Football 3-Point Stance

What is a 3 Point Stance in Football?

The 3 point stance in football is a technique used occasionally by linemen and running backs. Football players use different stances to better position themselves for game situations, the stance they use is also largely based on what position they're playing. The number in the stance name is determined by the number of points on the player's body that are touching the ground. This means that in the 3 point stance, the players two feet, as well as one hand are touching the ground. Other stances commonly used in football are the 2 point and 4 point stances.

About the 3 Point Stance

Offensive and defensive linemen most commonly use the 3 point stance because it allows them to gain more power from their legs, stay low to move in either direction, and also get a quick and explosive start. While the 3 point stance is one of the most effective and popular stances for linemen, players are free to use other stances and may switch between various stances throughout the game. The stance is especially important for offensive players because they are required to stand completely still before the ball is snapped, or else they face a false start penalty.

Some linemen have been transitioning from using the traditional 3 point stance to the 2 point stance instead because of the leagues new rules on helmet to helmet contact. In the 3 point stance, it is much easier for helmet contact to occur and a penalty to be called because of the positioning of the stance.


Proper technique is important when utilizing a 3 point stance in a football game. Players should have two feet on the ground, about shoulder width apart. Some players will stagger their feet for extra balance and a quicker start in accordance with their position on the field and the positioning of the opposing team. Next, bend down to nearly a sitting position and place the fingertips of a single hand on the ground for stability. Offensive linemen want to put little pressure on the hand touching the ground in order to maintain balance and to not be easily knocked over by the defense. Defensive linemen want to lean into their stance a bit more in order to explode towards the offense at the snap of the ball. Face forward towards the line of scrimmage, lift your head up, and pull your shoulder blades back to widen the chest area.

Weight should be centered and you should be balanced with your knees bent. Rest your other hand on your thigh, but make sure to be ready to get your hands up quickly in preparation for blocking. Remember to keep your eyes up to scan the field and avoid helmet to helmet contact. If properly executed, players should have flat backs and be in a strong position so that they are not easily moved or pushed over.