Football is a game of strategy, skill, and teamwork. One critical aspect of the game is blocking, which involves players using their bodies to impede the progress of opposing players.
Blocking plays a significant role in both offense and defense, and understanding the different types of blocks can provide valuable insights into the game.
Here we’ll look at the various types of blocks in football, their techniques, and their importance in different situations.
Offensive blocks are essential for creating running lanes and protecting the quarterback.
They require coordination, strength, and technique from the offensive line.
Let’s take a closer look at some common offensive blocks:
The drive block is one of the most fundamental blocks in football.
It involves an offensive lineman driving into a defensive player to create space for the ball carrier.
The lineman initiates contact with a low pad level and aims to move the defender backward.
This block is commonly used in running plays.
The cut block is a technique used to take down a defender by blocking at or below the knees.
It is often employed when the defender is larger or more powerful than the offensive player.
The cut block aims to disrupt the defender’s balance and prevent them from making a play.
The pull block involves an offensive lineman leaving their original position and moving to another area of the field to block a specific defender.
This block requires agility and quickness, as the lineman needs to identify the target and adjust their path accordingly.
Pull blocks are commonly used in sweep plays.
The trap block is a deceptive technique where an offensive lineman allows a defender to penetrate the line of scrimmage before blocking them from the side.
This block aims to create a running lane by using the defender’s momentum against them.
It requires precise timing and coordination between the offensive linemen.
A pancake block in football is when an offensive player blocks a defensive player so effectively that the defender is knocked flat on their back, resembling a pancake on a griddle.
It’s a sign of a dominant block and typically associated with offensive linemen.
O-Line Tips: Proper Technique for Run & Pass Blocking
Defensive blocks are crucial for disrupting the offense and preventing them from gaining yardage.
Defensive players use various techniques to shed blocks and make plays.
Let’s explore some common defensive blocks:
The shed block is a technique used by defensive players to disengage from an offensive blocker and make a play on the ball carrier.
It involves using quick hands and footwork to break free from the block and pursue the ball.
Shedding blocks effectively is essential for linebackers and defensive linemen.
The bull rush is a powerful move used by defensive linemen to overpower offensive linemen and disrupt the quarterback’s passing game.
It involves driving into the offensive lineman with force, using strength and leverage to push them backward.
The bull rush is particularly effective against weaker or less experienced offensive linemen.
It involves using a quick arm motion to “swim” over the blocker’s shoulder, creating separation and allowing the defender to make a play on the ball carrier or quarterback.
A blitz is a defensive strategy where additional players rush the quarterback to disrupt their passing game.
It involves sending linebackers or defensive backs through gaps in the offensive line to create pressure.
Blitzing requires precise timing and coordination to confuse the offense and create opportunities for sacks or interceptions.
Special Teams Blocks
Special teams plays, such as punt and field goal attempts, also involve blocking techniques.
These blocks can significantly impact the outcome of the game.
Let’s examine some common special teams blocks:
A punt block occurs when a defensive player successfully blocks a punt attempt by the opposing team.
This block can lead to turnovers or even touchdowns if the blocked punt is recovered in the end zone.
Punt blocks require speed, timing, and the ability to penetrate the opposing team’s protection scheme.
Field Goal Block
Similar to a punt block, a field goal block aims to prevent the opposing team from scoring points.
Defensive players attempt to block the kick by timing their jump and extending their arms to reach the ball.
Field goal blocks can be game-changing moments, especially in close contests.
Football has various types of blocks that are considered illegal.
It’s important to know the rules to understand what constitutes an illegal block.
Here are some examples:
A chop block is a block by the offense in which one player blocks a defender low while the defender is already engaged by another player high.
This block is considered dangerous because it targets the defender’s legs and can lead to serious injury.
It’s considered illegal in both the NFL and NCAA.
Clipping is an illegal block in which a player hits an opponent from behind, at or below the waist.
It’s considered dangerous and can cause severe injuries.
Clipping is prohibited in both American and Canadian football.
A crackback block happens when a player on offense who’s lined up outside the tackle box moves back toward the ball at the snap and blocks an opponent below the waist.
This is considered an illegal block due to its high risk of injury.
This block occurs when a player comes from the side or behind an opponent and initiates a block when the opponent can’t see the blocker coming.
In the NFL, it’s illegal if it’s initiated with forcible contact to the head or neck area or with the crown (top) of the blocker’s helmet.
Tripping, which involves a player using his leg or foot to stop an opponent, is considered illegal.
It’s not technically a block, but it’s a move that’s used to impede a player, similar to a block.
Block in the Back
This is an illegal block that happens when a player hits an opponent from behind and above the waist, usually during a return.
This block is considered illegal due to its potential to cause injury.
FAQs – Types of Blocks in Football
1. What is the purpose of blocking in football?
Blocking in football is used to impede the progress of opposing players, creating running lanes for the offense and preventing the defense from making plays.
2. How do offensive linemen execute drive blocks?
Offensive linemen execute drive blocks by initiating contact with a low pad level and driving into the defender to create space for the ball carrier.
3. When is the cut block technique used?
The cut block technique is used when the offensive player needs to take down a larger or more powerful defender by blocking at or below the knees.
4. What is the purpose of a pull block?
A pull block is used by offensive linemen to leave their original position and move to another area of the field to block a specific defender, creating running lanes for the ball carrier.
5. How does a defensive player execute a shed block?
A defensive player executes a shed block by using quick hands and footwork to disengage from an offensive blocker and pursue the ball carrier.
6. What is the bull rush technique used for?
The bull rush technique is used by defensive linemen to overpower offensive linemen and disrupt the quarterback’s passing game by driving into them with force.
7. How do defensive players execute a swim move?
Defensive players execute a swim move by using a quick arm motion to “swim” over the blocker’s shoulder, creating separation and allowing them to make a play on the ball carrier or quarterback.
8. What is a blitz in football?
A blitz is a defensive strategy where additional players rush the quarterback to create pressure and disrupt the passing game.
9. How do special teams players execute a punt block?
Special teams players execute a punt block by using speed, timing, and the ability to penetrate the opposing team’s protection scheme to block the punt attempt.
10. What is the purpose of a field goal block?
The purpose of a field goal block is to prevent the opposing team from scoring points by timing the jump and extending the arms to reach the ball during a field goal attempt.
11. Can blocking techniques vary depending on the position?
Yes, blocking techniques can vary depending on the position. Offensive linemen, defensive linemen, linebackers, and defensive backs all have specific techniques tailored to their roles on the field.
12. Are there any penalties associated with blocking?
Yes, there are penalties associated with blocking. Illegal blocks, such as chop blocks or blocks in the back, can result in penalties and negatively impact the team.
13. How do coaches teach blocking techniques to players?
Coaches teach blocking techniques through a combination of drills, film study, and on-field practice.
They focus on proper technique, footwork, and understanding the specific assignments for each play.
14. Can blocking be a determining factor in the outcome of a game?
Absolutely. Blocking plays a significant role in creating opportunities for the offense and disrupting the opposing team’s plays.
A well-executed block or a crucial block can often be a determining factor in the outcome of a game.
15. How can players improve their blocking skills?
Players can improve their blocking skills by focusing on strength and conditioning, studying film to understand opponents’ tendencies, and practicing proper technique through drills and repetition.
Blocking is an integral part of football, and understanding the different types of blocks can provide valuable insights into the game.
Offensive blocks, such as drive blocks, cut blocks, pull blocks, and trap blocks, create running lanes and protect the quarterback.
Defensive blocks, including shed blocks, bull rushes, swim moves, and blitzes, disrupt the offense and prevent them from gaining yardage.
Special teams blocks, such as punt blocks and field goal blocks, can lead to turnovers and impact the outcome of the game.
By mastering these various blocking techniques, players can contribute to their team’s success on the field.