Offensive Line Quickness Drill – The De La Salle Tennis Ball Drill

Tennis Ball Drill for Offensive Linemen

This is a drill used by many teams to get their offensive linemen off the ball quickly. He first learned about it at Concord De LaSalle High School in California. Yes, the school that had the 151-game winning streak. This is a great drill for guys coaching youth soccer as well.

De LaSalle football coaches rightly believe that the key to a great offensive line game is taking the first 2 steps down faster than the opponents first 2 steps. I noticed the speed with which De LaSalle’s linemen got off the ball was pretty amazing during a televised game with the nationally ranked Evangel High School of Louisiana. While Evangel had several Division I prospects on his offensive line and averaged more than 50 pounds per man than De LaSalle, De LaSalle simply dominated the line.

This is a drill that youth soccer teams use with success to improve line play and quickness:

Place your linemen in two groups, those to the right of center in one line, those to the left of center in another. Have the players in front of the line execute their first two steps quickly and perfectly, taking the inside step first at a 60 degree angle to the inside with knee to chest, while charging their hands at their sides to the “Six Shooter” level. The second step at the same angle comes very quickly after the first step has been placed. The second step would also be performed with the knees bent and as the foot is placed down, the forearms are raised to strike along with the shoulder.

Once these steps are repeated, we add the trainer with the tennis ball. The coach is at a 60 degree angle to the inside of the offensive linemen and approximately 1 yard along that 60 degree path of the player. On the snap count, the offensive linemen take their first step as described above and then take their second step along the line toward the coach using the above technique. The coach on the quick count drops the ball downward from a height of 3 feet or so. The lineman must take his perfect 2 steps using proper technique and catch the tennis ball before he hits the ground. Vary the distance and height to force your offensive linemen to perform the drill at their individual speed potential.

We alternate our center on both lines, as you are required to step in both directions. This is an exercise that we bring in week 4-5 after our kids have mastered the basics and we are working on developing more advanced skills. It’s a great change of pace exercise, it works and the kids love it.

See how this football drill helps your offensive linemen release the ball faster and allows them to take their second step faster than their opponent. This will allow you to execute your soccer plays with greater precision and efficiency when combined with proper blocking technique.

With over 15 years of practical experience as a youth coach, Dave has developed a detailed systematic approach to developing youth players and teams. His personal teams using this system to date have won 97% of their games in 5 different leagues.

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