The secret to making plays in the run game is to control the man in front of you first and then look to make the tackle. To do this you'll need to focus on 2 important factors: hand quickness and placement.
Being the first to strike gives you the power and momentum to lock out and defeat your opponent. That's why your hands need to be off the ground and on the man with 0 wasted movement.
Now, if you strike quickly, but without leverage you'll make it 10x harder for yourself to lock out and create separation between you and your opponent.
So it's critical to concentrate not only on how you're striking, but where. Below are a few tips on where to strike when play a 1-gap and 2-gap technique.
1-gap hand placement
When playing a 1-gap (1, 3, 5), shoot the hands at the sternum (or neck) and cuff of the arm to set the edge and stop the momentum of your opponent.
2-gap hand placement
And when playing a 2-gap (2, 4, 6), shoot the hands at the armpits with thumbs up and elbows rolled inward so you can lock out and throw off to either side.
How to improve
Because hand quickness and placement are fundamental to controlling your man, make sure to drill some aspect of these two fundamentals every day after off season workouts.
The goals is to program the hands during the offseason so all you have to do is add speed and violence during season. Below are a few drills you can use to do this.
Drill #1: 2-point hand strikes
Start with thumbs down and practice striking the pits from a 2-gap alignment.
Drill #2: Hand placements
Once you've got the hang of striking from a 2-gap alignment practice striking from a 1-gap as well.
Drill #3: 6-point pole explosion
Now practice working hips and hands together with 6-point pole explosion.
Drill #4: 3-point explosion
Lastly, work your hands and hips from a 3-point with 3-point explosions.
A final word
To develop a D-Line with precise aggressive hands it's going to take lots of practice and tiny improvements every single day. As the famous Chinese proverb says...
The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
And whenever you are ready, there are 2 ways I can help you:
- Learn how to develop top tier pass rushers and a lethal pass rush attack here (1,000+ students)
- Learn how to turn your D-Line into a block destruction machine here (1,100+ students)