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Is Flexibility an Issue with a 3 Point Stance?

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Coach Kyle
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Is flexibility an issue? What sorts of stretches do you think improve the range of motion that a 3 point stance requires?

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Rockets111
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Hey coach,  I don't think flexibility would factor in.  Most kids are hyperflexible, and even if they weren't the position of the 3 point stance wouldn't be putting much on stretch normally.  Only thing I can think of is if you want the heels fully on the ground but want the hand forward.  Then you're going to have some tightness in the front of the leg.  But I think having the heels off at least some is standard practice. 

If they've had a broken ankle there could be some limiting stiffness but for a normal kid the problem will almost always be a center of gravity issue if they have a problem getting in or out of the stance.


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CoachDP
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Posted by: @coach-kyle

Is flexibility an issue? What sorts of stretches do you think improve the range of motion that a 3 point stance requires?

I've never considered any stretching or flexibility aspects in order to improve the ability to get in, or play from a 3-point stance.  I've seen issues of weak core, but most problems can be traced to the player settling for a bad stance, or being "coached".to a bad stance.

--Dave

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The Mission Statement: "I want to show any young man that he is far tougher than he thinks, that he can accomplish more than what he dreamed and that his work ethic will take him wherever he wants to go."

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Troy
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@coachdp IMO, bad stances are "tolerated" by the coaches. When we see a team come out in 2 point stances, we start licking our chops. We feel like they are already stood up at the snap and our DL will slice right through them low.

For what it's worth, we drill 3 point stance every practice as a part of warmups. They have to hold it until "go" and then fire into dynamic stretches. The softer kids whine and even cry a little, but they get over it after about 4 practices. It's a fundamental. Gotta do it.

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gumby_in_co
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My take is that it's all about quad strength. This can be aggravated by geometry. The longer the femur, the stronger the quad has to be. You can't shorten femurs, but you can strengthen quads.

The one group of players who always seem to have naturally good 3 point stances are hockey players. This is not a coincidence. Their quads are MUCH more developed than "regular" kids. This is more true the younger they are.

To Troy's point, the year I coached UBSW, I made 3 point stances an emphasis. Our approach was very similar to his. At the end of the season, half our team still sucked at it. 1/4 moved from "suck" to "meh". Another 1/4 could achieve a "meh" stance, but at the snap, their #1 priority was to get out of this unnatural and uncomfortable stance. 

I haven't coached a 3 point stance since about 2011. 

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J. Potter (seabass)
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YES...100%... lack of mobility CAN have an impact on the 3 point stance but lack of strength somewhere is usually the culprit. Lack of mobility can also be a lack of strength that gives the appearance that the kid is "tight".

Example: A kid has tight hip flexors so you stretch them but it doesn't help...it could be that his glutes are weak or aren't firing. His flexors are tight because they're doing half the work that glutes should be doing. You can stretch those things forever and it won't help. 

Most stance issues can be solved by learning how to HINGE properly. I rarely hear this talked about correctly. Shoot... for years most of us were told to pick things up off the ground by "bending at the knees" and that was either wrong or a bad cue to hinge. If a kid can't hinge his stance will always look crappy and he will never reach his potential explosiveness. The hinge usually has to be taught but it's not hard and once they get it it's rarely ever a problem again. 

The kind of stance you use can also have different requirements. The stance we use requires a certain amount of dorsiflexion (ankle mobility) in the back foot as we want all the cleats in the ground with one foot set back and at an angle.

As a S/C coach at our school I get to see who has issues in different positions while under a load. It's crazy how many different limiting factor's kids have that translate to issues on the field. 

Most kids, even "strong" HS kids, have a weakness somewhere in their core. The problem with that statement is that the term "core" is pretty damn vague. Some of our RB's/LB's look like Greek God's but still have weak hip flexor's or glutes. Shoot, even the term glute has some vagueness to it...several different muscle groups that make up the glutes and hips.

 

 


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J. Potter (seabass)
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I have tried to post some pictures as examples but I can’t seem to figure it out. 


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CoachDP
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@seabass Josh, as I posted earlier, we haven't had issues with flexibility as it pertains to the 3-point stance.  After reading your reply, I wonder if the reason we haven't had issues is because of the workouts we've done with our kids.  We've long used frog hops as a conditioning tool, as well as deep knee bends and plyometric box jumps while holding a medicine ball.  Of course when I was responsible for training o-linemen, we also used "Spidermans" which was essentially a bear crawl where the player tried to bring his right knee up to his right elbow and alternated trying to bring his left knee to his left elbow.  We also did what we called "drag races" where one player on his back will wrap his hands around the neck of a player over the top of him.  The player on top has to use a 4-point stance to "drag" the underneath player the distance of the basketball court.  (Problem is, you gotta have a court.  lol)  There's other things we do with them of course, but these are all deep knee bend types of exercises that have probably benefited them in terms of stance.  

--Dave

"The Greater the Teacher, the More Powerful the Player."

The Mission Statement: "I want to show any young man that he is far tougher than he thinks, that he can accomplish more than what he dreamed and that his work ethic will take him wherever he wants to go."

#BattleReady newhope


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J. Potter (seabass)
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@coachdp That certainly could be the case due to all of the things you mention that address the general strength of your player's.

As I mentioned, my belief is that most problems with the stance start with not hinging at the hip correctly...the knees will move too but they aren't the key to a good hinge and the movement shouldn't start there.

If I could post my STINKING pics I would show you what one of our guys looks like addressing a barbell before a deadlift or any lift that requires him to pick up a bar from the floor like a clean, RDL etc.

The next picture would show him in his stance, the shapes are almost identical. I also have some bad examples and the difference might not be super obvious but everybody (seeing the pics side by side) would point to one vs the other as being correct.

One of the ways I teach my young guy's the hinge is to give them something to hold in both arms like a half round or something. Then I ask them to imagine an open car door is behind them and they have to close it...there hands are full and they can't move their feet. The only choice they have is to push their butt back to close the door. We have all done that 100 times.

That's a hip hinge and that's where the movement should start...as you continue to hinge (not sink) the knees will move with the hips. Your back will remain flat while the angle changes your knees will move with the hips and eventually the ankles will too.

We have 3 hinging joints from the waist down...hips, knees and ankles. Start the movement with the hips and the knees ankle will follow. 

Start the movement from the middle (knees) and the hips ankles will most likely be out of position making the stance look like garbage...or an accordion.

 


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Prodigy
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Recently spoke with @CoachDP about this, very briefly.  The purpose of a three point stance is quite similar to a sprinter setting up in blocks for a race.  We often take for granted the coordination, strength and to some extent the flexibility required to get into a three-point and launch out of it effectively.

I actually lean towards strength and coordination being more of the culprit than flexibility, most young people are fairly flexible and do not have any sort of screwed up muscle patterns from say box squatting for many years and neglecting mobility.

After years of trying to coach and utilize the three point stance, I gave up on it, at least with the age group that I was coaching.  I have no doubts that there's probably many coaches out there who can use the 3-point and coach it and be successful, I'm not one of them.  I found that for me, spending the time on a three point stance was simply a waste of time.  The majority of my players would get into what appeared to be a good three point, they never appeared to be comfortable in the stance and could not hold it for very long.  Their first movement out of the stance was to stand up to escape from the discomfort of the stance, which isn't a good first move upon the ball being snapped.

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mahonz
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I found the 2 point very Check With Me friendly. We would also allow then to pick a stance that was most comfortable to them since at times they were left in their stances for extended periods of time. Some liked low...others a bit high but at the end of the day....be comfortable for up to 20 seconds. 

I also discovered it made them fully ambidextrous with their steps being even heeled with no power foot. I found ZERO difference between 2 point or 3 point when it came to executing a block. We did many tests during practice. All of the Linemen in this video begged their HS coaches to try it. No go. Two of them are now College D1 O Linemen so we didn't ruin them. 😎 

This post was modified 2 weeks ago 2 times by mahonz

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gumby_in_co
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@mahonz We should point out that the LG in the low squat is a hockey player. Unusually strong legs.

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mahonz
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Posted by: @gumby_in_co

@mahonz We should point out that the LG in the low squat is a hockey player. Unusually strong legs.

I remember when he first played for me as a 4th grader he walked with a weird gait. Dad said he was struggling on the ice with it as well. Turned out to be a temporary growth thing...but there was a time Super Max could barley run. What a beast he turned out to be....and quite the comedian.  

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J. Potter (seabass)
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@gumby_in_co 

The stance of the LG is NOT good. As stance shouldn't resemble a squat...it should look more like a deadlift. The center in that frame is in a perfect stance!


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J. Potter (seabass)
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@prodigy 

 

You and DP are right about the stance being somewhat similar to a sprint start. Obviously not what the stance looks like but it is designed to put the player in the best position to be explosive on the snap.

A good stance shouldn't be "comfortable" or a position that you would choose to spend a lot of time in. It should be a loaded position like a coiled spring. You should be tight not loose! The longer a person stays in that loaded position the less explosive they will be coming out of it. 

I remember having my players get in their stance and hold it for some arbitrary time to "condition" them in their stances. That was not optimal. Sprinter's don't practice holding their sprint start.


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