Your stance at the line of scrimmage is more important than you think. A majority of the receivers I’ve seen, at every level, have an inefficient stance. It is an often overlooked fundamental by many coaches. The stability of your stance will determine your ability to come off the line of scrimmage effectively. The stance I see most often is one where the receiver has a majority of his weight on the front foot and the other foot is placed almost directly behind the front foot, his front shin is completely vertical and he is either leaning too far forward or standing too tall. To compensate for the lack of lateral stability when the feet are placed this narrowly, these receivers will cock their front foot inward at a 45 degree angle.
When I encounter a receiver that has a stance like this, it is very easy to show him why this stance is so inefficient. I will let the receiver get in this stance and then I will stand in front of him as a press coverage defender. I simply club him on one of his shoulders and knock him off balance laterally or, if he is leaning too far forward, I will grab him at the top of the shoulder pads and drive him down to the ground. It is not possible to have any lateral stability when the back foot is directly behind the front foot and if the forward body lean is too great it is very easy to take a receiver to the ground. If a receiver is standing too tall, a good jam technique by a defender will completely stone him at the line of scrimmage.
The other thing I will ask a receiver to attempt out of a stance like this is to take an immediate, 45 degree step to the inside with their front foot. Invariably, the receiver will false step with their back foot out of a stance like this. With the feet so narrow it is impossible to take a quick, 45 degree step to the inside or outside with the front foot without first stabilizing the stance by false stepping with the back foot. This is due to having almost zero lateral stability.
Now, these problems are very easy to eliminate if the proper stance is applied but rarely do I see a receiver in a truly efficient stance, even in the NFL! Here are the techniques associated with a proper stance:
1. The feet are shoulder width to nipple width
2. The inside foot is forward (foot closest to the ball)
3. The back foot is no more than one or two foot lengths behind the front foot, whichever is more comfortable
4. The front shin is at a 30 degree angle forward (knee over the toes)
5. The upper body is at a 30 degree angle forward
6. Hands are at waist level with the forearms parallel to the ground
This article is pulled from coach Van Tassel’s new Book: