Offense is the best form of defense they say. But all said and done, in a game of football or any other sport, like soccer or hockey, neither the offensive or the defensive flank is irreplaceable. Here, offense can perhaps be a good defense tactic, but it is no substitute for actual defense. Take for example the defensive flank in football. Linebackers are the support system for the defensive linemen. Without these linebackers, a team cannot defend to the best of its abilities, and however great the attack, it would be nullified.
The Role of a Linebacker
American football connoisseurs, I am sure, will know what the role of a linebacker in a team is. Primarily, they are a part of the defensive flank, and are positioned behind the defensive linemen, approximately 4 meters behind the line of scrimmage. There are 2 main types of linebackers―outside and middle linebackers.
Strongside and weakside linebackers are two types within the outside linebacker position. The strongside linebacker normally lines up from across the tight end. He has to possess the capacity to shed, fight off, and withstand blocks from a tight end or a fullback blocking the back of a pass play. On the other hand, a weakside linebacker typically chases the play from the backside. This player, therefore, has to have the ability to maneuver through traffic.
It is a ‘Mike’ in football terms, as the middle linebacker is called. He is also referred to as the quarterback of the defense. He is undoubtedly the most skilled and important player amongst the linebackers. This is the player who gets the defensive play call from the sidelines. He then relays the strategy to the whole team. In games where there is a standard defense formation, these players are in charge of the team, when it comes to tackles.
Becoming the best in what you do, be it a linebacker or a pianist, does not happen overnight. It takes consistent efforts to reach a level of expertise, especially in sports like football.
The key to performing well as a linebacker is to be in good shape. By shape, here, I mean fitness and health. So the first tip is that, during off-season training periods, speed and ladder drills, and jump roping are essential to develop pace and agility in your moves.
A linebacker, especially the middle linebacker, has to know the defensive signals, adjustments, and plays for his team. He has to quickly analyze and know what the players need do for each play. Spending extra time with the coach, and going over signals and adjustments is a good way to be completely prepared on that front. Memorizing scouting reports and close scrutiny of key opponents is yet task he needs to do.
Another tip for linebackers is to work on tackling. Practicing in getting low and then driving through the player will help. For improving vision, study plays and become a student of the game. This is useful for outside linebackers as well!
Following a nutritious diet and working out is essential for enhancing the strength of the core muscles used in performing the function of a linebacker. A diet is needed which will give the player some bulk and power, and at the same time keep him lean.