the inside or outside of the opposing defensive lineman.
•Block Head-On – each player fires out to block the defensive lineman directly in front of him.
•Trap Block – an offensive player “steps” behind the center and runs to block a purposely unblocked defender who is “trapped” to believe no one is blocking him.
The defensive line has to react to each of the blocks. If an offensive lineman down blocks, the defender must read it quickly and get into position for taking on the trap block with a wrong-arm technique. This is a full speed drill.

Purpose of the Drill: This drill familiarizes defensive linemen with blocking methods used by opposing offenses.

Push-Pull-Rip Defensive Line Drills
A defensive player lines up facing an offensive blocker. On the snap of ball, the defender is to strike/punch (remember the “V” hand position), and proceed to use PUSH-PULL technique (One hand pulls the offensive player toward him, while the other hand pushes that side of player away from him.). The defensive player uses the Rip move to the “away” side.

Purpose of the Drill: It teaches the proper Push/Pull/Rip technique.

Club-Rip Defensive Line Drills
A defensive player lines up facing an offensive blocker. On snap of the ball, the defender fires out and uses the Club (quick closed hand punch of one side of blocker) move, quickly followed by a Rip from opposite arm.

Purpose of the Drill: It teaches the player a companion rush move to the Push/Pull/Rip technique.

Double Team Defensive Line Drills
A defensive lineman lines straight up on an offensive player. A second offensive player lines up next to first offensive player. On command, a double team block, a head-on block, or a down block will be performed. The defender must recognize which of the three blocks is being attempted. If it is a double team, he rips into double team and “gets skinny” by twisting upper body to make his shoulder pads perpendicular to the offensive linemen. The objective is to split the defenders, and get through to make the tackle. The defensive player must work on quick recognition. If he cannot split the double team block, the defender will create a pile-up by dropping to his knees while pulling down on the blockers jersey front/shoulder pads.

Purpose of the Drill: It simulates game-like conditions, teaching the player quick recognition of blocks, and preventing a successful double team block.

Pass Rush Defensive Line Drills: A defensive lineman lines straight up on an offensive player. At the ball snap, the defender practices the Bull Rush, Rip, Push-Pull-Rip, and Club-Rip techniques while staying in pass rush lane.

Purpose of the Drill: Defensive players perfect their pass rush techniques, and learn to locate the quarterback quickly.

Coaching Suggestion
Use a football-on-a-stick to simulate the football snap instead of blowing a whistle. This conditions defensive linemen to watch the ball being snapped by the center. (Slice a small wedge out of a sponge-like football, place the end of a yard stick into the opening, and duct tape the yard stick to the football. Angle the stick to make it easier for the coach to simulate the snap.)

If you can get a coach to dedicate to your defensive line, I will guarantee that your team will become a more dominate force in your league using these Defensive Line Drills.

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Youth Football – Organizational Checklist

American football

Image by alschim via Flickr

Here’s a great Youth Football Organizational Checklist from Jerry Campbell‘s football forum.  This Youth Football Organizational Checklist will keep you organized which is of utmost importance when coaching a youth football tem.

Give this a good look and feel free to make changes to fit your unique situation.

OFFENSE: GENERAL STRUCTURE Youth Football Organizational Checklist

Huddle alignment, information conveyed by QB, procedure for breaking huddle.
How plays are to be communicated to QB. Substitutions or signals (hand signals from sideline, wristbands, etc.).
Snap Count (cadence).
Audible System.
Formations & Alignment.
Personnel Groupings.
Numbering System.
Motion – Receivers & Backs.
Defensive technique numbering system.
Stance & Start – First steps

OFFENSIVE POSITIONS – The following position assignments should be covered on a daily basis;
Stance / Gripping the ball / Snap & exchange with QB / Steps / Blocks
Ace, Duece and Trey combinations
Mollie / Collie
Set the huddle

Blocks: Base
Log (Hook)
Combo’s (Ace, Duece, Trey)
Zone (Inside – Outside)
Scoop or Zone (Backside)

Pass Protection:
3 step drop (90-91 series).
5 step drop (60 – 61 series).
Play Action (100 series) – To or away.
Sprint Out (80 – Right, 81 Left).
Screens – To or away.
Assignments – Run & Pass (To or away).

Tight Ends: (Same as linemen plus…)
How to carry the football.
How to catch the football.
Pass Routes.
Releases for routes.

Running Backs:
How to carry the football. Left & right.
How to catch the football.
How to key blocks as to where to run.
Blocks: Lead / Kick out / Load / Perimeter / Pass Protection Blocks
Assignments: Ball to or Ball away.

Snap & exchange with center.
Snap count / clear – assertive – slow.
Gripping the ball / ball position.
First steps.
Handoffs / ball position.
How to carry the ball.
Mesh If Applicable.
Throwing motion. Entire body (not just arm movement).
Pitch – Option motion. Left & Right.
Defensive fronts & adjustments to formations.
Defensive secondary alignments & adjustments to formations.

Pass Drops:
One Step.
Three step.
Five step.
Seven Step.
Sprint out.
Play action.
Assignments: Run / Pass

No Huddle
Formations and adjustments to them.
Motion and adjustment to it.
Signals for defensive calls.
No huddle offenses adjustments.
Personnel groupings.
Sideline organization.

DEFENSIVE POSITIONS Youth Football Organizational Checklist
Down Linemen:
Stance & Alignment.
Gap control.
First step and blow delivery.
Reaction to different blocks:
Drive / reach / down / trap / zone / scoop (backside)
Pass rush techniques.
Line stunts. Pass or Run.
Contain responsibilities.
Tackling & pursuit drills.

Stance & Alignment.
Gap control.
First step and blow delivery.
Reaction to blocks and backfield action:
Drive / reach or zone / down / trap / pass protection.
Reaction to different types of passes and protection.
Pass drops and coverage’s.
Stunts – run or pass stunts.
Contain responsibilities.
Tackling & pursuit drills.

Stance & Alignment.
Sideline, hash marks, and field position adjustments.
Coverage’s: Zone (concept behind it). Man. Combination of zone & man.
First steps.
Reaction to pass routes or run.
Techniques vs. run blocks.
Techniques vs. pass routes.
Different alignment adjustments for certain coverage’s. Press drills.
Contain drills.
Tackling drills & pursuit drills.


Regular Punt, Spread Punt & Coverage
Tight Punt & Coverage
Alignment and technique.
Center Snap
Quick Kick & Coverage
Fake Punt Run / Pass
Reaction to blocked punt.
Punt Return Youth Football Organizational Checklist
Alignment and technique.
Field Ball, Fair Catch
Right – Left – Middle – Reverse
Punt Block
One or Two Returners Deep?
Hold Up?

Alignment and technique.
Kicker : Deep Onside – High Onside – Squibb
Kickoff After Safety
Harsh Marks or Middle Kick

Kickoff Return Youth Football Organizational Checklist
Alignment and technique.
Middle – Right – Left – Reverse – Specials
Expecting Onside (Hands Team)
Kickoff Return After Safety
Star Burst
Personnel Groups

Extra Point
Alignment and technique.
Fire vs. bad snap
Reaction to blocked EP.
Swinging Gate If Applicable
Two- point plays.

Field Goal
Alignment and technique.
Reaction to blocked FG.
Field Goal after fair catch.

Extra Point and Field Goal Block
Right – Left – Middle – Look for fake.
When to return Kick or let the ball hit the ground.

I know it’s a long Youth Football Organizational Checklist, but I think it is about as thorough of a list that I’ve ever seen.


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Visit Football Playbook for a variety of play books all modified for the youth level and proven to succeed.


Visit Football Playbook for a variety of play books all modified for the youth level and proven to succeed.