I’m always very intent when I watch a little league football. I want to see right up front if the players know the basics, kind of my thing as we’ve discussed–BASICS. Then I look to see what youth football training drills they need to alleviate any issues I find.
I watch to see if they can get on and off the field, can they huddle up, can they get to the line in an orderly fashion, and can they get into a proper stance. Sounds easy enough, I mean, anybody who’s ever watched a football game can pretty much figure it out.
Unfortunately, I’ve seen slews of youth football coaches that don’t teach players how to get into a stance. They are so excited to get to the playbook and start hitting drills that they DO NOT COACH! Good grief, it makes me want to go down on the field and lecture the Coach on the basics.
If your players can’t get into a basic football stance they are already a step behind! You can’t just be a Coach, you have to Coach.
The tough part is every position has considerations with regard to football stances, so let’s dig into this.
Types of Stances
Basically there are 3 types of stances: a 2 point stance, a 3 point stance, and a 4 point stance.
All stances include being on both feet–2 of the points in every stance. A 3 point stance includes one hand down for balance and a 4 point stance includes both hands down for balance.
Which Stance to Use Where
The 4 point stance is almost always an interior lineman’s stance and primarily on defense. The 3 point stance is primarily for interior linemen on both offense and defense. But the 2 point stance is very versatile, can be used all over the field.
The key is to make sure that your players are comfortable and firing off the ball properly when they come out of the stance. I’ve seen coaches who mandated that interior linemen on the right side of the ball use a 3 point stance with their right hand down and vice versa on the left side of the line. I’ve seen coaches that mandated interior defensive linemen all use a 4 point stance; all nose guards use a 2 point stance, fullbacks use a 4 point stance,…
The fact is, as a Coach, you have to figure out which stance and which variation of that stance gives your player the quickest most effective first step on a given play in a given situation based on their position.
- The KICKOFF TEAM generally uses either a 2 or 3 point stance. You want this team all in the same stance. This creates uniformity which is intimidating to their opponents and you will get the benefit of the doubt with the referees.
- The RECIEVING TEAM will need to be in a 2 point stance as their first step will most likely be backwards.
- INTERIOR LINEMEN are generally in a 3 or 4 point stance (although my preference at the 6-12 year old level is to have the offensive line in a 2 point stance for pass plays)
- RECEIVERS, DEFENSIVE BACKS, LINEBACKERS, and RUNNING BACKS are good in a 2 point stance–all of these players need to be up so they can get a clear view of the other side of the line of scrimmage.
- FULLBACKS, if you use them, can use a 2 or 3 or even a 4 point stance–purely a coaches preference and dependent on the actual offense
Don’t make it difficult.
What is a Solid Stance
To reiterate, whatever stance gives a player the quickest, most effective first step given his/her position–that is a solid stance.
While the player is in his/her stance, does he/she:
- have good balance (can’t push them over or backwards out of that stance)
- have the ability to see the player in from of them
- have his/her back parallel to the ground to insure they have control of their body when they fire off the ball
- have the ability to step left, right, forward, and backward out of that stance as required
- have the ability to disguise that first step
Interestingly, coaches often have a particular perfect stance in mind. But invariably, a player will come along that violates every standard known to the game and they will be perfectly capable of meeting all of the above criteria. They will be able to make effective first steps when firing off of the ball–let them be!
The football stance is a building block, one you can’t ignore. If a player can’t get into a proper stance, they will start the play a step behind PERIOD. Then the coach ends up trying to fix the wrong problem.
Kid can’t block, why? Running back can’t get to the line of scrimmage in time to take a handoff, why? Linebacker can’t string a play out, why? Defensive back can’t make a tackle, why?
Playing football is like anything else we do in life, if you can’t write, then you can’t fill out a job application, can’t work, can’t make money, can’t pay bills, and on and on and on. If a kid can’t do the basics, he/she will always struggle with the more advanced requirements of the game.
We had a walk on in college, he had been in the Marine Corps for a few years, then came to college with his GI bill. Fantastic guy, cut like a body builder, and in great overall physical shape. He had played football in high school and thought he’d try college. He was great in drills, vicious hitter, and very knowledgeable about his position as a Linebacker. But in scrimmages he was just awful. The coaches figured out that his first step on every play was backwards, he was literally 2 steps behind on every single play–his second step was getting him back to his original position–and they could not break this habit. So they taught him to chop his feet in place on the snap of every play–SUCCESS!
The stance, dictates the first step, and the first step of every play leads to success or failure on each play. And the key is to ensure that you are using the right youth football training drills to address that first step.
If you still need more encouragement, coaching, or just a little confidence boost, read my review on CoachTube.com, it may help.
As always, if you have any comments please leave them below, they are always appreciated. If you have questions I will answer them as soon as I can…I promise! 🙂