Knowing what they look for is cool, but I think we need to take it a step further and take some action on this info!
If you’re like most guys that have dreams of playing pro football, you might have to train yourself. To help you out, I’ve compiled a bunch of drills that you can do.
But not just any drills. These are drills that will help you get better at most of the specific things NFL scouts look for when they’re analyzing middle linebackers.
A lot of drills out there require equipment of some kind. But to help those on a budget, the drills listed below require little-to-no equipment to be purchased.
Disclaimer: If you’re injured, or have health issues, please consult with a doctor before doing any of this stuff. I, nor Get2TheLeague.com is responsible if you hurt yourself, or tear-up your mom’s house trying to do these drills.
With that said, let’s continue.
There’s a difference between football speed and clockin’ a fast 40 time.
There’s a lot of guys that don’t play fast, but can run a 4.4 or below in t shirts and shorts. You should want to do both well, but football speed is the more important of the two.
>>Related: How to Set Up Your Own 40 Yard Dash Training
You can check out the article we did on developing football speed below:
This guy gives some really good tips on running the 40. I really wish I knew some of this stuff back when I was trying out for teams back in my hey day.
I was really impressed with the information in this video. He explains every single part of the 40 yard dash, but from the perspective of the scouts or personnel that’s timing you in the 40.
He then gives you a strategy to use to run the 40, that’s based on how they time the 40.
This gentleman gives you some more guidance in using a strategy with your 40.
He also gives you examples of specific exercises you can do to get faster in the 40 yard dash.
If you’re a football player, you should be familiar with the names of the exercises that he mentions. If you’re not, it’s no biggie, just Google the terms and exercises to become more familiar.
Former NFL players Chris Gizzi and LeCharles Bentley go over the basics of hand placement, and break-down the dynamics of the hand battle between linebackers and offensive linemen.
Strong hands are good to have, but you need to be quick with your hands, to be effective.
You should be able to do all three of these drills from home. For the last one, I’m sure you can find something around the house to use instead of the big bag that he’s swinging at the kid in the video.
These drills use the speed ladder to help you get quicker hands.
Again, you don’t really need to buy a ladder, you can just use tape, or chalk, to mark your spots on the floor.
As Coach Walsh mentioned, it’s vital for an outside linebacker to be able to operate and tackle in space.
This drill can be done without having on pads, but be careful not to get too aggressive. Don’t forget that you’re not wearing pads.
Obviously, other than technique work, it’s tough to work on tackling without having equipment on, but the drill below is something you can do.
It teaches you to explode with your hips through a tackle. Not the most exciting drill, but properly exploding through the tackle is vital, and is important if you want to be considered a good tackler.
By the way, I did a post a while back that covers exercises you can do to hit harder when you’re tackling.
Of course, being a sure tackler is more important than being known for laying the boom on an opponent, but let’s not kid ourselves; there’s not a football coach or personnel person in the nation that doesn’t get excited when one of their players lays a big hit.
You can do these drills at home with a friend, with basically no equipment needed. It would be useful to buy one of the bags they use in a few of the drills, but they’re not necessary. These drills will train you on explosion and using proper form in your tackling.
The exercises in the explosion post I referenced in the tackling session above are all about explosion and burst.
They’ll help you develop the explosion that scouts look for in middle linebackers.
You should be able to do the first and last drills in this video without equipment. You need a sled for the second drill, but you might be able to put something together around the house or in the backyard that you can use instead if you don’t have access to one.
Most people don’t realize it, but hip flexibility plays a huge part in developing explosion in your hips.
Increasing the range of motion in your hips is crucial. These drills will help you with that.
Ability to Shed Blocks
Unfortunately, this video/drill doesn’t have any sound. Fortunately, it doesn’t need any.
It shows you the shrug technique for shedding blocks.
Ditto what I said above. Only difference, this one shows the rip technique instead.
Change of Direction/Lateral Movement
This video introduces the 2-3-2-3 drill, which’ll help you with your lateral agility and quickness.
They’re using speed hurdles on the video, but you should be able to find something (or make something) around the house that you can use instead.
This drill is designed to help you develop the lateral speed you’ll need to excel as a middle linebacker.
This drill reminds me of my db days back in college, but it’s great for linebackers, too, because there will be times where you’ll need to turn and run with a runningback, tight end, or receiver.
I really like the drills in this video. You can just watch these guys perform these drills and see how helpful they can be in helping you develop your abilities to change directions on a dime.
Disclaimer #2: Again, I’m not a trainer, I just gathered a bunch of training materials that cover drills and exercises that can help you improve in the specific areas that NFL scouts tend to look for when analyzing middle linebackers.
Click the link below if you wanna check out part two:
Catch me on Twitter. @alvingrier