Run Blocking Techniques

Inside Zone


Offensive line is the position I played and have the most experience coaching so I really like to nerd out over the little specifics and details of a lineman's block. For the sake of brevity and our time, I will boil things down to their simplest and most critical components as best as I can. You can always adjust these base techniques to fit the needs of your team and personnel.

Run Blocking Techniques

The Basics


A proper stance is critical to successful line play. It effects everything from your first step to where you make first contact with a defender. A bad stance will leave you at a huge disadvantage. The following list is the basic and most critical components of a proper lineman block.

1. Feet

Feet are shoulder width apart and comfortable. Weight should be evenly spread across both feet to maintain balance. You should be on the balls of your feet and set firmly in the ground. It's important to not lean forward or backward, not because it might tip a play, but can put you in a bad position that defenders exploit to their advantage.

2. Base

Feet should be staggered toe to instep. Right foot forward on the right, left foot forward on the left. Shoulders and knees should be aligned. shoulders must be square to the line. Any tilt or twist is something defenders can exploit. This is especially important for pulling linemen. Once again its not because it can tip the play off to defenders, but savvy defensive linemen will shoot the gap in the direction of the pull and disrupt the play.

3. Hands & Elbows

Always preach "thumbs up, elbows in". This means get the hands and elbows to the proper striking position where you can deliver the most force when you strike a defender. You can try this at home. If you supinate you hands and thumbs upward, your elbows will naturally follow to the correct position. The elbows should be tight against the body.

4. Head & Upper Body

Eyes should be up and the head should be back. It is important to not lead with your head when you try to block. The shoulders should be pulled back and the chest open.

"Step and Strike"

Once the stance is comfortable, the next step is stepping to and striking an opponent. The first step is a 6 inch step towards the opponent. This first step is critical to maintaining power in the block. As the linemen takes their first step, they will cock their hand back like a cowboy reaching for their pistols in a duel. It's important to keep the thumbs up and elbows in for the first strike. The second step is another six inch step towards the opponent. This is the strike phase. As the linemen is taking his second step, they un-cock their arms and strike the opponent, contacting the opponent in the pectoral region. It is critical for the blocker to keep their hips lower than their opponents hips to maintain leverage.

Finishing the Block

Finishing blocks is one of the most important part of a block. Linemen finishing their block can make the difference between a mediocre play and a great play. After the linemen makes contact with the defender, they will continue to drive their feet until the echo of the whistle. The blocker must maintain their hips lower than their opponents hips. Blockers must continually drive their defender away from the ball and the point of attack. Never be ashamed of putting your defender in the dirt.

Inside Zone

Inside Zone relies on covered or uncovered rules, a linemen who is covered up by a defender has a different assignment that the uncovered linemen. One of the main goals of Inside zone is we want movement across the offensive line. This means that we look to double as many defensive linemen as possible. We want to drive them into the linebackers. Uncovered linemen will look to double with covered linemen to a linebacker.

Covered Steps

1st step: 45 degree 6 inch step to the playside defender. Make sure to reach for their holsters with their hands

2nd Step: Replace backside foot with another 6 inch vertical step. Strike the defender in their breastplate. Remember thumbs up elbows in.

3rd step: drive your defender using small 6 inch steps, keeping your hips lower than their hips. Keep s wide base with the weight on the inside or balls of your feet.

Inside Shade to double steps

If you have an inside defender and are looking to double, he first step is the same but the second step doesn't replace your playside foot. Look to get vertical through you 1/2 defender.

Uncovered steps

If the linemen is uncovered, they will use a small 6 inch step flat toward the call. They must keep their shoulders square. They will look for a double team on a defensive linemen, usually inside. If the defender goes away from them, they will climb to a LB. If the defender steps to their inside gap, they will double the defender to a LB. The linemen waits for the LB to commit to decide who comes off of the double.

Outside Zone

Outside Zone relies on offensive linemen reach blocking along the line of scrimmage. One of the main goals of outside zone is that we want the defense to run with us or overreact to the offensive front. The offensive linemen's goal is to get to the outside number or shoulder of their defenders.

Reach Steps

A covered Offensive Lineman on the play side will execute a reach block.

1st step: wide 6-8 inch lateral step that gains width and depth aiming outside of the defender’s play side foot. Remember to load the hands.

2nd Step: The second step will aim down the middle of the defender. One hand punch with the backside arm aiming at the defender’s chest. The play side arm should remain free throughout the entire block. Once contact is made, the blocker must work to get his pads square to the line of scrimmage.

3rd step: Once contact is made, the blocker must work to get his pads square to the line of scrimmage. If the blocker cannot reach the defender, he will then torque the defender outside and wash him to the sideline.

Technique Videos and Resources

Blocking For Youth

Heads Up Blocking

Executing Double Team Blocks

Finishing Blocks