Author Topic: The Simplest Zone Scheme on Earth  (Read 7384 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline blockandtackle

  • Bronze
  • Posts: 846
  • Total likes: 515
  • Coaching: High School
  • Defense: Other
  • Offense: Spread Formation
  • Title: Assistant
The Simplest Zone Scheme on Earth
« on: October 01, 2016, 02:37:22 AM »
In my career, I've taught a few different styles of zone.  I've taught count systems, which to me really winds up turning into a form of man blocking if you don't have other layers of rules built in there.  I've taught covered/uncovered, which worked ok.  But then I came to my current school and learned their zone system, which is by far the simplest thing I've ever coached.  I suggest it to any coach at any level who wants a versatile all around blocking system to build an offense around.

Our zone is built around one simple idea: block your play side gap.

That's really it.  It's a form of "area" blocking, but I feel that's poorly understood.

Now, how we teach this is also simple.  The rules are:

1.  Take a 6" zone step playside and block whatever shows there.   In a lot of ways, this is like a down block--follow your track and block what's there.  If there's a DL there, blow him right out with a base block like a board drill. If there's not a body on the LOS there, work up to the next level "up through your cylinder" (translated: up through the playside gap).  We like for them to reach out and touch their play side teammates' shoulder first before working on up.  Keep your eyes in your play side gap, looking for threats.

2.  Similar to our gap schemes, if you've not got an immediate threat in your playside gap, you can, "one armed bench press" and drive through the near number of a defender head up or shaded inside to give your backside teammate some help, then work your track "up through your cylinder", pinning the first LB inside--this gives us the zone combos without actually teaching combo rotation as a complicated thing.  Keep your eyes in your play side gap, looking for threats.

3.  The C can "wrong step" and help the BSG with a 1 tech or 2i.  We do this so we don't let a kid like that get penetration in A gap and blow things up.  We must still keep our eyes in our play side gap so we don't allow the LB run through.

That's pretty much it in terms of who to block.  We'll base our IZ and reach our OZ.

Now, technique-wise, we do get pretty detail oriented.  Our IZ technique is something we rep a ton to get to be better blockers.  Here are our coaching points:

Stance: backed off as far back off the ball as possible.  We align with outside hand down and our hand even with the C's heel.  Back should be flat and feet just a little wider than shoulder width apart and slightly pigeon toed with the knees pointing straight ahead, not cocked in.

Start:  Take the 6" step play side with the play side foot while keeping eyes in your gap on IZ, or step "big toe to pinkie toe" (my big toe to the DL's pinkie toe with the play side foot) on OZ to get in position to reach block.  Load your hands to the bottom of your numbers on the 1st step and get them in position to block.  The pads should not pop up any higher out of the stance than they were in the stance.  Second step should square up the feet as contact is made.

Hands: On IZ, punch with a 2 handed uppercut to the bottom of the breastplate of the DL and clamp down with your elbows tucked in tight to your body.  On OZ, punch with the backside hand to the backside number and the outside hand up underneath the DL's play side armpit--you want to push with the play side hand to the armpit and pull with the inside hand to twist the DL.

Feet: Run your feet VERTICALLY past the first 2 steps while getting hips into position.  This includes on OZ for the reach block.  Keep driving.  If you step flat or wide, you'll not get any movement AND you'll open yourself up to the inside move.  On IZ you should take quick 6" choppy "Power Steps" with the whole foot hitting the ground at the same time (have the kids stomp around for a while in an athletic stance to see how this feels)  On OZ, the steps can be a little bit bigger while you get control of the DL, but you still need to be pushing vertically with quick steps.

Hips:  This is crucial.  With good steps and a good punch to the right place, you want to really get a good blocking fit.  You want to thrust your hips forward, trying to get belt buckle to belt buckle with the DL while lifting him up out of his shoes, and keeping your elbows tucked in tight to your body.  This is what really determines if the block will be sustained and finished or if the DL will destroy it.

Fit:  Basically, you want hips under his hips, pads under his pads, and eyes under his eyes. Back is flat, knees are bent.  Hands clamped down on each side at the bottom of the breastplate and elbows tucked in.  You should be belt buckle to belt buckle after rolling the hips forward, which will lift the DL up out of his shoes.  If you have those things and then bring the hips with good footwork and hand placement, you will win the block 90% of the time, even against a superior opponent.

Drill the stance, start, and footwork on air in warm-ups; then do the fit and finish drill at least once a week with kids fitting to live bodies; then drill footwork and hands on a sled if you have one; and from there go to half line or inside run drill, then team, and coach these things up the whole way.

I hope it helps.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2016, 07:17:35 PM by coacharnold »

Offline morris

  • Gold
  • Posts: 2932
  • Total likes: 156
  • Coaching: Middle School
  • Defense: DC 46
  • Offense: Undecided
  • Title: Other
Re: The Simplest Zone Scheme on Earth
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2016, 12:44:36 PM »
We started using coach Arnold's IZ about halfway through the year. We put in a very bare bones version so next year we'll be much more detailed. The way Michael does two board helps a lot with the steps. I also found a great way to teach the hands that you can use year round. No sled. No bags. I'll see if I can find a good way to post pics or video of it. It is kinda of difficult to explain in text.

Offline blockandtackle

  • Bronze
  • Posts: 846
  • Total likes: 515
  • Coaching: High School
  • Defense: Other
  • Offense: Spread Formation
  • Title: Assistant
Re: The Simplest Zone Scheme on Earth
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2016, 04:30:06 PM »
We started using coach Arnold's IZ about halfway through the year. We put in a very bare bones version so next year we'll be much more detailed. The way Michael does two board helps a lot with the steps. I also found a great way to teach the hands that you can use year round. No sled. No bags. I'll see if I can find a good way to post pics or video of it. It is kinda of difficult to explain in text.

I'd like to see that way for teaching the hands.

Wha tis Michael's two board?

Offline morris

  • Gold
  • Posts: 2932
  • Total likes: 156
  • Coaching: Middle School
  • Defense: DC 46
  • Offense: Undecided
  • Title: Other
Re: The Simplest Zone Scheme on Earth
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2016, 04:50:51 PM »
This isn't the two board drill instead of using a board he used clothes line. Using tent stakes to hold the line and the line. So if we were working zone right the players would line up with the string on their right. Their first step has to be with their right foot over the line. If they don't clear the string they lose the rep. At no point after the rep starts can both feet be on the same side of the string. It's great for their first step and drive.

I'll try to describe the arm thing. This would be for hand placement on let's say IZ. Stand and bring your elbows in tight with your fists around your chin. The fatty part of your arm right above the elbow should be about where you want your OL to strike on the sternum. You then have the blocker strike that part of the arm. Your hand fits right on it and you can strike it as hard as you want and everyone will be fine. To work different blocks you move the arms. I'm not sure if it makes sense but it's easier to see with pictures or video.

Offline Test Account

  • Platinum
  • Posts: 8625
  • Total likes: 3
  • Admin Dead Account
  • Coaching: 6 & Under
  • Defense: Undecided
  • Offense: Undecided
  • Title: Other
Re: The Simplest Zone Scheme on Earth
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2016, 10:32:43 AM »
In my career, I've taught a few different styles of zone.  I've taught count systems, which to me really winds up turning into a form of man blocking if you don't have other layers of rules built in there.  I've taught covered/uncovered, which worked ok.  But then I came to my current school and learned their zone system, which is by far the simplest thing I've ever coached.  I suggest it to any coach at any level who wants a versatile all around blocking system to build an offense around.

Our zone is built around one simple idea: block your play side gap.

That's really it.  It's a form of "area" blocking, but I feel that's poorly understood.

Now, how we teach this is also simple.  The rules are:

1.  Take a 6" zone step playside and block whatever shows there.   In a lot of ways, this is like a down block--follow your track and block what's there.  If there's a DL there, blow him right out with a base block like a board drill. If there's not a body on the LOS there, work up to the next level "up through your cylinder" (translated: up through the playside gap).  We like for them to reach out and touch their play side teammates' shoulder first before working on up.  Keep your eyes in your play side gap, looking for threats.

2.  Similar to our gap schemes, if you've not got an immediate threat in your playside gap, you can, "one armed bench press" and drive through the near number of a defender head up or shaded inside to give your backside teammate some help, then work your track "up through your cylinder", pinning the first LB inside--this gives us the zone combos without actually teaching combo rotation as a complicated thing.  Keep your eyes in your play side gap, looking for threats.

3.  The C can "wrong step" and help the BSG with a 1 tech or 2i.  We do this so we don't let a kid like that get penetration in A gap and blow things up.  We must still keep our eyes in our play side gap so we don't allow the LB run through.

That's pretty much it in terms of who to block.  We'll base our IZ and reach our OZ.

Now, technique-wise, we do get pretty detail oriented.  Our IZ technique is something we rep a ton to get to be better blockers.  Here are our coaching points:

Stance: backed off as far back off the ball as possible.  We align with outside hand down and our hand even with the C's heel.  Back should be flat and feet just a little wider than shoulder width apart and slightly pigeon toed with the knees pointing straight ahead, not cocked in.

Start:  Take the 6" step play side with the play side foot while keeping eyes in your gap on IZ, or step "big toe to pinkie toe" (my big toe to the DL's pinkie toe with the play side foot) on OZ to get in position to reach block.  Load your hands to the bottom of your numbers on the 1st step and get them in position to block.  The pads should not pop up any higher out of the stance than they were in the stance.  Second step should square up the feet as contact is made.

Hands: On IZ, punch with a 2 handed uppercut to the bottom of the breastplate of the DL and clamp down with your elbows tucked in tight to your body.  On OZ, punch with the backside hand to the backside number and the outside hand up underneath the DL's play side armpit--you want to push with the play side hand to the armpit and pull with the inside hand to twist the DL.

Feet: Run your feet VERTICALLY past the first 2 steps while getting hips into position.  This includes on OZ for the reach block.  Keep driving.  If you step flat or wide, you'll not get any movement AND you'll open yourself up to the inside move.  On IZ you should take quick 6" choppy "Power Steps" with the whole foot hitting the ground at the same time (have the kids stomp around for a while in an athletic stance to see how this feels)  On OZ, the steps can be a little bit bigger while you get control of the DL, but you still need to be pushing vertically with quick steps.

Hips:  This is crucial.  With good steps and a good punch to the right place, you want to really get a good blocking fit.  You want to thrust your hips forward, trying to get belt buckle to belt buckle with the DL while lifting him up out of his shoes, and keeping your elbows tucked in tight to your body.  This is what really determines if the block will be sustained and finished or if the DL will destroy it.

Fit:  Basically, you want hips under his hips, pads under his pads, and eyes under his eyes. Back is flat, knees are bent.  Hands clamped down on each side at the bottom of the breastplate and elbows tucked in.  You should be belt buckle to belt buckle after rolling the hips forward, which will lift the DL up out of his shoes.  If you have those things and then bring the hips with good footwork and hand placement, you will win the block 90% of the time, even against a superior opponent.

Drill the stance, start, and footwork on air in warm-ups; then do the fit and finish drill at least once a week with kids fitting to live bodies; then drill footwork and hands on a sled if you have one; and from there go to half line or inside run drill, then team, and coach these things up the whole way.

I hope it helps.
If you try to parcel the blocking by just teaching counting or  covered uncovered you have huge gaps in the rules. And even those two taught together get you in trouble. You really when you look at it carefully, have to put the fronts, counting, covered uncovered and rule blocking all together.
Please don't PM or respond to this Member. It is an account for all of the posts from abandoned or banned Member Accounts.

Offline Test Account

  • Platinum
  • Posts: 8625
  • Total likes: 3
  • Admin Dead Account
  • Coaching: 6 & Under
  • Defense: Undecided
  • Offense: Undecided
  • Title: Other
Re: The Simplest Zone Scheme on Earth
« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2016, 11:30:37 AM »
If you try to parcel the blocking by just teaching counting or  covered uncovered you have huge gaps in the rules. And even those two taught together get you in trouble. You really when you look at it carefully, have to put the fronts, counting, covered uncovered and rule blocking all together.
The fronts tells you how to count and who is covered and uncovered, it will also dictate how to handle defense like split middle. And fronts can be as simple as odd and even. They have two different counts. Not noticeable until the center has nobody over top. You will see the difference when you either linebacker or the nose moves over to the guard. That will help with the gap defender. For example if he is in the A gap, and there is a question as to who is covered. You just go back to what there base is, odd or even.
You can also advance this with end and outside backers are they reduction strong weak. If the end is in the C gap strong and that can be answered by their  base reduction or by where the nose or mike is. Then you just apply whatever rules you have.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2016, 12:20:54 PM by user007 »
Please don't PM or respond to this Member. It is an account for all of the posts from abandoned or banned Member Accounts.

Offline Coach Smith

  • Bronze
  • Posts: 668
  • Total likes: 141
  • Coaching: 11 & Under
  • Defense: Killer Bee
  • Offense: Other
  • Title: Coordinator
Re: The Simplest Zone Scheme on Earth
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2016, 06:08:01 PM »
We started using coach Arnold's IZ about halfway through the year. We put in a very bare bones version so next year we'll be much more detailed. The way Michael does two board helps a lot with the steps. I also found a great way to teach the hands that you can use year round. No sled. No bags. I'll see if I can find a good way to post pics or video of it. It is kinda of difficult to explain in text.

Please do post a video. I am very much a visual learner and I am very interested in this.  Thanks
check out http://www.coaches-clinic.com/



If any thing goes bad, I did it. If anything goes semi-good, we did it. If anything goes really good, then you did it. That's all it takes to get people to win football games for you.
 ~Paul Bear Bryant

Offline morris

  • Gold
  • Posts: 2932
  • Total likes: 156
  • Coaching: Middle School
  • Defense: DC 46
  • Offense: Undecided
  • Title: Other
Re: The Simplest Zone Scheme on Earth
« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2016, 07:59:01 PM »
Did a member just quote themselves or is there something I don't know.

Offline Test Account

  • Platinum
  • Posts: 8625
  • Total likes: 3
  • Admin Dead Account
  • Coaching: 6 & Under
  • Defense: Undecided
  • Offense: Undecided
  • Title: Other
Re: The Simplest Zone Scheme on Earth
« Reply #8 on: October 02, 2016, 08:30:37 PM »
Did a member just quote themselves or is there something I don't know.
Yes I did and I understand how it looks. Apologies. I was hoping to show continuation of thought.
Please don't PM or respond to this Member. It is an account for all of the posts from abandoned or banned Member Accounts.

Offline ZACH

  • Administrator
  • Diamond
  • Posts: 10492
  • Total likes: 1020
  • Coaching: 12 & Under
  • Defense: 10-1
  • Offense: One Back
  • Title: Head Coach
Re: The Simplest Zone Scheme on Earth
« Reply #9 on: October 03, 2016, 11:31:41 AM »
I think we are all saying the same exact thing.

The count according to Pendrys Cool clinic on vimeo states its the only way he could simplify the blocking to face " Sanban on day 1 will run every defense known to man". 

Are there rules after the count yes, are they similiar to "covered_uncovered" you bet ya.

If you dont think so lets take a TV commentators look at zone.

Count- if your guy is on los reach him with outside leverage
Covered- you block the guy who covers you

Count, if your guy is second level and you cant get a clean shot on him work with playside teammate ( sometimes backside teammate)

Uncovered- if you are covered youre working with someone

Its all the same...the count guys like more 1 on 1 blocking, the covered un covered like more combos.

End of the day we all want 5 lineman on 5 defenders when the ball hits the line of scrimmage.

Its like sayin a blonde super model is better then sleeping with a burnette one...theyre both super models!
"Some athletes have division 1 dreams and jv work ethic" - random

Offline somecoach

  • Copper
  • Posts: 112
  • Total likes: 22
  • Coaching: High School
  • Defense: Other
  • Offense: Spread Formation
  • Title: Coordinator
Re: The Simplest Zone Scheme on Earth
« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2017, 01:15:35 AM »
Great post coach!

Quick question, do you "one arm benchpress" on OZ? or do you do something different?

Offline ZACH

  • Administrator
  • Diamond
  • Posts: 10492
  • Total likes: 1020
  • Coaching: 12 & Under
  • Defense: 10-1
  • Offense: One Back
  • Title: Head Coach
Re: The Simplest Zone Scheme on Earth
« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2017, 09:19:54 AM »
Great post coach!

Quick question, do you "one arm benchpress" on OZ? or do you do something different?

We grab/punch and club on wide zone
"Some athletes have division 1 dreams and jv work ethic" - random

Offline somecoach

  • Copper
  • Posts: 112
  • Total likes: 22
  • Coaching: High School
  • Defense: Other
  • Offense: Spread Formation
  • Title: Coordinator
Re: The Simplest Zone Scheme on Earth
« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2017, 04:16:30 PM »
We grab/punch and club on wide zone
[/quote]

So if the situation was:

         B
      T   
   C  G
wide zone to the right

what would the guard do?

Offline ZACH

  • Administrator
  • Diamond
  • Posts: 10492
  • Total likes: 1020
  • Coaching: 12 & Under
  • Defense: 10-1
  • Offense: One Back
  • Title: Head Coach
Re: The Simplest Zone Scheme on Earth
« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2017, 04:38:14 PM »
We grab/punch and club on wide zone


So if the situation was:

         B
      T   
   C  G
wide zone to the right

what would the guard do?

Slip block if he cant get to B easy... if he feels he needs time he will check climb with playside tackle.

Each involve one hand hitting a covered lineman
"Some athletes have division 1 dreams and jv work ethic" - random

Offline Dusty Ol Fart

  • Benefactors
  • Platinum
  • Posts: 7575
  • Total likes: 916
  • Coaching: 14 & Under
  • Defense: Other
  • Offense: Other
  • Title: Retired
Re: The Simplest Zone Scheme on Earth
« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2017, 08:14:13 PM »
We grab/punch and club on wide zone


So if the situation was:

         B
      T   
   C  G
wide zone to the right

what would the guard do?

To Zach's Point its not about 2 its about 5,6, or 7 and "The Front" presented by the Defense.  As important is the RB ability to read the LB properly!   Set up his blocks and use the flow of the defense against them.   

Zone concepts are as much about the Backs as the OL. 

jmho ;)
Not MPP... ONE TASK!  Teach them!  :)