Stripping the Football – Coaching Youth Football Defense

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In 2006, an opposing team stripped the football from one of my backs and ran for a touchdown.  Our running back that had the ball stripped, became the leading football stripper on our youth football team.  Stripping the football is a powerful defensive tactic, especially in youth tackle football, because most youth running backs do not secure the football properly. 

We teach our players to make the tackle first and then go for the football.  The first tackler holds the running back and the gang tacklers try to strip the ball.  In an American Football Monthly article, Stripping the Ball, How Boston College Causes Fumbles, Boston College’s Defensive Coordinator Frank Spaziani outlines Boston College’s turnover strategy.

3 Keys to Creating Fumbles

  1. Emphasis – constantly remind defenders to tackle but also create a turnover
  2. Practice – dedicate practice time to create turnovers
  3. Tackling – make a great tackle first using the proper techniques

Coach Spaziani says you must make turnovers important and remind players everyday.  You need to create drills that teach the strip; over-hand club, punching, chop, and grab & pull.  You also must teach players how to pick up a fumble, even the lineman, because everyone is a football player not just the skill players.  Pick up the ball like you were a short stop; hands underneath the football.  Coach Spaziani’s recovery rule is if you’re ahead, fall on the football if behind pick it up and run. 

Your youth football defense should learn good tackling techniques but also emphasize turnovers.  Our turnover goal on Defense is one turnover and one turnover from Special Teams per game .  What are your turnover goals?

Good Luck this season.

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