A swim move in football is a pash rushing technique most commonly used by defensive lineman to get past their blockers. This technique is often used on smaller players as it typically requires a mismatch in height to pull this move off.
This pass rush technique is referred to as a swim move because the arm that travels over top of the blocker will resemble the motion of a front crawl.
How To Do A Swim Move
To perform a successful swim move you are going to have to freeze the o-lineman’s feet, push him to the side, and then swim your arm over him as you pass. Here is how you complete those steps.
Come out of your stance and hit the offensive lineman with a stutter step. This means you will quickly chop your feet. This makes the lineman believe you are about to make a cut. As the lineman waits for your cut he will become flat-footed.
It is at this point you decide if you want to cut inside or outside your lineman. For this example we will cut inside. If you are rushing towards the inside you want to place your inside hand on the linemans inside shoulder.
You will then push the lineman with your inside hand as your outside hand “swims” over him. You should find once you have pushed the lineman and swam him that you have now made it behind him into the backfield.
If you would like to see a visual example check out the video below.
Pros And Cons
When it works you are home free
One huge benefit to swim moves is that when they work you are exactly where you want to be. With pass rush moves like a bull rush, you may find you’ll disrupt the play but you won’t often get to the quarterback.
If you are able to successfully pull off a swim move you have left your defender behind you. Essentially a swim move is a homerun swing because pulling it off successfully will pay great dividends.
Beats Defenders Quickly
Another great aspect of the swim move is that it will get you in the backfield quickly. Unlike spin moves or double moves which can take a while to develop, the swim move is completed in a much quicker fashion.
This is especially relevant in today’s NFL in which quarterbacks are making more of an effort than ever to get the ball out of their hands quickly.
Doesn’t Work On Tall Lineman
One issue with the swim move the defeners must understand is that it isn’t going to work on tall offensive lineman. The reason for this is simple, you need to be able to swim your arm overtop of their head.
If you attempt to reach up and swim over a tall defender you may find they can take advantage of your lack of balance. A quick hit to the chest when reaching up high to swim can easily knock you on your butt because your center of gravity was far too high.
Well Known Move
Another negative aspect with swim moves is that they are not exactly a new trend. Every single offensive lineman in the NFL has likely had to defend against a swim move one hundred times.
Now, this isn’t to say that the swim move doesn’t work but rather that most offensive lineman will likely know what move you are attempting. Not to mention the fact they have probably practised stopping swim moves before.