February 19th, 2013

// How To Teach Athletic Stance

I stumbled upon this great article about the Athletic Stance. Too many coaching do not teach this properly. I even saw it on my LFL football team. The article is by Lee at Sport Speed Etc and I wanted to share it:

I am often asked how I coach the athletic stance. There are many potential stances. It all depends on the sport, position and situation. Most athletic stances are active like a tennis players. If you coach an athlete in a static stance here are some important points to remember:

First of all, I want my athletes to understand the importance of using all three of the major joints (hips, knees, ankles). If they properly load these joints, then the ability to accelerate faster out of the athletic stance is increased.

1. Hips are pushed back with the shoulder forward over the knees. This loads the posterior chain and locks the body into a stable position.
2. Knees are pushed forward in order to stretch the lower leg muscles and load the ankles for greater pre-stretch.
3. Feet are straight ahead and ankles are loaded (dorsi-flexed). This stabilizes the ankle joint and loads the lower leg musculature.

A really important aspect of coaching the stance is cuing. I will give the athletes a few cues so they understand what I want in the body positioning. Here are a few cues to use.

1. Rip the Paper Towel. If the feet are aligned properly and the knees are slightly inside so the feet can push out (see picture), then the thought of ripping the paper towel makes sense.
2. Push Hip Back. When an athlete sucks the hips under or rounds the back the loading of the posterior musculature is lost.
3. Stay Tight or Lock In. These two cues mean for the athlete to tighten up their athletic stance posture. Being loose in posture will result in a sluggish take off.
4. Play in the Tunnel. This allows the athletes to visualize staying low. When they are low, they are loaded in the key joints as compared to being too tall and unloaded.

I hope this helps you understand the coaching aspects of the athletic stance. Now put it to good use for each individual athlete, sport and situation.

Yours in Speed,
Lee

P.S. – Check out Ground Breaking 2 for more.

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