This article reviews the standard Football Defensive Gap Techniques and Alignments used by many football teams. I also added the defensive gaps, techniques and alignments for my 62 Multi 8 Youth Football Defense which I think might be simpler to teach to younger youth football players. Below is a diagram of the standard defensive alignment techniques and gaps for football.
This 2008 article was updated 2/5/21 to update the graphic and change title to Football Defensive Gap Techniques and Alignments. I also added more info from the 62×8 defense at the bottom. Enjoy the updates.
Football Defensive Gap Techniques and Alignments
Defensive gaps refer to the space between the adjacent offensive lineman. Defensive alignments for the defensive fronts are identified by the in, over or outside shading of the defensive lineman to the offensive lineman. The diagram above refers to one of the best standards of naming defensive front alignments.
In this defensive technique numbering system, even numbers refer to headup & inside techniques and odd numbers for outside techniques, except for 7. The 7 technique is the only inside technique identified by an odd number. The letter “i” is used to specify an inside technique, 2i, 4i. To identify gap alignment you add gap at the end, 3 gap, 4 gap or 7 gap, and the center guard gap is a 1 gap technique.
Above Pic Source: Coaching Offensive Lineman by Dave Christensen and James A. Peterson
Here is the 62 Multi 8 Youth Football Defense playbook Football Defensive Gap Techniques and Alignments page. It uses Player number / Hole # then Gap, Head Up, Inside or Outside shoulder for alignment techniques. Over the last 10 years this has been easier for the youth football players to understand than the traditional Defensive Gap Techniques and Alignments from above. The 9,6,7 and th 5, 4, 4i always is confusing even to me. What do you think?
I number the offensive players, use the letter ABCDE gaps, and use our offensive numbering system to communicate my defensive gap techniques shade system. It works great for us over the last 15 or so years. See the diagram above on defensive gaps, alignments and holes.
Football Defensive Gap Techniques and Alignments Video
This video on defensive gap techniques and alignments is focused on my 62×8 defense but can be used by other youth football defenses as well. This is a 6:30 minute video that goes over defensive gaps and defensive alignments that is easy to understand for youth football players 5u, 7u, 8u, 9u, 10u, 11u and 12u. Let the high school coaches try to teach the confusing traditional number system. We did not use it in HS, who does maybe the NFL?
What do you use to teach defensive gap techniques alignments and shades? Do you like to use the confusing traditional numbering system at the top of the page? Sometimes tradition gets in the way of function and efficiency. I am old school but like to make things easier for my pee wee football players.
Do you love coaching youth football defense? How long have you been coaching youth football? Leave me a comment below.
Please leave me a comment below or contact me anytime. I love talking youth football, offense, defense, special teams and learning more about defensive gap techniques, alignments, shades and positions. We are all still learning how to become better youth football coaches.
Remember to Play for Fun and Winning is Funner!
Fort Worth, Texas / Keller / N Fort Worth
updated 2/5/21 – Football Defensive Gap Techniques and Alignments