The Hash Marks
Hash Mark Purpose
The purpose of hash marks is to align the players at the start of each scrimmage down. We'll cover scrimmage downs in later chapters. For now, just know that hash marks are used to align the players at the start of each play.
There are two ways to determine the alignment of players on a down:
In-Between The Hash Marks Sets
Outside The Hash Marks Sets
Hash Mark Distance
At all three levels of play, the distance between the hash marks varies.
- NFL hash mark distance (18ft 6in)
- NCAA hash mark distance (40ft)
- High school hash mark distance (53ft 4in)
The distance of the hash marks affects the strategy behind the game. Since the hash marks are used to align the players at the start of each scrimmage down, play tends to be near the sides of the field in college football since the distance is greater. Since the distance between the hash marks is small in pro football, play tends to be in the middle of the field.