The best way to prepare players for various game situations is to have them do position drills. This will help them learn the technique and it can give them a feel of what a game environment feels like.
For football defensive positions, there are a variety of drills available.
Coaches should do a combination of position and unit practices that are appropriate for the player’s skill set. A middle linebacker wouldn’t benefit from wide receiver drills as much as he would linebacker drills, therefore, it’s important to evaluate each player’s strengths and place them into the most suitable position.
In the case of defensive linemen, it’s important to do defensive line drills that help them develop hand techniques and proper footwork.
One of the best defensive line drills teaches players how to shed blocks. You do this by having a lineman line up directly across from a blocker. As the lineman approaches the defender, they put their hands up to maintain separation from the offensive player. Then, you show different ways to shed the blocker like a swim move where the defender rotates their arm around the opposing player.
Other defensive line drills deal with maintaining proper footwork. To begin, have a lineman stand across from the blocker. When the player approaches it’s important the defender keeps their shoulders squared and their feet shoulder’s length apart. As the offensive lineman initiates contact have the defensive player stay lower then the blocker and use quick foot work to run or spin around them.
Lastly, a hit and go drill is a great way for the defender to initiate the contact then shed the block quickly. To start the drill, have the defensive player approach the lineman. Then the defender quickly hits the blocker then moves off to tackle the ball carrier. This teaches lineman to initiate contact, get off blocks quickly and find the player with the ball.
Defensive line drills are a fun way to teach players the fundamentals in an engaging way. These examples illustrate different techniques you can teach defenders, which can help them be successful on the field.