Stalk Block – Blocking the Perimeter

2 Nov

Stalk Block

If you want to improve you’re outside running attack, one quick fix is to teach your wide receivers how to stalk block.   The technique we teach our WRs is different from what we teach our RBs and is as follows:

First we want the WR to drive hard at the DB and make him think he’s going deep.  “Sell the nine” we tell our wide outs.  We want the DB to start his backpedal which will allow the WR to get proper positioning.

Proper positioning translates into the WR getting his body between the defender and where the ball is going.  He then throttles down and comes under control, getting into a good, ready-to-hit position.  What we call a “breakdown” position which resembles a LB’s stance.


The WR doesn’t need to make a big hit on the defender.  Heck, he doesn’t even need to hit the DB at all just yet.  The ball is probably 10-15 yards away, so if he makes a big hit now, the DB is just going to bounce off the attempt and make the play.  Tell your WR to mirror the DB but to be patient and to let the defender come to him.

When the DB makes a move to the ball, the WR should stay under control — that is to say, he should NOT lunge at him.   He should strike with both hands on the DB’s breast plate. We tell our guys to roll up their fingers to keep them from grabbing cloth, but they should be able to lock their hands onto the breast plate of the DB’s shoulder pads to control him.

The WR should have his arms fully extended when he does this, with his butt low and a good base so he can move laterally easily.  His eyes should be on the bottom of the DB’s numbers or whatever body landmark you usually use. He should continue to mirror the DB so he can stay between him and the ball.

At some point the DB is going to attack in one direction.  When that happens, the WR should release the hand in the direction to which the defender attacked — i.e., if the DB goes right, release the right hand — turn his hips and ride the defender in that direction as hard as he can.

So if the DB commits to the outside, the WR should take him all the way to the sideline and, if he commits inside, he should drive him all the way back to the DL.  He shouldn’t worry about pushing him into the RB.  It’s the RB’s job to read the WR’s block and run off it properly.

This works for us and hopefully will work for you as well.  It’s simple to teach and master.  Just remember that the key phase of a stalk block is the beginning — “Selling the nine”.  It’s essential to get the DB to backpedal, so he must believe that the WR is going deep.

Stalk Block

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