Fundamentals Of Receiver Play: Stance & Start

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by Jason Candle • Assistant Head Coach, Offensive Coordinator, Quarterbacks Coach • University of Toledo

Here at the University of Toledo, we feel that your stance and start – or takeoff – on every play is crucial to success at all positions. Probably the most important position that requires a good explosive start is receiver.

We teach an aggressive stance that allows receivers to always explode off the line of scrimmage, similar to the start of a sprinter. Our goal is to close the cushion created in zone coverage and challenge the defender in man coverage as quickly as possible.

Our inside foot is always up, slightly pigeon-toed, and we will always be on the balls of our feet. Our knee will be over our toes and the shoulder will be over our knee. Our weight will be pushed forward, creating a good body-lean.


With our back foot, we will tap our toe into the ground and use it as our balance foot. Our arms will be in a good position up under our chest, ready to run.

The final checkpoint for our stance will be the height of our hips.

We want the hips to start where they are most explosive. Most young receivers will have a tall stance and on the snap will sink their hips to get started. We would like our men to start at the point they would usually sink to.

From there, we want to explode off that front foot and get into the stem of the route as quickly as possible. We do not want to have any wasted movement of “false steps” on the snap. A clean and quick release can make the difference in a completion or an incompletion.

Comments 2

  1. Question…I totally agree with this article expect for one small detail…the pigeon toed element?? Please explain, because as you stated a young WR will be high-hipped and sink on first movement…won’t a pigeon toed player “false-step” via a redirection of their toe being turned inward?

    1. Coach Creguer, while I can’t comment on why the author believes in the pigeon-toed element of the stance, there are a number of coaches out there that believe this is correct. For example, Zach Azzanni is receivers coach at the University of Tennessee. During a 2013 coaching clinic, Azzanni said that receivers should place their inside foot slightly up and slightly pigeon-toed because it prevents them from rocking out of their stance for a false start. Also, by starting in this way, receivers are able to fire off the ball and get that 5-yard burst that is so important to defeating coverage. Thanks for the comment!

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