Our shoulder position in the deadlift tends to do dictate where our hips are. If your hips are off, everything else will be too.
If our shoulders are too far in front of the bar, the bar will get away from us, our knees will shift forward, our hips will be higher than they should be, & our back will tend to round. This makes for a very ineffective pulling position & an even rougher lockout.
If our shoulders are too far behind the bar, our deadlift will quickly look more like a squat with the hips sinking too low, and balance will be an issue.
You can see in the left photo, my shoulders are too far in front of the bar, my hips are higher, and my back is starting to take most of the weight before even initiating the pull.
On the right, my entire body is stacked equally. Distributing load between my knees, back, and hip extensors, allowing me to create maximal vertical force through the floor.
If I can see my athletes are struggling with this, typically the first thing I’ll have them do is stand a bit closer to the bar, & keep their shins vertical the entire time.
From there, it’s a matter of practice, repetition, & building up any possible weak areas.
Everyone’s setup & starting position will vary slightly due to different limb lengths, but this general cue can make all the difference.
If your deadlift is feeling funny, I’d recommend recording your lifts from the side & drawing a straight line between your shoulders & the floor to check your start position.