Shoot the Gap Drill
A defensive player and a ball carrier each stand five yards behind the line of scrimmage.
Three players holding blocking pads stand on the line of scrimmage with three yards of space in between each other.
The purpose of this drill is to teach linebackers how to “shoot the gap” in order to shoot past blockers and get to the ball carrier.
This drill is set up to provide defenders with a game-like scenario where they will have to shoot between blockers and get to the ball carrier. Shooting the gap is particularly needed when offenses deploy either a zone blocker technique or send linemen on a pull block around to the outside.
The coach, standing behind the defender, begins the drill by indicating to the offense which direction he wants them to run (left or right).
All offensive players begin running that direction with the blockers running almost directly horizontal and parallel to the line of scrimmage.
The defender must make a quick first step and mirror the movement of the ball carrier. After a few steps, the defender must make his decision on which gap to shoot through in order to get past the blockers and get to the ball carrier.
The defender will wrap up the ball carrier without tackling him to the ground because the focus of this drill is not on the tackle itself, but on the technique needed to shoot through the gaps of the blockers.