As a linebacker, stopping the run is your first responsibility. To do it right, you’ll need to develop quick reads and reactions.
As a linebacker, your job is to stop the run first. This requires a strong first step in the direction of the ball carrier, so that you can make the tackle.
False steps are common mistakes that linebackers make. To work on eliminating the false step, use an agile bag. Place your heels on the bag, toes pointing forward. At the snap, the bag should help you avoid taking a false step backward. If you hit the agile bag with your heel, you’ll know you are moving in the wrong direction. This is a great way to monitor your movement and make sure you aren’t wasting any motions.
Ideally, you want to take a six-inch read step with your right or left foot, depending on the direction of the ball carrier. If the ball carrier is going to your right, you want to take the six-inch step forward and to the left in order to create leverage to get downhill to make the tackle. If they are going to your left, you would take the six-inch read step to your right.
False steps will slow you down and create missed tackles, which keeps the defense on the field longer. Practice your footwork regularly to be efficient in your movement toward the ball carrier.