Learning how to stay low in football is the key to success in the line.
“LOW MAN WINS!”
Every football player has heard a coach say this.
So why is that low man wins in football?
It’s all about leverage.
Players who can stay low will play with leverage.
Leverage allows players to take advantage of their lower body strength.
We often talk about teaching kids to be knee benders and not waist benders.
Waist benders have no power and therefore no leverage.
This is why we see smaller players sometimes dominate larger opponents because they play low and maintain leverage.
Let’s look at some things we can teach how to stay low in football.
How to Stay Low in Football
Start with a good stance.
Whether on offense or defense, we look for good bend in the knees and a stable, balanced stance.
Offensive linemen need to get there but down and play with a flat back.
We also want as much of their feet in the ground as possible and a minimal amount of weight on their down hand.
This allows the offensive lineman to release in any direction.
For defensive linemen, we look for more weight on their hand and their butt up a little.
This is a bit more of track stance to get off the ball and disrupt.
Of course, different offenses and defenses may want different approaches but this is a general rule.
Either way pad level coming off the ball has to be a huge factor in stance setup.
Build core strength.
Athleticism is based in the core.
Our definition of the core includes the hips up to just below the chest wrapping around the entire the body.
It’s not just abs!
The core includes not only the abdomen but the hips, obliques and lower back.
It also includes all the small stabilizing muscles around the spine.
Everyting in the core is not only essential for athletic ability but also injury prevention.
In order to play with low pad level the core needs to be very strong and stable.
Continually work on hip flexibility.
We discussed this recently but it cannot be emphasized enough.
While we consider hips to be a part of the core it requires extra attention.
Without the proper hip hinge and flexibility we cannot play low.
The hips are what allow us to bend properly at the knee while keeping a flat stable back.
This helps us to use our powerbase for leverage with form that keeps us healthy.
Repetition, Repetition, Repetition.
The way to play low is to train low and practice low.
Repetition is the only way we condition our bodies to play with good pad level.
How we train and maintain our flexibility every day of the off-season will have an effect on our pad level during the season.
Spending the time on stance, core strength and hip flexibility will determine our ability to play low.
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