The hit stick returns in Madden NFL 23, and using it is vital to having success against either AI or real-life opponents.
The hit stick first arrived in Madden 2005. Since then, it’s become an integral part of playing the game on defense. Before the introduction of the hit stick, the only real way to influence how a player was tackled was to perform a dive. That still exists technically, but the go-to method for influencing how a tackle is made is using the hit stick.
The hit stick is back in Madden NFL 23 despite some major changes to the gameplay. Here’s how to use it, when to use it, and what it actually does.
How to use the hit stick in Madden NFL 23
Players can use the hit stick in Madden NFL 23 by pressing up or down on the right analog stick while playing on defense. With the right timing and positioning, the hit stick allows players to stop the ball carrier on the spot.
Pressing up on the hit stick will have the player-controlled defender perform a high tackle, blasting them in the chest to stop any forward progress. This also has a better chance of forcing a fumble than a regular tackle.
The ideal use for this is in a short-yardage situation. If properly executed and perfectly timed, a shot from the hit stick will knock the ball carrier backward and keep them from falling forward for that extra yard towards a first down. The drawback is that if the ball carrier has the room to juke and times the move well, they may cleanly dodge the tackle attempt.
Pressing down on the hit stick has the defender drop low for a chopping tackle to the offensive player’s legs. This has a higher probability of downing the ball carrier, but they can potentially get an extra yard or two of forward progress by falling forward over the top of the tackler. It can also be countered in some cases by hurdling, as the ball carrier can simply jump over the defender and keep going.
The best way to use this type of hit is on a player that has just secured a reception or shed a tackle. If timed properly on a player that isn’t fully in their stride, it can prevent them from planting their feet to gain any extra yardage. It’s not ideal in a situation where a player can hurdle over the tackler and then have a clear path to a touchdown.