4 punting techniques for the special teams unit

Elvis Elvis

Correct punting techniques from all members of the Punting Special Teams Unit during game play is vital. Failure to do so from any one member can put a clean punt in jeopardy.

Special teams play can easily change the tide of game – which is why it is considered a significant part of any game plan. One dropped or bad snap past the punter or a missed block of an opponent who sneaks in to block a punt can easily setup a score for your opposition.

Protect, protect, protect!

It is vital that every player on the Punt Team knows the correct techniques necessary for their position. Many consider the Punt Team to be the most important element of Special Teams play.

The punt units’ first responsibility is to get the punt off and protect the ball. The unit should never allow the punt to be blocked. As mentioned above, doing so can easily influence the outcome of the game. The Linemen and Upbacks, as first and second lines, are the Punter’s primary protection. It is in their hands that the Punter is protected from all rushers.

Center to Punter punting techniques.

For consistency, it is often best to have the same Punter and Center working together. The familiarity gained through practicing and playing will go a long way toward minimizing mistakes in an area of the game that takes some skill to master.

4 punting techniques for the special teams unit

With good punting techniques and consistent snapping skills the Punter and Center will need to provide a consistent punt “get off time”. All team members need to be able to rely on that timing. Blockers can count the ‘get off’ seconds out loud while protecting the Punter.

When the play begins, the Center’s ‘snap when ready’ focus should be his only concern. The Center needs to direct total effort into the delivery of a perfect snap. The snap should be perfect, consistently and efficiently, every time. The Punter’s ‘hang time’ should be the Punter’s first priority, with punt distance as the secondary priority.

Correct punting techniques should be consistently implemented by the Punter at all times. The punt get off times have to be fast and consistent to maintain the timing of the entire Punting Unit.

Punting techniques to protect and attack the lanes.

The lane responsibilities on a Punt Team (the direct routes that players take down the field) to attack the Punt Returner are very similar to those of the Kick-Off Team, with the same rules of containment.

The outside wide-outs sprint down the field after the football is snapped but before the ball is punted. The purpose of this strategy is to disrupt blocking schemes at the point of ball reception.

The Punt Team Linemen should always hold their blocks until the football has been kicked. Then it is important to listen for the ball directional call from your Punter, i.e. “right”. At that moment, shed your block and sprint to your pre-planned coverage lane, watching for your designated landmarks. Be ready to move from your lane to converge on the Returner.

Punting techniques to tackle the Returner.

Be aware of the Defender’s positions on the field. This will be an important ‘key’ to understanding the formation of the return and can give you a head start toward the Returner’s projected path.

You should keep your eyes on the Returner, particularly his waist, and not the ball. His arms and legs may be flailing, but it takes time for any Returner to adjust his waist.

Keep your shoulders parallel as you converge on the football. By positioning yourself 5-to-7 yards from the Return Man before you attempt a tackle, it’ll help keep the Returner in front of you. Plan to sprint approximately 40-yards to get you into this position. Once there, if the Returner gets by you, chances are you’ve lost your opportunity for a clean tackle.

Punting techniques summary.

To have a successful Special Teams Punting Unit, every player on the field must give 100% when learning proper punting techniques. Failure to do so from just one player can result in an easy score for the opposition.

The Punter needs to consistently implement correct punting techniques. The Center must snap the ball correctly and consistently every time. The Blockers must block and the Wide Outs must protect the lanes.

And, everyone must do so around the consistent timing between the Punter and the Center.