Football Special Teams Training – How to Bust the Wedge
Special teams can make the difference in who goes home with the win and who suffers the loss.
Simply put the receiving teams job is to advance the kick off return as far down the field as possible. With a couple of key blocks, put the ball in the end zone. Setting up those key blocks starts with the wedge.
The wedge as we all know is a wall of players the return man screens behind hoping to find the opening that can spring him for big yards or a 6 point run back.
The kicking team sends down its rushers and wedge busters, running full speed, risking life and limb as they hurl their bodies at the players making up the wedge. Sometimes the wedge busters are successful, stopping big run backs. However there are many times they are not, allowing the big momentum changing run back. Momentum that can change the out come of the game.
How do we become more effective in busting the return teams blocking wedge? Don’t try to run over or knock down the blockers. Instead split the blockers.
Run straight at the blocker full speed, sell him on the fact you plan to run over the top of him. No matter how skilled and practiced he is, at the last moment he will be bracing for the impact. Rather than make head to head contact, split the blockers, run between them taking the best angle to the ball carrier. Not only do you reduce injury risk to yourself, you will frequently find yourself in position to make the tackle, stopping a long kick off return and staving off any momentum changing returns, like a 6 pointer.