The two illustrations which accompany this chapter show better than any detailed description the position to be assumed for starting by the regular backfield men or the members of the line who may be called into the backfield on any formations. In attaining the proper form the football player should guard against the two common faults in this respect. Either the hips are held too high or the body is not thrown far enough forward, with not enough weight on the hands. In the former case there is a lack of driving power to the start which is often fatal. In the latter the speed of the start is impaired for the player, for when his body is not well forward he loses the benefit of this marked aid to the momentum which he should attain in the first two or three strides.
No general rule can be laid down for the exact pose in starting. This is occasioned by the differences in the build of the men who are playing the game. The player can find out by actual experience the plan which best suits his physical makeup, guarding against placing his feet too far apart laterally, or one foot too far ahead of the other. Generally speaking, the position of a sprinter on his mark is the proper form for the player to assume, except that the feet should be wider apart and the rear foot brought up farther forward. The weight of the body should be principally on the hands, so that the instant the hands are removed from the ground the weight of the body will assist him in getting under rapid motion. All this requires an immense amount of practice before perfection can be attained. Only by continual and conscientious effort can speed be attained in this respect.
POSITON Three - Just as the hands, body and ball should be when ball is caught.
The linemen, generally speaking, will find that their position for starting will be a modified form of that in use by the backs. The proximity of their positions to their opponents requires that the men in the line take a position considerably modified from that of the occupants of the backfield. Here, in addition to the necessity for a quick advance straight ahead or to either side, the player must guard against a sudden jerk forward from his immediate opponent. The weight of his body must therefore be less on his hands and more on his feet in order to guard against being over-balanced. The proper position for starting in the line is thoroughly indicated in the illustrations used to show the different offensive formations and the positions assumed for starting at the charging machine.
Proper form in starting is half the battle when the time comes for actual play, as no player can expect to handle an opponent of equal skill unless he is well up in the art. Further, if the occupants of the backfield are not taught to get under way rapidly and together a large share of the momentum on offense is sacrificed by the failure. The acquisition of a quick, strong start is well worth the trouble that is necessary to attain it.
Showing two forms used by hacks in starting. Some can get away belter by one and some by the other. Practice both and adapt the one best suited.