This is Norm Parker's defensive funamental circuit work from a mini-clinic (Rock Island) in 2005. Without a doubt, no coach has made a more dramatic impact on my thinking from a defensive perspective, than Coach Parker. Thinking I knew everything and finding excitement in a myriad of blitzes and coverages, after talking with Coach Parker, he illuminated the folly of that thinking by dilluting it all back to what the players know and how everything is essentially just tackling and leverage. That the defense (and players) have to adjust to what the offense presents - the more you introduce into a situation, the greater the likelihood something will break.
Here is a semi-formal write-up of what Norm Parker shared in the session where he presented this video.
The key for defensive coordinators is to let players play. Offenses make it confusing enough, don't contribute to slowing down your players.
This is a simple game for simple people.One other thing, don't force your kids to get along and play nice. Don't expect everyone to like each other. That isn't important. Some are big, some little, some fast, some slow - that's life. The thing is to look past the person and see the one thing that matters - the single common denominator - TOUGHNESS.
How could a game invented by a bunch of Phys Ed majors be that hard?
Each player should ask of another, "Do you respect his toughness"? This attitude or swagger is one that resonates, "If you're not tough enough, you're not one of us" that quickly weeds out non-performers and continually raises the expectations of the unit.
"If the offensive players were any good, they'd be playing defense with us"To put player development in a practical perspective, Parker uses the "Rodeo Theory". This 'theory' states that; "There has never been a horse that hasn't been rode. There has never been a rider that hasn't been thrown.You're gonna get knocked down, its getting back up that's the key.
This same mentality is reinforced with his players to foster an aggressive, unrelenting, tough mindset where improvement is stressed and errors are tools to learn from.
3 Things for Coordinators to Stress
- Support the Ball (Support Rules) - players must understand where they fit into the puzzle of run support. Flying around aimlessly won't help your players, they should know the path and pursuit relationship of their teammates.
- Block Protection - Defenders are meant to be blocked, thats what offenses are supposed to do. Defenses are only as good as their ability to not be blocked and protect themselves from being prevented from making a play.
- Tackle - None of it makes any difference if a defender can't consistently make contact and kill forward progress of the ball. Ultimately, this is where defensive players get their all their confidence from. If a defender is unsure of how to tackle he will hesitate and shy away from contact. By using the tackling circuit everyday, if only for 5 minutes, players begin believing in their abilities and recognize its importance due to the attention coaches place on it.
This is easier said than done. We all want a lights-out defense but how can you do this? Parker cites 3 simple rules (for turning players loose).
- Know Keys - There have to be certain, distinct things you want each position looking for on a given play. Limit what stimuli a position needs to be attentive to.
- Believe Their Eyes - when a player sees his key he should know its not a trick, don't hesitate. A player should not be second guessing what his key shows him.
- GO! (once you see it - GO!) - once diagnosed, there should be an absolute reaction for the defender. This keeps responsibilies simple and the logic short. The less thinking a player does, the better he'll perform.
* Work the exceptions later. Build the player's confidence now and you can throw in all the what-ifs later.
- Block Protection
Keep the hips away from his hips on block proection to maintain separation and leverage. Once the blocker gets into the defender, he's through.
Bring the hips together (uncoil) into the target and unload through the core.
Teaching Tackling (see the Shoots Drill)
2) Roll Hips
3) Club with Arms
4) Follow Through.