Before you teach your players any defensive football plays, it might help to make sure they can tackle. If your players can't tackle effectively, no amount of fancy strategy is going to help you. They also need to know how to handle blockers. Blockers are players on the opposing team that try to keep your players from tackling whoever is in possession of the ball.
For young players, there are three basic defensive moves you can teach them. The first is the "bull rush." This is a charging move that can work well if a blocker has his weight resting primarily on his heels. Another defensive move is the "pin and rip." In this move, the defender must stay low and use his momentum to pin the blocker's arm. A "push-pull" move can be used if the blocker is settling his weight forward. His forward momentum is essentially what pulls him down.
Once these moves have been introduced, you may be ready to move on to defensive plays. Explain to your players that defensive plays all have the same goal: to stop the opposing team from moving the ball. They should focus on stopping the other team from getting first downs. If they do this successfully, the opposing team will have a hard time scoring, and your team will get possession of the ball [source: Long and Czarnecki].
It is a good idea to teach your players a few basic formations and a few simple plays to begin with. You may move on to more complicated plays as they progress or as you coach more experienced players. Many examples of specific lineups and defensive plays are available on the Internet, both free and for a price [source: PlaySportsTV].
Special teams are an often overlooked element of youth football. Read on to learn more about these.