How to Teach the Stiff Arm

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A 4-yard gain can turn into a 50-yard touchdown if a stiff arm is properly used.

In fact, the stiff arm is one of the offensive player's most valuable weapons. If properly taught, it can effectively prevent a tackler from getting anywhere near the ball-carrier and bringing him down.

To start teaching the stiff arm to youth football players, use a bag or tackling dummy to practice on. When runners show they have mastered the mechanics of the stiff arm, replace the bag with a live tackler and run the drill with full contact or thud mode.

Here is the diagram of a drill provided by the Youth Football Coaches Association that is great at teaching stiff arms in practice. All you need is two cones, a tackler and a ball-carrier to work on proper stiff arms:

Depending on what part of the body the tackler has exposed to the runner, the ideal aiming ponts for the stiff arm are:
  1. Top of the helmet (not the facemask)
  2. Top of the shoulder plate
  3. Chest plate

For a printable .pdf of this drill and others, visit the YFBCA website.