Football Coaching Tools: Teaching the Three-Point Stance

Feet. Slide. Squeeze. Sink. Down. Guide your linemen into battle on the gridiron by using this five-step formula for a strong, balanced three-point stance.

For linemen, maintaining balance is key to successful protection. One of the tools used to help achieve this is the three-point stance. As a coach, it’s your responsibility to teach your players to better their chances of holding the line with this popular and effective positioning. Chris Merritt, founding member and master trainer at Heads Up Football, has laid out an effective five-step progression to help you educate your team this football season.


To start the process of getting your linemen into a three-point stance, use the first command: “Feet.” With this call, your players will pick their feet up and put them back down directly underneath their shoulders. This will give their stance the width necessary for optimum stability.


The next command in the setup is “Slide.” For this step, your players will slide their right foot back to line up with the in-step of their left foot, offsetting their footing and providing a good takeoff position.

“That gives us the proper stagger we want in our stance,” Merritt says.


When prompted, players will do the next step, “Squeeze”, which involves bringing their shoulder blades together to spread their chest. This will not only widen their profile and create a larger blocking area, but it can also help to keep their head up, which is an important safety precaution.


The fourth command of the sequence is the “Sink” command. Have your players drop their hips to a sitting position with their forearms resting on their thighs. “This also represents a two-point stance for an offensive lineman and is the last thing you’d do before getting into a three-point stance,” Merritt adds.


The fifth and final command of this three-point stance progression is known as “Down.” This calls for your players to take their right hand and place it out in front of them. Make sure their hands are placed so that both the thumb and pointer finger angle toward the side, as if creating a “V,” rather than having the fingers point straight out in front of them.

If completed properly, your players should have flat backs and be comfortably set in a sturdy position. Ready your linemen for the vital task of defending the line this season by using this five-step progression to the proper three-point stance.