Linebacker Tips: Stance & Movement

As a linebacker, you have to be ready to move, and it all starts with fundamental positioning. Use these tips to improve your pre-snap skills.

Linebackers are asked to move in a variety of directions and to be successful, you have to start with a good stance.

To get into position, begin with your feet at least shoulder-width apart or slightly wider. Square up with the line of scrimmage. Sink your hips and bend slightly at the knee, so you are in an athletic stance. You can rest your hands on your thighs or have them hanging out in front of your body.

Beware of the all-to-common pitfall of the false step. This happens when you take a step backward before moving forward. One way to prevent false stepping is to start in your stance with your power foot back three to four inches so you can drive off that foot. You’re basically starting in the false step position, so you can avoid that wasted backward movement and bring power to your first motion.


The 4-corner drill is a great way to test your stance and movement. You need to be able to keep a good athletic position and move efficiently to be able to make plays. To begin the drill, set up four cones in a square, approximately five yards apart. Step into the center of the square looking forward at your coach. When your coach points toward a cone, move quickly to it.  Sprint, shuffle, cross-over run or backpedal; just get there as fast as you can. As you approach the cone, stay low with your head up, looking at your coach. Your coach will then give you another command, sending you in a new direction.

Move quickly between six or eight different cones before pausing to catch your breathe. By regularly working on this drill you can build stamina, speed, quickness and agility. As you get better, increase the number of cones within each series. If you’re having trouble with false steps during your first movement, make sure to pause the drill and start from the stance again.

Developing a good, strong athletic stance will help you in all components of your game.