Teaching Offensive Technical Skills

After reviewing the video and article below, take one of the offensive technical skills discussed in Chapter 3 of the text and provide a review and analysis of how the author teaches and discusses this skill. In your review and analysis, be sure to address the following questions.

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How would YOU teach the skill? Use information from the video and the link to support your method. What specific teaching techniques would you use to instruct the skill effectively? More importantly, did the author assume anything? Put yourself in the mind of a player who knows nothing about the skill you are trying to instruct. What visualizations will you try to create in the player’s mind? What words will you use? Notice how coach Walsh states that there is no aspect in football more important than teaching. He demonstrates how good he was at teaching in the explanation of how he wants a block to occur. How will you teach your skill so effectively that the player has no doubt about what you want to occur?

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Each skill has a section titled “Key Points’ located on the top left hand side of the page. Explain why these key points are valuable for learning the skill.

Discuss anything that you would add to this section. Did the author do a good job of correcting the common errors? What would you do differently as a coach?
This essay must be submitted as an attachment on a double-spaced Word document of approximately two pages in length.


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The three-point stance (see figure 3.1) is used primarily by linemen, tight ends and fullbacks. This stance helps keep the player’s pad level down and promotes a quick, explosive start, especially straight ahead. For run blocking, the three-point stance is ideal; its limitations are that from it, the lineman’s pass set is more difficult and players cannot see the defensive alignments as well before the snap.

The two-point stance (see figure 3.2) is used primarily by wide receivers and tailbacks. This stance allows the player to have excellent vision of the defensive deployment, which is far more important for these positions than a low, explosive start.

Quarterbacks use a specific version of the two-point stance (see figure 3.3) with feet more parallel to the line of scrimmage and hands under the center. Again, being able to see the defense is far more important to the quarterback than the quickness of his start.

Achieving Balance 

On the snap, balance is required for quick, sudden movement in any given direction. Players may feel more comfortable moving in one direction—for example, they may prefer moving to their left instead of to their right—but all players need to strive to be skilled at moving in both directions, as well as straight ahead, with equal quickness. 

In the three-point stance, as shown previously in figure 3.1, linemen must keep enough weight on the down hand so that they have some forward lean, but not so much that they fall forward if someone knocks the hand out from under them. This balanced position allows the player to start to his left, right or straight ahead with a low pad level. 

Players positioned in the two-point stance, as shown previously in figure 3.2, should keep some weight on each foot to stay balanced, with slightly more pressure on the foot that will stay on the ground when they take their first step. In a traditional two-point staggered stance, the player should move his back foot first, leaving the front foot on the ground. Therefore, before the snap the player should have slightly more weight on his front foot, but not so much that he risks losing his balance forward before the snap. 

The quarterback’s stance, as shown previously in figure 3.3, requires the quarterback to keep his weight evenly distributed between his feet, with slightly more weight and pressure on the foot that will stay on the ground when he takes his first step. If his first step is to his right, he should keep his left foot on the ground at the snap of the ball, pivoting slightly on that foot as he takes his first step with his right foot, opening up to the right. 

The two-point stance used by a tailback, or halfback, involves all the same elements of balance and pressure as the two-point stance for wide receivers or quarterbacks. However, the tailback’s feet should not be staggered in his alignment. Both feet should be parallel to the line of scrimmage and his hands can rest comfortably on his thigh pads as he bends slightly at the knees. At the snap, the tailback must push off the foot that is opposite his starting direction and take his first step with the foot closest to the direction he is going. 

In all stances, players should remember to keep weight on the balls of their feet, even if that means taking a somewhat pigeon-toed stance, because doing so will eliminate false steps. In addition, to take advantage of knowing the snap count, the offensive team needs to start plays at different times within the cadence, hoping that someone on defense will jump offside and that all defensive players will become hesitant about their start because they won’t know when the ball will be snapped. Of course, if offensive players commit a false start and incur illegal procedure penalties because of the changing snap count, the advantage swings the other way! 

Feeling Comfortable in the Stance 

Comfort in a stance is imperative. Offensive players must be able to remain poised and stable on a long snap count. They need to develop a poised, comfortable stance that is solid while at the same time being coiled—weight forward, hips low—for an explosive start. The knees must be bent slightly, weight evenly distributed, with just enough pressure on the plant foot to keep that foot on the ground at the snap. Regardless of whether the player is in a three-point, two-point or quarterback stance, feeling comfortable improves the chances for a positive start to the play. 

Keeping the Head and Eyes Up 

Regardless of the stance that they are using, all offensive players must keep their head and eyes up so that they can see the alignment of the defenders and process as much information as possible about the defense’s tactics before the snap. Offensive players should remember that they do not need to see the ball to know when the play is going to start (with the possible exception of wide receivers playing in stadiums with large, noisy crowds). The oral command of the quarterback will start the play. So, as the quarterback starts his cadence, the other 10 offensive players should be assessing the defense for clues about their intentions on the play. Remember, too, that without having a solid, comfortable stance, your players will probably be unable to use this crucial element of offensive strategy.

Center–Quarterback Exchange 

The center–quarterback exchange starts every offensive play in football and is therefore the single most important offensive skill in the game. Nothing is more frustrating to players and coaches, or more detrimental to offensive performance, than a fumble or mishandle of the snap. At worst, the other team might take the ball away; at best, the play breaks down, wasting the efforts of the nine other offensive players. A seemingly simple skill, the center–quarterback exchange is deceptively technical and must be practiced daily to be perfected.

Hand Positioning 

The quarterback must be sure to keep his hands far enough under the center, without any separation, so that a forceful snap will not push the quarterback’s hands backward or cause him to lose the ball between his hands. The quarterback should be sure that his entire top hand, as far back as his wrist, is underneath the center (see figure 3.4). The center should position his dominant hand on the side of the football, with thumb up and fingers pointed down, and far enough forward that he can get a secure one-handed grip on the ball.