The stiff arm is one of the most exciting tactics a ball carrier has in his arsenal. Like a big hit for a defender, a well-utilized stiff arm can transcend a bad run into a good one. Or, better yet, turn a good run into a touchdown run.
What is a Stiff-Arm in Football?
A stiff arm is used by ball carriers to fend off oncoming defenders. This tactic can be very difficult for defenders to defend against.
The most well-known stiff-arm is the Heisman Trophy. Handed out to the player voted as the best player in college football, the Heisman Trophy has been around since 1935.
Players do risk injury and fumbling the ball when deploying a stiff-arm.
To get around a stiff-arm, defensive players can tackle lower and harder.
Are stiff arms legal in football?
Stiff arms are legal in football. While they often end up appearing to be a hands-to-the-face penalty, it rarely gets called. For it to get called, the ball carrier must keep his hand on the player’s helmet or face mask and pull or twist it.
Since the ball carrier only has one available hand, while everyone else has two, ball carriers generally have more freedom to do whatever they wish to with their other hand.
Why do players stiff-arm?
The stiff-arm tactic allows players to prevent the on-rushing tackler from making a tackle. A well-executed stiff arm allows the offensive player to get a greater gain of yardage.
What are the advantages of a stiff arm?
Get extra yards: A stiff arm can be very effective in fighting for extra yards. Whether it’s just a couple or enough for a first down, it can be huge.
Keeps opponents away: A stiff arm can also be great for keeping distance between you and the defender since the defender will always be at least an arm’s length away as long as the stiff arm works.
What are the disadvantages of a stiff arm?
Risk of injury: A fully extended stiff-arm is at higher risk of hyperextension or twisting upon impact.
Increases the risk of losing the ball: If the ball carrier is too focused on the stiff-arm, they could lose the ball through being careless or another player coming in and poking the ball free.
When do players stiff-arm?
Stiff-arms aren’t as easy as they look. The time has to be right for them to be effective. Players should stiff-arm when the defensive player is approaching them at a good angle and on their back hip for the stiff-arm to be deployed.
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How do you stiff-arm?
Have you ever seen the Heisman Trophy, college football’s most prestigious individual award? That trophy is a depiction of John Heisman deploying the stiff-arm tactic. To stiff-arm, you must be running with the ball. With the arm not carrying the ball, put it straight out and aim for the opponent’s chest area or helmet.
How do you stop a stiff arm in football?
The best way to defeat a stiff-arm is by tackling low. By tackling low, the ball carrier isn’t able to get his arm low enough to interfere with your ability to tackle his legs. Additionally, hitting the ball carrier with more power will override any stiff-arm used.
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