Madden 23 stiff-arm

How to do a stiff arm in Madden NFL 23, and when to avoid it

By Steven Rondina


Aug 28, 2022

Reading time: 2 min

A properly executed stiff arm is one of the most satisfying things to see in football. Here’s how to get your stiff arm fix in Madden NFL 23, and when not to use it.

The latest installment in the Madden series gives players greater control over how their players move around the field. Thousands of new animations were added to enable exact cuts and make it so tackles play out differently than what fans have seen in the past. Some past techniques have returned, giving players a lot more control over how things play out on the field.

The stiff arm is back in Madden NFL 23 and it’s as important as ever. Ball carriers can shed off would-be tacklers by literally keeping them at arm’s length. Here’s how to execute this technique, when to do it, and when to avoid it.

How to do a stiff arm in Madden NFL 23

Players can execute a stiff arm in Madden NFL 23 by holding the X button on PlayStation or holding A on Xbox. 

While holding X or A, the ball carrier will prepare for a stiff arm. The stiff arm will be executed when a defender comes in range. How effective the stiff arm is depends on a wide variety of factors. The opposing stats of the ball carrier and defender, the angle of each player’s approach, the speed at which both players are moving, and more variables all come into play.

As with most things in Madden NFL 23, there is potential for risk and reward when doing a stiff arm.

The reward of a stiff arm is straightforward. If it’s successful, it nets more yards for the ball carrier. Players are usually slowed down after shedding a tackle, so it’s possible this might just be a short gain. Ideally, a player blasts away a defender and finds themselves with only open field remaining ahead of them.

The risk is that the ball carrier has an increased chance of fumbling the ball while attempting a stiff arm. If the player is dedicating one arm to the ball and one arm to swatting away tackles, another defender approaching from the ball side can knock the ball lose to force a turnover. Because of that, Madden players shouldn’t try doing this when running in a crowd.

The alternative to stiff-arming is protecting the ball. While holding R1 on PlayStation or RB on Xbox, the ball carrier will hug the ball tight with both arms, significantly lowering the risk of a fumble.