Correcting the False Step in Youth Football

Many youth football players are slow to the point of attack because they make a simple mistake--they false step.

False stepping is taking a jab or wasted step away from the direction you are wanting to move in. Tyrone Willingham, former coach of the Washington Huskies, showed us all at the Nike Coach of the Year clinic in 2006 how to solve it with a simple coaching adjustment.

Coach Willingham mentioned that more 90 percent of the kids he sees today out of high school have a big problem with false stepping. In today's competitive football environment, any wasted movement that slows a player down can be the difference between a successful play and a failed one. If you have weaker or slower players, false stepping is the difference between your quarterback being sacked by a blitzing linebacker and a successful block by your offensive tackle protecting the inside gap.

It's the difference between your single wing tailback hitting a hole that's open for a split second and getting stopped for no gain after the hole has closed.

Coach demonstrated that when you settle into your two-point stance before moving the hand down to the three-point, to ever so slightly flex the knees towards each other to the inside.

Try it for yourself. As you flex the knees slightly towards each other before going to three-point, or even stay on your two-point stance, it is physically impossible to take a step back before you take a step forward.

My offensive linemen and tailbacks struggled with this for the last 15 years up until this season, it won't happen to us again thanks to coach Willingham.

Discuss This Article