Welcome back for part two as I finish up on going over some of the things you may need to get adjusted to, if you get the chance to play some indoor football.
Again, what I’m sharing are things I’ve heard guys say they had to adjust to when they played indoor football for the first time.
Click the link below if you missed part one.
Competition for roster spots in these indoor leagues can get fierce.
So hopefully one or two of these tips will help you improve your chances of landing a roster spot.
Let’s finish up, starting with d-linemen.
Stunts. Defensive linemen don’t run as many stunts in the indoor game.
On top of that, The “Alley Rule” in the IFL makes it tougher to rush the quarterback.
In the indoor game, d-linemen often have less than two-seconds to get to the quarterback, which forces them to get better at their speed and power rushing techniques.
They also have to get used to more one-on-one battles than they’re probably used to in outdoor football.
No “shady” business. And if that wasn’t enough, linemen in the Arena League aren’t allowed to shade o-linemen!
They have to play straight-up.
Without a doubt, it’s easy to see how these issues can take some getting used to.
Here’s some film of 2nd team All AFL DE Derrick Summers.
See if you can notice any of the things we’ve talked about so far.
Here’s some film of 2011 AFL Defensive Lineman of the Year, Cliff Dukes of the Tampa Bay Storm:
Mostly pass blocking. Even though it’s easier to run in the IFL, there’s no where near the run/pass balance that you’ll see in outdoor football.
Because of this, offensive linemen have to get used to pass blocking most of the time.
As a lineman, you’re used to having to pass and run block during the course of a game, but in the indoor game, you rarely run block.
All alone. As I mentioned above in the d-lineman section, o-linemen that are used to double-teaming d-linemen from time-to-time have to learn to pass block every play in a one-one-one battle.
They also have to adjust to the d-line speed and power rushing most of the time.
Whether that’s a good or a bad thing, of course, depends on their skill set and experience.
Check out this film of first team All-Arena (for the 2011 season) Rich Ranglin.
Indoor football can call for a pretty big adjustment for kickers coming from the outdoor game.
Goal Post Dimensions. Kickers making the transition from the outdoor game are used to goal posts that are 18 1/2 feet wide with a 10-foot high crossbar.
In the Arena League, goal posts are only nine feet wide, with a 15-foot high crossbar.
In the IFL, the goal posts are 10 feet wide, and are 10 feet from the ground.
Obviously, these are pretty big differences.
Don’t aim. From what I’ve heard, kickers that try to mentally adjust to the new dimensions by aiming their kicks tend to have issues.
The successful kickers will tell you that they have to trust their technique and just kick.
No punting. There’s also no punting in indoor football (IFL nor Arena), because teams always go for it on fourth downs, either by running a regular offensive play, or kicking a field goal.
2011 Second Team All-AFL kicker Juan Bongarra in action:
QB/WR timing. Because of the condensed field, the margin of error is small when it comes to timing between the quarterback and the receivers indoor game.
Body position. The reduced field size also makes body position a very important factor for receivers in the indoor game.
Defenders can jump the passing lanes so much easier on the condensed field, that receivers have to know how to consistently and effectively use their bodies to shield the ball from the defenders.
Quicker releases off the line. Receivers in the indoor game have to get quicker releases off the lines than in traditional football, because the plays develop so much faster.
Related: Workout for Wide Receivers Part 1
Route running. The smaller field and speed of the game make it crucial for receivers to get proper angles on their routes.
2011 First-team All-AFL wideout Tiger Jones in action:
No RB’s on the roster in Arena. There aren’t any true running backs in the Arena League, but they have fullbacks.
There are running backs in the IFL, though.
Most running plays in the Arena League are just small dive-like plays in short yardage situations where the team’s trying to get a first down.
On the rare occassions that a team runs a true running play, it’s quite often the receivers running the rock on a toss play, instead of the running back.
Goalpost/net deflections. On kickoffs, it’s common for the ball to bounce off the goalposts or crossbar.
As a kick returner, it’s hard to determine where the ball is going to go when it bounces off, so returns can be a little more difficult in the indoor game, because you don’t have to deal with this in the outdoor game.
Some footage of All-AFL Second Team WR/KR CJ Johnson:
Check out this quick video of NFL Hall of Famer Lynn Swann explaining the differences between the Arena League and the NFL
Again, these are just some things I’ve heard players that have played in these leagues say they’ve had to adjust to.
If you find yourself having to play indoor football, hopefully some of these tips help you get adjusted.
Have you coached or played in the indoor game (or know someone who has)?
If so, are there any adjustments that I left out? Leave a comment below.
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