Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The 3-4 Defensive Scheme for Pop Warner Football

If you properly modify the 3-4 defense, you can have
tremendous success at all different age levels. In the
NFL, the Pittsburgh Steelers have won Super Bowls using the
3-4 defense.

Looking like the 5-4 defense, the 3-4 will confuse many
coaches at the youth football level. A crucial component
when installing a difficult defensive system, like the 3-4
defense, is making certain it has been adjusted to the
level you are coaching. If you are coaching a young team
you will not need any of the fancy blitz packages in the
3-4. The stunts, slants, blitzes and corner back schemes
come in many varieties in the 3-4 defense. Many of these
will have to be left out or tweaked in a big way if you
want to use them at the pop warner level.The younger your
players are in age, the less complicated you need to make

Every level, including flag, should use the defensive line
slants. This devastating technique will have your defensive
line messing up your opponent's blocking schemes and they
will not even realize you are doing it to them.

With the proper preparation, including a complete scouting
report of your upcoming opponent, you should be able to use
the slant to confuse the blocking schemes of your opponent.
The beauty of the 3-4 defense is that you should be able
to mess up your opponents entire offensive line using only
three players. Hopefully you have scouted your opponent
and have a good idea of the blocking styles he will attempt
to use against your team. Using defensive line slants, you
will be able to occupy all five of his offensive linemen
with just your nose guard and two defensive tackles. When
used properly, you will enjoy a two player advantage for
the game. We show all the modifications for the defensive
line slants and stunts in our youth 3-4 Defense Playbook.

For over 20 years the 3-4 defense has been my base defense.
I have installed it with 14 year-old travel level teams as
well as 5 year-old flag teams and have enjoyed tremendous
success. I have coached in the smallest city in my
conference and have rarely allowed greater than two scores
in any game. In nearly half my games we have shut out our
opposition and I have a winning percentage of over 80%. I
believe in minimal, if any, blitzing and like to use the
defensive line slant to keep the opponent's offensive
linemen away from my line backers. Unblocked line backers
run free to make plays and I want my best athletes running

In conclusion, the 3-4 makes a wonderful defense to use at
all levels of football as long as the coaches use a
modified version applicable to the level they are coaching.

Jim Oddo has been coaching youth football, ages 4-14, for
over 23 years. In addition to coaching tips, there is a
wealth of information regarding youth football playbooks.
Find over 400 FREE tips and great articles on every aspect
of youth football at:

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