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Pop Warner football bans traditional three-point stance

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https://www.cnn.com/2019/02/28/health/pop-warner-bans-three-point-stance-bn/index.html

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In a first for any national football organization, the Pop Warner youth league announced Thursday that it will ban the traditional three-point stance.

Pop Warner, the nation's oldest youth football organization, will be eliminating the stance in its three youngest divisions -- Tiny Mite (5 to 7 years old), Mitey Mite (7 to 9) and Junior Pee Wee (8 to 10) -- as of the 2019 season.
Beginning in September, players in those divisions will no longer be able to place their hands on the ground before they snap the ball. The concern is that this position lowers players' heads, making them more likely to lead with their heads and putting them in a more vulnerable position for head injury.
Football has been in the spotlight because of concussions and the prevalence of the Alzheimer's-like disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, among former players. There are efforts to make the game safer for even the youngest players.
 
 
The players will now have to be upright or in a more modified squat position with their hands on their legs.
"We believe this change is another step in creating a safer, better football experience for young people," Jon Butler, executive director of Pop Warner, said in a statement. "We are changing how players are introduced to the sport and how they learn to play the game. We are also setting the stage for our higher levels of play to adopt the change."
 
Pop Warner's plan is to eliminate the stance entirely, but there is no firm timeline. League officials plan to use this season to evaluate the change.
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So, how long until the 3-point stance, the only stance I was every taught as a HS lineman way back in the stone age btw,  is outlawed across the board?

 

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Other than DL and goal line offense, why do you need to be in 3pt stance?

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As a Pop Warner Coach I welcome this at these levels.  One of the most difficult things to get a younger player to do at that age is to get into a proper stance.  Often times this is simply due to geometry of a growing body.  Their bodies just aren't built to get into a proper stance.  This leads to kids who either squat like a frog; or kids who get their butts up, but can't lift their heads to see what is in front of them.

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This REALLY bothers me.  The stance is an absolute fundamental.  Imagine a Little League baseball coach not teaching the kids how to stand in the batters box.  Just the ramblings of a 35 year offensive line veteran...

 

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18 hours ago, RipZGo said:

Other than DL and goal line offense, why do you need to be in 3pt stance?

Is this a serious question?

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I am not a big fan of 11v11 football at such an early age anyways.  Someone mentioned above  these kids just arent built to get in these stances yet...well, that is a part of the game so maybe these kids should not be playing full on football yet? I think football is such a different beast than a baseball/soccer/basketball where you can lower a rim, use a tee, etc.I love that part of the uniqueness of our game is that there is such a short window that most of us can actually play...and this includes not being able to play organized football at such a young age.

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18 hours ago, slicer28 said:

As a Pop Warner Coach I welcome this at these levels.  One of the most difficult things to get a younger player to do at that age is to get into a proper stance.  Often times this is simply due to geometry of a growing body.  Their bodies just aren't built to get into a proper stance.  This leads to kids who either squat like a frog; or kids who get their butts up, but can't lift their heads to see what is in front of them.

I work a number of Youth Camps at our High School and Coordinate the O-line portion of the Bishop- Dullahan Youth camp and have not had much trouble teaching stance. USA football has a very easy method of teaching the stance.  We use a few simple commands and it is done. I do agree that with kids below the 3rd grade level, it does tend to get more difficult though. I have played with the thought of going from a two point stance with my varsity guys, but it is my opinion that you lose your angles of leverage when coming from a two point stance in the run game. I also will say, that we never lead with the head. We lead with the hands and want our eyes below our hands. 

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24 minutes ago, Coach P said:

I work a number of Youth Camps at our High School and Coordinate the O-line portion of the Bishop- Dullahan Youth camp and have not had much trouble teaching stance. USA football has a very easy method of teaching the stance.  We use a few simple commands and it is done. I do agree that with kids below the 3rd grade level, it does tend to get more difficult though. I have played with the thought of going from a two point stance with my varsity guys, but it is my opinion that you lose your angles of leverage when coming from a two point stance in the run game. I also will say, that we never lead with the head. We lead with the hands and want our eyes below our hands. 

I agree.

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We have our guys come out of a two point stance on offense. We're a run-heavy spread offense. Throw it maybe 15 times a game. Inside zone, power, counter, stretch. 2 pt stance hasn't hurt our run game at all.

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Posted (edited)

I understand what they are trying to do with the rule change, but I dont think this fixes the issue of kids leading with their heads. Ultimately it is on the youth coaches to teach proper football fundamentals. 

 

Honestly, I dont think that kids should be playing full tackle football at 5 or 6 years old like it mentions. What are they actually accomplishing at that young of an age. id be all for moving the tackle football age to a later age. I think as a 1st or 2nd grader, they would benefit from flag football and learning the fundamentals of the game. Teach them all aspects and make it fun. Then as they get older, maybe 4th grade, you throw the pads on and let them tackle. At that point, they have a few years of learning how to safely and properly tackle. We dont scare kids and parents away from the game after an injury they had when they were 8 years old. They learn the game and learn to love the game. We all reap benefits of that in the long run. 

 

So in my opinion, the 3 point stance is fine. Its not the issue. The issue is youth football in general not being conducted properly. 

Edited by coachburton
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55 minutes ago, DannEllenwood said:

Is this a serious question?

Yeah, watch any college football minus the academies. 

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People all have their "ways", but physics is hard to argue against.

If two point stances are "so bad", why do the DL get into them?

Why didn't the radar defense take off?

Low man wins....or does that not apply in football anymore?

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28 minutes ago, RipZGo said:

Yeah, watch any college football minus the academies. 

Maybe we found something..........well maybe getting closer.....outlaw the 3 point stance in those ages and make it mandatory to utilize the 4 point stance......GT style under PJ.

 

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4 minutes ago, DannEllenwood said:

People all have their "ways", but physics is hard to argue against.

If two point stances are "so bad", why do the DL get into them?

Why didn't the radar defense take off?

Low man wins....or does that not apply in football anymore?

We never talk about low man winning, because that tends to encourage kids to have their heads down and lead with their heads. We talk about striking with a double upper cut, landing our hands first on a specific  target and keeping our eyes below our hands. Some people like the 2 pt. stance, but you rarely see it amongst the best in college football.  I would argue as well that the older and better an athlete gets, the easier it would be to get away with the two point stance. I just think most younger players like to play high already, and do tend to stand up too much and I have found the two point stance encourages that.  Just my experience. If you can make it work for you, awesome. However, against the dudes we have to play,  want to have strong and quick footwork out of our stance and like to strike our defenders on the rise. We use a balanced stance with little weight no the hand. 

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Posted (edited)

My post above wasn't meant to say one stance is better or worse than the other. If your kids are coached up they both work fine.

We communicate our play calls by using signals, and we like to change the play sometimes after the defense lines up. It's easier to do that out of a 2 pt stance, so that's what we use.

I don't think it matters what size the school is, we all have to coach against dudes relative to our level, especially in the later rounds of the play-offs.

 

Edited by Woody_Hayes
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3 hours ago, slicercoach said:

This REALLY bothers me.  The stance is an absolute fundamental.  Imagine a Little League baseball coach not teaching the kids how to stand in the batters box.  Just the ramblings of a 35 year offensive line veteran...

 

 

1 hour ago, Coach P said:

I work a number of Youth Camps at our High School and Coordinate the O-line portion of the Bishop- Dullahan Youth camp and have not had much trouble teaching stance. USA football has a very easy method of teaching the stance.  We use a few simple commands and it is done. I do agree that with kids below the 3rd grade level, it does tend to get more difficult though. I have played with the thought of going from a two point stance with my varsity guys, but it is my opinion that you lose your angles of leverage when coming from a two point stance in the run game. I also will say, that we never lead with the head. We lead with the hands and want our eyes below our hands. 

Have coached youth ball for 17 seasons now.  Stance is something that we spend a lot of time on across all four years of engagement for the players.  I find it strange to see that line about leading with the head in the article.  It would seem that that's an issue of technique and training as opposed to body type and propensity.  We teach stance long before we teach anything else about the game and before we get anywhere close to body-on-body contact.  We are always working on stance all the time from 3rd grade through 6th.  Like @Coach P, the kids should never lead with the heads.  We teach them that it's about getting your hands on the opponent; especially if you are on offense.  Similarly, when in a stance, the eyes are up and looking forward.  As for the argument that kids don't bend a particular way, that's probably par for the course in other sports too ... think about a catcher's stance or pitcher's motion ... don't see that too often in the office.  What we tell the kids is that it probably does feel unnatural to get in a stance and that's why it requires LOTS of practice and concentration on doing it right to build up the "muscle memory" so that it does feel more natural.

I like the idea of kids learning these kinds of fundamentals early in the process.  Good stances provide quicker speed off the ball which allows quicker contact of getting the hands up on/under the pads which provides leverage and makes the player much more successful while also being much more safer.  

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1 hour ago, coachburton said:

I understand what they are trying to do with the rule change, but I dont think this fixes the issue of kids leading with their heads. Ultimately it is on the youth coaches to teach proper football fundamentals. 

 

So in my opinion, the 3 point stance is fine. Its not the issue. The issue is youth football in general not being conducted properly. 

Completely agree.  It's not the stance that's a problem per se, but often poor technique, poor coaching, or poor demand of adherence to proper technique.

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2 hours ago, Coach P said:

I work a number of Youth Camps at our High School and Coordinate the O-line portion of the Bishop- Dullahan Youth camp and have not had much trouble teaching stance. USA football has a very easy method of teaching the stance.  We use a few simple commands and it is done. I do agree that with kids below the 3rd grade level, it does tend to get more difficult though. I have played with the thought of going from a two point stance with my varsity guys, but it is my opinion that you lose your angles of leverage when coming from a two point stance in the run game. I also will say, that we never lead with the head. We lead with the hands and want our eyes below our hands. 

I was primarily talking about kids in 3rd grade and below.  The divisions Pop Warner is doing this in basically cover kids up to 4th grade (possibly 5th grade in Jr. Pee Wee for older/lighters).  

Tiny Mite and Mighty Mite are "supposed" to be instructional.  They're not even supposed to keep score at the Tiny Mite level (of course everyone does).  

Getting into a 3 point stance and firing out with your hands making initial contact and with your head up is just a difficult set of mechanics to get a 7 year old to get sometimes.  Are there kids who can do it?  Of course.  But a lot have difficulty with it because their bodies just cannot do it because their arm and leg proportions are so out of wack for some kids at that age.

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3 hours ago, slicercoach said:

This REALLY bothers me.  The stance is an absolute fundamental.  Imagine a Little League baseball coach not teaching the kids how to stand in the batters box.  Just the ramblings of a 35 year offensive line veteran...

 

Coach, think of it this way, we're just teaching the kids to see their target and throw a good fast ball before we let them start throwing breaking balls. 😉 

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2 minutes ago, slicer28 said:

I was primarily talking about kids in 3rd grade and below.  The divisions Pop Warner is doing this in basically cover kids up to 4th grade (possibly 5th grade in Jr. Pee Wee for older/lighters).  

Tiny Mite and Mighty Mite are "supposed" to be instructional.  They're not even supposed to keep score at the Tiny Mite level (of course everyone does).  

Getting into a 3 point stance and firing out with your hands making initial contact and with your head up is just a difficult set of mechanics to get a 7 year old to get sometimes.  Are there kids who can do it?  Of course.  But a lot have difficulty with it because their bodies just cannot do it because their arm and leg proportions are so out of wack for some kids at that age.

When I teach it to those kids, I  don't over complicate it.  I just teach: step, punch, RUN RUN RUN!! LOL.. Seems to work.

Teach the block backwords : start them in a good run fit and practice the Run ( drive) part

                                                    then work the step and punch

                                                    work the step

                                                   Then try the whole block......

                                               You can work  step punch on air as well.  You will be amazed if you repeat the same drill several days in a row, how well they will eventually get it. Just teach the drive step and don't worry about which step to punch on at this age. just get them off the ball stepping, punching and RUNNING:)

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9 hours ago, Impartial_Observer said:

Not really sure this move changes anything. Typically the first move for the little ones is to stand up anyway.

Today's offensive linemen basically just stand around and watch the skill players play 7 on 7.  We will soon start to see big men migrate away from the game and return to their video game headsets and handsets.  A real shame.   

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4 hours ago, DT said:

Today's offensive linemen basically just stand around and watch the skill players play 7 on 7.  We will soon start to see big men migrate away from the game and return to their video game headsets and handsets.  A real shame.   

sky-is-falling.jpg

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On 3/1/2019 at 6:39 AM, Impartial_Observer said:

Not really sure this move changes anything. Typically the first move for the little ones is to stand up anyway.

I agree, kids are basically just pushing on each other at this age.  Injuries tend to be contusions on the arms or legs and there is no virtually no dangerous head to head contact.  I'm all for safety, but this is purely cosmetic.

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