Football is a contact sport. The hard-nosed-nature of the game calls on athletes to be aggressive in their movements and to meet their physical opponents with agility, skill and force. In order to stay competitive and safe on the gridiron, teams should practice their blocking, tackling and physicality so that proper form can be enhanced and a safe point of attack can be made. One drill that perfectly encapsulates all of these requirements is the Oklahoma Drill.
Heads Up Football founding member and master trainer Chris Merritt says that the Oklahoma Drill utilizes a blocker, defender and running back so that a variety of football skills can be trained with this one exercise. To set this simple-yet-seasoned drill up, have the defender and blocker line up face-to-face in a three-point stance. The running back will start a few yards behind the blocker, so that they can better simulate coming through the line of scrimmage. Set up a blocking and running lane by placing two step dummies to the side of the blocker with a cushion of a few feet on either side.
When the whistle is blown, the defender and blocker will clash with each other, each trying to get the best of their opponent. Simultaneously, the running back will approach the line of scrimmage as if accepting a handoff and, according to Merritt, read the block and travel up field through the provided hole.
“The job of the blocker is to get off the football, engage the defensive lineman and drive him off the ball,” Merritt says. “The job of the defensive lineman is to engage the offensive lineman, extend his arms, disengage and make the tackle.”
The Oklahoma Drill is a great way to teach point of attack, as well as to how block and shed blocks. It can also be a fun addition to your practice routine, since the drill creates a little friendly competition between teammates. For added enthusiasm, try and get the rest of your roster involved, too, by having them pump up both the defender and blocker.
“Football is, has been and will always be 11 guys going one-on-one against each other,” Merritt says.
The Oklahoma Drill is a fantastic way to strengthen the skills necessary to meet those matchups head-on. Follow these tips to this proven training routine and prep your team for the season’s gridiron battles.