Special Teams Tips: Punting 101

Learn the basics of punting and the important role you play in disadvantaging the opponent’s offense.

Special teams account for one third of the game, and punting is key to great field position. To be and effective punter, you first need to focus on catching the snap from the center. You can’t punt the ball effectively without a clean catch.

As you wait to catch the ball from the long snapper, keep your feet about shoulder-width distance apart. Both toes should face the line of scrimmage, with your kicking foot staggered back about 6″ to 12″.

Once you catch the ball from the center, turn the seams of the football outward. If you are a right-footed punter, you would turn the seams to face to the right. Turn the seams to the left if  you’re a left-footed punter.

Hold the ball parallel with the ground at stomach height. Place your kicking foot hand on the back third of the football, closest to your body, and put your opposite hand on the top third of the football, away from your body. This will help keep the ball steady as you take your steps to punt.

You only need to take two steps before punting the ball. The first step should be with your kicking foot, followed by a step with your opposite foot. At the same time as you swing your kicking foot leg to make contact, extend your arms in front of your body, holding the ball at waist level.

Don’t toss the football into the air or make a long drop down to your foot. Rather, bring your foot to the ball to make contact, keeping your toe pointed. The goal is to catch the ball with your foot, swinging quickly through the ball to create power. Ideally, you want to kick the middle to outside part of the football so it flies end over end, and put a spiral-type spin on the ball off the foot.

Now that you know the proper steps to help punt the football to your team’s advantage, you’re ready to take the field and give it your all.