USA Football Contact System clinics: Safety through superior technique

By Brent Glasgow | Posted 5/2/2018

The USA Football Contact System clinics are underway, and they are a key resource for high school football coaches, coaching staffs and teams across the country who want to implement the revolutionary methods designed by former NFL offensive lineman Scott Peters.

The system teaches proper use of the hands and hips to reduce helmet contact through exceptional technique. The leverage-based, all-position system addresses posture and body movement for skill development and transformation.

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Peters has taught the system to more than 50 college and professional teams, including NCAA Division I football programs like USC, Oklahoma, Stanford, Washington, Arizona and Arizona State, and the NFL’s Detroit Lions, Dallas Cowboys, Indianapolis Colts and Cincinnati Bengals.

Tip of the Spear clinic

"[This system] is so detailed I don't think anyone has seen anything like it before; that's what we hear from every coach we work with." Peters said. "Everything is spelled out."

The staff of Lakeview Academy (Gainesville, Georgia) recently completed a Contact System clinic on their campus, led by master trainer Jon Clanton.

Lakeview Academy head coach Matthew Gruhn said the half-day session provided a new foundation for his program.

"Highlights of the day were to go back and analyze our old way of doing things, looking at the new ways of doing things, and realizing how much more effective we can be," Gruhn said. "We're a small school, we have kids who are undersized, and now we have an advantage to teach them how to take on and handle bigger people, and to do it in a safe way."

That's one of the primary lessons of the USA Football Contact System.

"Football focuses so much on the attributes of big, fast and strong, whereas skill is something related to the techniques you are implementing," Peters said. "Size is arbitrary when you have really good technique."

After the clinic, which featured both classroom and on-field instruction, Gruhn said, "We can coach better and sell this to parents out there to say, 'We're going to make a better player out of your son and it's going to be a lot safer,'" adding that as coaches get better teaching the system, the players and program would improve.

Lakeview Academy football practice

Coach Matthew Gruhn instructs players at Lakeview Academy. (Photo via AccessWDUN)

In analyzing various USA Football programs, the Contact System struck Gruhn as a way to improve his program in multiple facets.

"We're always looking for ways to make the game safer, but also looking for a way to play better, and [the contact system] appealed to me and us as a way to do those two things," Gruhn said.

About the USA Football Contact System

The Contact System is part of USA Football’s latest effort to teach smarter techniques in blocking and defeating blocks, in an effort to advance skill development and reduce helmet contact. The phrase "tip of the spear" comes from the military term, in which an initial force is used to puncture an enemy’s line of defense, followed quickly by concentrated force that destroys the threat. In this case, the hands are the "tip of the spear," followed immediately by the force of the hips to win one-on-one pre-tackle contact situations.

The system is taught as a progression from basic principles to position-specific to scheme-specific contact.


ACCESS: Click here to access the Contact System B.L.A.S.T. video.

"Blocking and defeating blocks are foundational skills in our sport," Peters said. "Techniques needed to win those 1-on-1 competitions should not involve contact with the head and they can be learned by any athlete who loves to play football and wants to learn.

"This is not only about safety, it's about performance. You can learn this right now. It's very easy and simple to teach, it's transferable through all the ranks of football. It's about how to teach them a better methodology. It's about how to build a culture around domination with the hands and shoulders."

To see how the Contact System can improve the way you coach your players on leverage when it comes to blocking and defeating blocks, click here to access the Contact System B.L.A.S.T. video.

The USA Football Contact System includes a coaches-only clinic and a coach-and-player clinic, which last three and five hours, respectively. This contact system training also offers hands-on coaching, classroom instruction, customized training and other resources.

The USA Football Contact System is focused on a skill development model — Shape, Sharpen, and Polish. These drills are implemented into offseason training, as opposed to football's player development model of bigger, faster, stronger.

Shape drills are meant to shape the body to understand and utilize techniques. 'Shaping the spear.'

Sharpen drills are noncompetitive, contact-based drills. These drills work on hand fighting. 'Sharpen the spear.’

Polish drills are designed to get players to learn how to compete together or against each other to help refine those drills they learned. 'Polish the spear.’

Here's an inside look at the Contact System clinic at this year's USA Football National Conference in Orlando, Florida:


Peters said the USA Football Contact System has been successful, and many coaches have adopted the technique. "My goal is to make sure every player in the world has access to this information. I want to make sure every player understands so we can truly transform the game in a way that's embraced by all." Peters said.

For more information on USA Football Contact System clinics, click here.

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Arm yourself or your entire coaching staff with the most effective and sophisticated systematic approach for blocking and defeating blocks, with material for both line and skill position coaches.


This post was updated on 12/6/18