This drill can be performed in many different ways. It teaches them to play with a wide base, keep their butt down, chest up, time up their hands and feet, move with power, and most importantly play low and with great leverage.
There aren't a lot of drills that can accomplish all of that in a single drill. The hardest thing to get young players (or high school players) to do is play with great leverage.
What is leverage and why is it important (in football terms)?
Leverage is being able to play with a low wide base with your face and chest up so that you are capable of moving the player in front of you. How many times have you seen big guys over extend so their face is down, or "lean" on their opponent. This is due to poor leverage and base. Is it easy to teach? NO! However try starting every practice with your offensive linemen doing the Duck Walk Drill. Within a few practices you will see drastic improvements to their blocking technique.
If you lock your arms out or lean while trying to block a good defensive linemen or linebacker they will grab your elbow and shed you to the side or worse throw you forward on your face.
What if they physically cannot get into the position to do the Duck Walks?
This is common as well in young athletes because they have never had to be in this extremely uncomfortable position. The easiest way to fix this is with your stretching routine. This is a problem for Youth and High School Players alike. You need to start by doing stretched to work on their Achilles Tendons. A couple of easy ways to do this are to take a tennis ball and have them stand on it bare foot then roll it around on the bottom of their foot until it is painful. This will work out any knots they may have due to never using these body parts.
The second stretch they can do is get on one knee and try to push their knee past their toes with their foot flat on the ground. Move from side to side on both side of the foot.
The next obvious stretch would be the old put you toes on the wall and lean forward.
The final stretch is to use a roller or piece of pipe and run it up and down the back of their leg from the bottom of their butt to the bottom of their foot (This too should be very uncomfortable).
In the video below you will see more of these stretches.
The last thing you can do to help get them into the Duck Walk position is to have them hold a broom stick over their head (Jerk Position) then squat keeping both feet flat on the ground with a wide base.
Too time consuming!
Will doing all of this take time away from your football practices? Sure, but will you be able to block anyone if they do not learn to play with a good base and great leverage? Spend your time where it matters. Team sessions of running plays over and over again do not make them better football players. You want to make your team better than the others? Do what they are not doing. Spend half your practices on individual drills like this that will make them better football players. Not only for their Youth Football Team but for their High School Football Team when it really matters, they are representing their schools, and trying to earn a scholarship. This is the First Part to Our 3 Part Series of Offensive Line Drills to view Part 2 Click Here!
Football season is approaching fast! If you need practice plans to help you manage your practices so you do not get stuck in one session for too long click this link to join iCoach.Football where you can download our practice plans. All great football teams from Youth to the NFL use practice plans to structure their practices and stay on track.