Discussion: 3-Point Stance

17 Jul


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There’s some disagreement about what constitutes a “proper” three-point stance. Some coaches want a little air under the heels of the player, while others prefer the player have his feet rooted into the ground to form a solid base, especially if that payer will be asked to move in different directions. Some want some weight out over the extended hand, while others will argue to have no weight on it at all.  What is certain is that a three-point stance for an offensive lineman is – and should be – different than it is for a defensive lineman, because what is expected of them is different, especially if that D-lineman is in a 1-gap scheme.

The 3-point for an offensive lineman is pretty much determined by the type of offense they’re operating in. If that O-lineman will be asked to drop (or kick-slide) into pass protection, or bucket step to execute a trap or wrap blocking assignment, or flat step to combo block a D-lineman to linebacker depth then you don’t want him aligned with weight out over his hand and his butt jacked up. Because as soon as he picks up that extended hand, gravity will force him to take a false first-step to prevent him from falling forward. That step will have little or no power behind it and rarely, if ever, will be directional. The defense wins.

If you’re going to ask your O-linemen to drop, pull, go flat, or drive forward, it makes more sense to have them flat-footed with their weight distributed thru their thighs over their ankles, and not out over their extended hand. In this kind of stance, there should no weight over the extended hand, but behind it. The danger, and what must be looked for, is the player sinking his butt, which elevates his heads and  pads, causing him to elevate his pads on his first step. This generally happens when a player has his head craned back so he can see. Just have him elevate his butt to create a flat and have him look thru his eyebrows.

What you definitely don’t want is the 3-point described at USA Football unless you’re strictly a run offense, and your O-linemen will be crowding the line and base (man) blocking only. The 3-point described in the videos is perfect for an option offense that uses a lot of scoop blocking toward the playside, but not schemes that require lineman to move in different directions.

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Note the down hands of the players, how much weight is over them. Notice too the free hand of the player in the middle, the one with his hand by his face. That isn’t going to help him engage a defender in the split-second before contact along the line of scrimmage.  

The key to a good 3-point we would argue is balance and comfort. Balance so that a player can charge in any direction, and comfort so that he’s thinking about his assignment, and not his stance. Both will come with practice. Here are some guidelines that will help you teach a 3-point to your kids:

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  • toes pointed straight-ahead.
  • Knees turned in, not out.
  • Extended hand in front of the staggered foot. Not centered.
  • There’s no weight on the extended hand.
  • Cocked arm on the thigh, or outside the knee, and relaxed. Ready to fire.
  • Head not tilted back. If tilted, butt will drop and you’ll stand up.
  • Players are looking through their eye brows.
  • And lastly but most importantly, they have a flat back.

In our next articles, we will first discuss a D-Lineman’s 3-point, followed by a discussion of an O-lineman’s first 3-steps and how critical they are to winning a block.


2 Responses to “Discussion: 3-Point Stance”

  1. Brian morrissette July 17, 2016 at 5:50 pm #

    Offensive linemen feet should be flat and no weight on the down hand defensive line should be a little air under the hill and have weight on the down hand

    • oksooner92307 July 18, 2016 at 12:25 am #

      Thanks for commenting and you’re right. Don’t know if you noticed, though, but I was talking about O-Linemen in this article and will discuss D-Linemen in the next.

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