How To Teach A 3 Point Stance In Football

Written By: Chris Haddad
Updated: April 23, 2024

The 3 point stance is the most common in football because of its dynamic positioning.

The 3 point stance allows players to maintain leverage on blocks and create force from the ground-up. A powerful 3 point stance is the difference between winning and losing at the line of scrimmage.

In this article, we’ll show you how to get in a proper 3 point stance and how to teach it to your players.

Why Football Players Use The 3 Point Stance

The 3 point stance was invented by Pop Warner, who taught it to all offensive positions in the early days of football. Similar to a track stance, the 3 point stance was created to help players generate as much power as they can before they make contact with an offensive or defensive player.

If you took a player in a 3 point stance and a player who was standing up, the player in the 3 point stance would win with leverage every time.

This is why you’ll see both offensive and defensive players in 3 point stances.

How To Get In a 3 Point Stance

Below we will show you step by step how to get in an optimal 3 point stance. This stance can be used for both offensive and defensive players.

How to get in a football stance

First, stand with both feet shoulder-width apart. You don’t want your feet too wide, or you won’t have a sturdy base when you get into your stance.

3 point stance

Next, put your dominant foot to your heel and step back at a 45-degree angle, so your foot is about 6 inches behind your hips. This will help you get your back foot aligned properly.

setting up for a 3 point stance

Understand that all body types are different, so it may be 6 inches behind the hip or 12 inches. Everyone is built differently, so how far you align your back foot will vary.

Once your foot is back 45 degrees, you want to squat down and put your forearms on your knees. This will get you to the optimal depth.

getting into a 3 point stance

Last, reach out with the same hand on the same side as the foot that’s back. Try not to kick your feet back as you reach out.

3 point stance

You should be able to rest on just your fingers. If you’re unable to, then there’s too much weight on your front hand.

The off-hand should be up and ready to extend out to make contact with the opposing player.

If you notice there is a slight downward tilt on this player’s back. This means that the players weight is going forward, which we want in a defensive lineman stance.

If you’re looking for a more balanced 2 point stance for an offensive lineman, we recommend checking out this article.

How To Coach The 3 Point Stance

Now that you know how to get into a 3 point stance, we will teach you how to coach the 3 point stance so you can correct any errors your players may be having.

First, look at the player’s hand when they get in a 3 point stance. Are they able to lean comfortably on their fingers or do they have to rest on their palm?

defensive line too much weight on the front hand
This means there’s too much weight on the hand.

If this is the case, there is too much weight on the front hand, meaning their back foot is too far back. Players lose their explosiveness when they are too long in their stance.

If the player’s hand barely touches the ground, this means there is too much weight on the front foot. The player needs to load more weight on the back foot to be evenly distributed to generate any power.

There should be a natural downward angle from the player’s tailbone to the shoulder blades when the player gets in the stance. If the player’s back is flat, it means their butt is too low (this is ok for a 4 point stance, but not a 3 point). A flat back stance won’t engage their hips as they take their 2nd and 3rd steps out of their stances.

Offensive 3 Point Stance

The offensive 3 point stance is slightly different from the defensive 3 point stance.

The main reason is that offensive players need to move effectively in a 360-degree radius, whereas defensive players just need to move forward as fast as they can.

Because of this, offensive players won’t have their back foot as far back but more underneath them.

This allows them optimal movement to make a gap block, pass set, or even a double team block.

Here is an example of an offensive 3 point stance.

Offensive line 3 point stance

If you notice, their chest is slightly raised, so they can move in either direction, as well as see if any blitzes are coming. This is the main difference between an offensive 3 point stance and a defensive 3 point stance.

To learn more about lineman fundamentals, check out our Defensive Line University Course and Offensive Line University Course.

About the author 

Chris Haddad

Chris Haddad is the founder of vIQtory Sports & high school coach for over 12+ years. He has been featured as an authority on Hudl, Bleacher Report and countless other football-centric platforms. Chris continues to study and provide valuable content for those looking to learn more about the game of football.