Friday, September 9, 2011


Every play is eleven individual battles.  If you win all eleven, you'll win the play.  That's an over-simplification.  Unless you're out there on the field.  On the field, when the ball is snapped, you're using skill and brute force to impose your will on the opponent. 

These individual battles are often away from the ball.  The camera and most fans follow the ball and don't see the individual contests going on play after play.  But later on my computer I can isolate this part of the game.  Today's post is to share some of this away-from-the ball action with you.  Some of the photos are a little blurry because I was focused on the ball carrier.  Some of the photos are older - taken from a scrimmage at Waco a couple years ago (sorry about that; maybe I'll get to more games and practices this year).  Many of these older photos feature still-active players. 

Sometimes a forearm high can discourage the blocker.
It's better to be lower than your opponent but this is a battle and sometimes you just do whatever you have to do.  If you're defense you want to control the space and shake off the blocker.  If you're offense, you want to keep the tackler engaged with you so she doesn't get to engage the runner. 

We're a team but these away-from-the-ball battles are individual, one-on-one.

It is hard to get the photo to convey just how much energy,
how much strength, these battles require.

How do you handle a tackler who is bigger?

This is an open field battle, not exactly in keeping
with the theme of this post.  But the point is
still there - a one-on-one battle for control.

This is line play.  Must be fun when you're
bigger than the linebacker you have to block.

 Many individual battles with cumulative outcomes determining the
outcome of the game.  Here one Outlaw has her opponent on the
ground, the other (Lily) is keeping her opponent away from the

Can you see the energy, strength against strength?

Three shots of Hooper in the Waco scrimmage.
Three separate plays. 

I like this because she's not just using strength. 
She's getting lower than the opponent to increase
her leverage. 

The tackler isn't going to get by.  Can you imagine how doing this
fifty times in a game would wear you out?  That's why football
players need to be in great physical condition.

Play after play after play the folks in the trenches struggle for position, use all their strength to control the opponent.  For the offense this can be a thankless job.  You're only noticed when the one you were blocking gets by you. 

When you watch a game sometime focus on the line play. 

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