Playing the position of offensive lineman in the sport of football can be very difficult. It takes years of practice to be good and years of experience to be great. When choosing to play the position of offensive lineman you must understand “the little things” that will help you to become a good player. When referring to “the little things” I mean technique. There are a lot of different types of techniques so I’d like to start with the stance.
The stance is where everything starts for an offensive lineman. Without a good stance a player is usually at a disadvantage. Also, I’d like to emphasize how important it is to understand balance and how it translates to being a good offensive lineman. The only time a lineman will have an unbalanced stance is when he is operating in offenses such as the Triple Option or the Wing T. Follow these steps to see if your stance is balanced. Let’s use a right handed stance as the example here:
- Step 1– Bring your feet together and then slide your right foot back so that the toes of your right foot are even with the middle of your left foot.
- Step 2– Keep your left foot where it is and move your right foot out so that your feet are shoulder width apart. If you are a bigger player you can move your feet out a little bit further, but not too much. You don’t want to be too comfortable in your stance.
- Step 3– Check your toes and your heels to see in what direction they are pointed. If your toes are pointed out, force your heels out so that your toes are pointed straight. It’s okay if your toes are pointed out slightly, but not too much. Also, make sure your heels are on the ground and not up in the air. With heels on the ground it will help you with your balanced stance.
- Step 4– Keep your feet where they are and squat straight down. This may not be very comfortable at first, but with practice your legs will get use to it.
- Step 5– Extend your right arm straight ahead and then bring it down to the ground. If you do this and your heels are up in the air then you’ve reached out too far. When you bring your right arm down you should be able to run your fingers over the grass/turf. If you can do that without falling forward you are in a balanced stance.
- Step 6– Make a fist with your left hand and “staple” it to the outside of your left knee. Keeping your off hand even with the center of your body will allow you to strike a defender faster.
Finding a stance that works best for you takes a lot of practice. You are going to make a lot of mistakes but making mistakes is how we learn. Keep practicing, stay positive, and you’ll have good results!
Offensive Line Coach
William Paterson University