Drills Report – 13 Advanced Punting Ideas and Drillsby: Tim TobinDefensive Line Coach Kutztown University
© July 2012
Punting is one of the most difficult and least acknowledged skills in the game. Coaches expect punters to punt well every time, but one bad punt or a botched snap can result in a serious conversation from a coach or, even worse, a loss of a game. Punting can be a big momentum changing play for you or the other team. Here’s a list of coaching points and drills that can help with this position and make it a more positive part of your program.
1. Punter Stretches
• Make each stretch realistic to punting (straight).
• Get a sweat on before stretching (dynamic stretch).
• Relax while stretching.
• Don’t bounce or force stretches (start with gravity static stretch).
• Hold stretch for a minute (static stretch).
• Integrate basic Yoga moves in stretching routine.
• Stretch the muscles that are used by punters (butt, hamstrings, hips, quadriceps).
2. Lengthen and Strengthen the Sweet Spot of the Foot
• Point punting foot like a ballerina.
• Straighten punting knee while pointing ankle and toe.
• The foot is held in a pointed position (4 sets x 5 seconds).
• Feel the sweet spot of the foot (sweet spot is shoe lace area of foot).
3. Drop Drill. Place fingers on back half of the ball and side of ball (with soft fingers). Then, while reaching the ball out to the foot, lock out the elbow. Bring the thumb and wrist up during the drop. Drop ball by opening fingers from side of ball, dropping it flat and straight. How does the ball bounce? If it bounces flat and straight up, it’s a good drop. If the ball bounces in either direction, it is considered a bad drop.
4. Drop and Plant Foot Drill. Practice without the ball, using field lines. Go through two steps – secure plant of the foot and follow through, keeping foot on ground. Next, bring plant foot off ground with power, keeping the leg straight during follow through. Punting knee follows through on same foot side and plant foot lands straight on follow through.
5. Sweet Spot Drill. Place sweet spot dots on top and bottom of the football. Then, put a sweet spot dot on top of the punter’s foot shoe. Practice punting lining up sweet spots between the ball and shoe.
6. Punt On Line Drill (Snap and Punt). Start on sideline, facing opposite sideline. Your stance should have feet under arm apart and square. You now go through two steps – a soft step towards snap of ball, then a snap to the right, stepping with right foot toward ball softly. Then, snap to the left, stepping with left foot toward ball softly. Try to drop ball flat and straight onto sweet spot of foot, keeping body straight in direction of punt. Keep head down during follow through while having a relaxed and fast swinging leg (like a golf swing follow through).
7. North, South East, West. Work on punting in every direction of the field, not just the same way. Punt with and against the wind. Punters at times have problems in certain directions on the field. Adjust your punting techniques with or against the wind. If you are punting into the wind, reach out more and put less height on the punt. When punting with the wind, get the ball as high as you can up in the air.
8. Bad Snap Drill. The definition of a good snap is a quick snap over punter’s foot thigh. The punter is better mentally when his eyes are down and not focusing on the rush. The punter must practice with bad snaps.
9. Quick Get-Off Drill. Time the punter’s get-off time with a stopwatch. Quicken punter’s time purposely with good punting technique and practice punting with an 11- man rush.
10. Number of Punts. (Quality is better than quantity) Limit your punter’s repetitions, especially when punting badly. Also, limit the number of punts closer to game by building confidence and strength.
11. Video The Punter. Film in the off-season and during the season, looking at his hang time and distance. To be complete, video your punter from the front, back and side.
12. Game Day Kicking Net. Change the net direction during the game and place net into the wind. Change net direction with offenses’ field position
13. It’s a Mental Thing. Punters are a different breed like their coaches – keep them relaxed mentally and physically. Practice all stressful punting situations during practice and have punters visualize good punts with proper technique. Punters also need to watch the opposing punt return team to pick up any tendencies.
About the Author: Coach Tim Tobin recently became the Linebackers, Run Game, and Special Teams Coach at Tusculum College in Greeneville, TN. He previously coached at Kutztown University for six seasons as the Defensive Line, Kickers, and Strength and Conditioning Coach. Tobin began his coaching career as a student assistant at Arizona State. He has also coached in London and at both the University of California-Santa Barbara and Shippensburg University.