How to Square Pull and Dominate on Power Plays

A square pull on power plays is a great way to make a big play as an offensive lineman - so long as you are the one making the hit and not missing the defender.

What is a square pull?

A square pull takes you past your center and through the hole as a lead blocker. It is called a square pull because you want your body square (shoulders parallel) with the line of scrimmage when entering the hole. It is commonly used on inside power plays.

Here are the three main techniques.

Open Pull

The player moves his near side foot first. Opens his body. And runs into the whole trying to get his body and shoulders back to square on entry.

Open Pull Pros

  • Most common square pull technique

  • Good for longer pulls

  • Good when QB is under center

Open Pull Cons

  • Hard to get back to being square with line of scrimmage

Kick and Shuffle Pull

The player moves near side foot first. But then kicks and shuffles the backside foot keeping the body square to the line of scrimmage at all times.

This movement allows the player to move quickly laterally and makes sure they are square at entry.

Kick and Shuffle Pull Pros

  • Great for staying square

  • Good for shorter pulls

  • Good when QB is under center or in shotgun

Kick and Shuffle Pull Cons

  • Hard to cover a lot of ground

Skip/Crossover Pull

The player moves the backside foot first. Kicks behinds his body. And crosses over the enters the hole square.

Skip/Crossover Pull Pros

  • Highly effective

  • Good for short and long pulls

  • Good when QB is in shotgun

Skip/Crossover Pull Cons

  • Difficult to do correctly

  • Risky if QB is under center. Player could step on QB.

Which square pull do I use?

First and foremost do what your coach tells you. It is most likely going to be one of the three above. If he does not give you a suggestion. I recommend using the Skip/Crossover pull.

Common Mistakes

The most common and obvious mistake is not being square once you hit the hole. You want your body to be perpendicular when you hit the line of scrimmage.

Another common mistake is pulling too wide. Look at the image below.


The player pulled too wide thus giving a gap for the linebacker to shoot through. Also, this only give your ball carrier only one place to go - outside of you.

Instead want to hug the outside of your last teammate who is blocking down. It is always easier to adjust back outside to make the block.

Watch the full Video

The full video will cover what I have mentioned above, but more importantly, at the end, it highlights drills to train yourself to be a better square puller.

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