Punting is a very important part of the game. Punters like kickers are the most closely scrutinized players on the field. Unlike the other players who can jump off sides, start to early, the punter does not get a second chance unless the defense has a penalty. Each punting situation is different. You need to know how to punt the football for each set of circumstances. Do you punt away, quick kick or employ a rugby style kick. Regardless you punters have to get it right the first time. This article will give you the basics of how to punt the football.
Preparing to punt
Preparing to punt starts with your stance. Balance in your stance is vital, have your legs about shoulder width apart and your kicking foot about a half foot width behind your non punting foot.
Your body is squared with line of scrimmage and your arms bent in an L shape with your hands in front of you.
How to receive the snap
With your body squared to the line and hands in front, you are ready to receive the snap. Your eyes must be focused on the long snapper and the ball. Eying the defense and trying to read the rush can cause a muffed snap reception and put your team in a big hole.
As the ball is snapped, watch the ball all the way into your hands. The punting side hand should be on the end of the ball closes to your body.
While you position the ball in your hands, laces up, take a half step with your kicking foot full step with your non punting leg. This will build up the momentum for punting the ball. Your head is down looking at the ball, watching as your punting leg comes up meeting the ball and you kick through the ball.
Different types of punts
Field position or a hard rush can require you to use a different style punt.
*** Pooch Punt ***
This style of punt is designed to get a lot of air under the ball. You will sacrifice distance for height. To get air under your punt, hold the tip of the ball slightly up and the punt the ball. The more the tip is pointed up, the more air you get under the ball.
*** Rugby Kick ***
The Rugby Kick can be used to avoid a hard rush or to get a lot of roll on the ball.
Executing the Rugby Kick is taking one step back with your punting foot, and then a side a step, the follow up step is with your kicking foot kicking through the ball. Rugby Kicks do not produce a lot of height, are difficult to get a good run back on and should give you a lot of role.
*** Quick Kick ***
This punt is used when the snap is slow getting back and or the rush will not allow for a Rugby Kick.
The quick kick is taking one step with the non punting leg and then bringing the kicking leg up, foot meeting the ball with the follow through. You will not get as much height or distance on the ball, but it is better than having your punt blocked or being sacked with the ball.
If you get a wide snap, side step to the ball keeping your eyes on the ball and body squared to the line of scrimmage. A cross over step can cost you time or have you tripping over your own feet.
Over the head snaps
If the ball is snapped over your head, turn to the backside and pursue the ball. The backside is the opposite side of your kicking leg. As you come up behind the ball scooping it up you will have your kicking leg on the outside and in position to make the punt.
In conclusion these are the basics of punting. Becoming a successful punter takes more than just knowing how to punt the football.