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How to Perform a Pancake Block in Football

By Zach Lazzari

The pancake block is a technique used by linemen and offensive backs to completely flatten their defensive opponent on his back. The block requires great positioning to gain leverage and drive the player to the ground. Performing the pancake block requires excellent speed, strength and the technical instincts developed during practice. Leg strength is the key to lifting and dominating the opponent with this block.

Setup and Stance

Break from the huddle and approach the line of scrimmage, or assume your position in the backfield. Take a 3-point stance and keep your eyes forward. Do not look in the direction of your assigned blocking route or you will give away your intended direction.

Create an Angle

Explode from your stance and maintain a low position as you travel toward your target. You must remain lower than the target to gain the appropriate position. The block is possible with direct contact but gaining a slight angle provides a significant advantage.

Gain the Upper Hand

Make contact by dropping your level and exploding into the defender. Make contact under the shoulder pads with your hands and drive your legs to lift the defender. Once lifted, the defender loses power and you have complete control.

Finishing Moves

With the defender elevated, drive your legs and put all your weight into him. Drive him into the ground until his back is flat. If you require additional leverage, turn your hips to create a greater angle before driving through the defender. Hold the defender on the ground using your body until the play passes you or the whistle is blown.

After the Play

The pancake block is an aggressive move in which you dominate your opponent. Maintaining sportsmanship after the play is of the utmost importance. After the whistle blows and the play is dead, stop making contact and separate respectfully. Return to the huddle and do not engage until the next play. Some players are inclined to respond after you release your weight but sportsmanship must remain a priority.

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