When playing as the defense in Madden, it can sometimes be frustrating trying to successfully stop the momentum of your opponent’s offensive drive. The opponent seems to have an answer for every play you call and every move you make.
It can seem like no matter how well you cover your man, someone gets open on the other side of the field. It can feel like the offensive ball carrier gets a bit of a lucky fall and passes the first down marker despite initially being hit before it. Maybe one of your defensive backs just committed pass interference at the worst possible time, giving the offense a brand-new fresh set of downs.
Alternatively, maybe you find yourself trailing on the scoreboard late in the game and just need to get the ball back as fast as you can to have a chance to pull out the victory.
Whatever the scenario, learning how to best use the hit stick will be your best friend. The hit stick allows you to lay out a ball carrier with a booming hit, and often times it can even cause a fumble. Today we’ll go over how to hit stick in Madden NFL 23.
Using the Hit Stick
Utilizing the hit stick is a fairly simple and straightforward process. It doesn’t take long to get the hang of it, and once you do, you can use it to make the offense pay on the football field. The hit stick is triggered by pressing the right stick either up or down when approaching the ball carrier.
Whether you press the right stick up or down will decide what form of hit stick your defender attempts, so it’s important to know what each variation does and when the proper time is to use each one.
Pressing Up on the Right Stick (High Tackle)
Pressing up on the right stick as your defender approaches the ball carrier will trigger the high tackle hit stick. This is a high-power hit to the ball carrier’s upper body that stops all momentum in its tracks.
It’s the kind of hit you probably first think of when you hear “hit stick”; the kind of hit you see on NFL highlight clips that creates a loud thud and makes the crowd collectively gasp on impact.
The high tackle hit stick is best used when the ball carrier is already in motion and their current trajectory lines up to nicely cross paths with your defender. This hit stick variation will often immediately reverse the offensive player’s momentum, sending them flying back to the ground.
This makes this specific hit useful as you approach the first down marker or goal line, as successfully pulling it off will ensure they won’t cross the line thanks to any potential forward momentum that could otherwise carry them through the tackle attempt.
The high tackle hit stick also greatly increases the chances of the ball carrier fumbling on impact, giving your team a great opportunity to get the ball back and swing the momentum of the game in your favor.
Pressing Down on the Right Stick (Low Tackle)
Alternatively, if you press down on the right stick, it will trigger the low tackle variation of the hit stick. This tackle is still extremely powerful, but it’s more of a chop block type tackle, with the defender throwing themselves at the ball carrier’s lower body.
This version of the hit stick can come in handy when the defender you’re controlling is smaller than the ball carrier, such as a cornerback attempting to tackle a tight end. Going low on the offensive player can help to counteract any advantage they may otherwise have thanks to being bigger and stronger than the tackler.
The low tackle hit stick also works well on a ball carrier who has just caught the ball or is getting out of a broken tackle animation. In those scenarios, the ball carrier is already somewhat off balance, so going after their legs can give you a greater chance of successfully making the tackle.
The low tackle doesn’t have as high of a chance of forcing a fumble or breaking up a reception as its high tackle counterpart, but it can still be used effectively for both.
Potential Risks of Using the Hit Stick
Using the hit stick is fun and creates big plays for your defense, but it can’t be that easy! The hit stick does also come with potential downsides. If you learn what these downsides are, however, you can learn how to best mitigate them to still be able to make the big play.
The most common downside of using the hit stick is that it can make it easier for the ball carrier to elude the tackle attempt. This is because when you trigger the hit stick, the defender sacrifices some degree of precision, technique, and accuracy to focus on laying the big hit on the opponent.
Due to this, a high tackle version of the hit stick gives the ball carrier a better chance of juking out the tackle attempt, while the low tackle variation gives them the opportunity to simply hurdle over the defender.
If you whiff on a hit stick attempt, you could wind up seeing your defender throw themselves at the turf while the ball carrier dances past them and up the field for a big play.
The high tackle variation of the hit stick also has the chance of merely pushing the offensive player back instead of to the ground. If you poorly time or angle an attempt at a high tackle hit stick, be prepared for the possibility of it bouncing the ball carrier backward but them staying on their feet and proceeding to pass you by for extra yardage.
Meanwhile, the low tackle hit stick can cause the ball carrier to fall forward on the impact of the tackle. While the tackle has successfully sent the player to the ground, a forward fall can cause them to pick up a couple of extra yards and inadvertently cross the goal line or first down marker.
This is why the high tackle hit stick is the better option in short-yardage situations, as it negates the chance of the ball carrier falling forward into success.
Hit Stick Related Player Abilities
Additionally, there are a few superstar and superstar X factor abilities that can either strengthen or counteract a hit stick attempt if you can get your player to enter the zone.
The strongest hit stick-related zone ability is the “Avalanche” superstar X factor ability, which is possessed by the Los Angeles Rams’ MLB Bobby Wagner. This ability means that when the player enters the zone any and every successful hit stick tackle will force a fumble from the ball carrier.
This isn’t the only hit stick-related ability that Bobby Wagner has, however, as he also boasts the “Enforcer” superstar ability (also possessed by Minnesota Vikings SS Harrison Smith). This ability means that any hit stick attempt that makes contact with the ball carrier is guaranteed to be a successful tackle.
This combination of abilities means that if you’re looking to have fun hit-sticking players into the turf, Bobby Wagner is your guy.
The abilities don’t end at Wagner, however. New England Patriots OLB Matthew Judon boasts the “Demoralizer” superstar ability, which means that any successful hit stick attempt will completely wipe and reset any progress the ball carrier has made towards entering the zone and unlocking their X-factor ability.
If you prefer to play offense you can still benefit from the abilities, as Tennessee Titans HB Derrick Henry has the “Tank” superstar ability, which allows him to effortlessly break any hit stick attempts made on him. If you’re playing as a defender against Henry, it’s best to forego a hit stick altogether and rely on the default conservative tackle.
Be sure to keep these players and their abilities in mind when introducing a hit-stick attempt to the equation so you don’t get caught off guard and allow a hit-stick-related special ability to lead to a big play to your opponent.
The hit stick in Madden 23 is an incredibly useful asset when you’re playing on the defensive side of the ball. When used correctly, it can stop a ball carrier’s momentum in their tracks and sometimes even force a fumble for your defense to recover.
However, it is important to both know and remain aware of the potential ways that a hit stick attempt can backfire on you so that you can avoid whiffing and giving up a big play to the offense.
With this information, you can use the hit stick ability to create big momentum swings for your team and ultimately lead them to a victory on the football field.
While we’re on the topic of defensive tips, it will help if you also learn how to force turnovers in this game. Check out that guide to add one more feather to your cap of your defensive tricks!