Special Teams Tips: Kick Returning 101

A big kick return can give your offense the momentum it needs to make those game-changing plays.

As a kick returner, you have three main responsibilities:

  1. See the ball off the tee.
  2. See the ball in flight.
  3. Receive the ball.

To fulfill your duties and ace the return, start in an athletic, comfortable position with your knees bent and your eyes locked on the kicker. Watch the ball off the tee and track the kick, so that you can move your positioning to be ready to receive the ball.

If the ball is to your left, pen up your body slightly and slide or run left to get behind the ball.  On a ball kicked to the right, mirror your movements. Either way, track the ball the entire time it’s in flight, moving your body to get behind it.

Once in position, as the ball starts its descent, begin moving forward to create momentum.  Keep your elbows in and hands up in front of your chest to create a tight pocket for the ball to land. Trap the ball with your arms and hands against your breast plate. Follow the ball with your eyes all the way into your body.

As soon as the ball is secured, get your eyes up to locate the defense and your blockers. On special teams, special players make special plays. Use your eyes and body to get into the proper position to field the kick and use your momentum to get up field.