Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Four keys to pursuing the football - is it all speed?

Posted by http://www.athletesadvisor.com

Granted - speed makes up for a lot of mistakes in football. But as you climb the food chain re: advance in the playoffs, or play a big time schedule, or just play in the SEC, most teams are even on speed (or pretty close). So, when you cancel out speed what is left? Speed endurance? Yup, but that too will even out.

This book might give you some answers so you know what do with you players once you have (or train) some fast ones. Visit Humankinetics.com for a HUGE selection of speed and conditioning books.

Champaign, IL--Unbridled pursuit of the football seems like a simple concept. But, according to Ron Vanderlinden, author of Football's Eagle & Stack Defenses (Human Kinetics, 2008), pursuing is not simply running to the ball. "If this were the case, speed and effort would be the only requirements for proficiency at this task," says Ron Vanderlinden. "Pursuit also requires discipline and the development of proper technique."

In Football's Eagle & Stack Defenses, Vanderlinden explains four types of pursuit that should be employed by defenders:
  1. Shuffle. This technique, often used by linebackers, is a controlled movement parallel to the line of scrimmage. The shuffle technique begins with an 8- to 12-inch reach step with the foot in the direction of the defender's initial movement. The initial step should be low to the ground and parallel to the line of scrimmage. The other foot should slide a similar distance, also low to the ground and parallel to the line of scrimmage.
  2. Alley. Alley pursuit begins whenever the shuffle does not allow the defender to keep pace with the ballcarrier as he gains speed. The defender must turn his hips and run inside out to the ball. He must work his arms hard to keep his shoulders as square as possible. He should also maintain a low pad level. When the defender regains his leverage on the ballcarrier, he should regain his shuffle and fit inside out on the ballcarrier.
  3. Press. This term describes a technique used by a linebacker when he has an opening to the ball. In this situation, the linebacker should press the ball, attacking the line of scrimmage in an attempt to make a minus-yardage play. This type of penetration from a lineback is essential for creating defensive plays that have a positive impact.
  4. Angle of pursuit. If the ballcarrier quickly outflanks the interior defenders and crosses the line of scrimmage, the defenders need to adjust their course to put each defender in position to intercept the ballcarrier. As an individual defender regains leverage on the ballcarrier, the defender should regain his shuffle and expect the ballcarrier to attempt to cut back.
In Football's Eagle & Stack Defenses, Vanderlinden provides a thorough explanation of the two defenses, their base structures and adjustments, key reads and techniques, and positional responsibilities and requirements.
For more information on Football's Eagle & Stack Defenses, contact Human Kinetics at 800-747-4457 or visit www.HumanKinetics.com.

Vanderlinden Football's Eagle & Stack Defenses
Ronald A. Vanderlinden
Paperback · 248 pp
ISBN 978-0-7360-7253-3 · $19.95
Ron Vanderlinden has been Penn State University's linebacker coach since 2001, where he is recognized for developing one of the top linebacker units in the nation. He coached the 2005 and 2006 Bednarik Award winners, the 2005 Butkus Award winner, two-time first-team All-American Paul Posluszny, and consensus All-American Dan Connor. Vanderlinden began his coaching career in 1978 as a graduate assistant for Bowling Green State University in Ohio, where he had earned his master's of arts degree. He has enjoyed great success in his career as a Division I coach with stints at the University of Colorado, Northwestern University, the University of Maryland, and his current position at Penn State. Vanderlinden has been an integral part of four Big Ten championship teams, three Big Eight championship teams, and one National Championship team. He and his wife, Lisa, live in State College, Pennsylvania.

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