How To Punt A Football: Technique You Need To Know
In football, having a great punter is a significant asset. You want the ball further into the opponent’s side. Looking to improve your punting technique?
Punting in football is important and gives the receiving team more advantage when possession changes.
A punt in football is kicking the ball deep into the opposition half with hopes of giving the receiving team favorable positions when possession changes.
Looking to know how to punt a football? The art of kicking the ball keeps on evolving. Join me as I do a breakdown on how to punt a football from a punt and field position. I’ll also share some punting tips and drills.
What Is a Football Punt?
Before you even learn how to punt a football, let’s get to understand what a football punt is.
A football punt is a kick done by a player by the feet to the opposition half to give the kicking team a better position when possession changes. The punt is performed by dropping the ball by hand and then kicking it before it hits the ground.
A football punt is different from a drop kick which takes place when the ball hits the ground. However, a drip kick is quite rare in American and Canadian football.
In most cases, a football punt occurs when the kicking team is in their final down and doesn’t want to risk a turnover. The team in possession then kicks the balls further in the end zone of the receiving team.
The kicking team usually tries to reduce the distance the receiving team will have to have when advancing with the ball to score a touchdown.
The punting technique involves leaning forward, holding the ball with the laces facing up, kicking right after you drop it, and following through with your kick.
Types of Punting
- Pooch punt
- End-over end punt
- Fake units
- Rugby style punts
8 Steps How to Punt a Football
Below, I’ll discuss 8 steps on how to punt a football. Read through as you master the art of punting a football
Step 1: Catch the Ball in Your Hands
You’re not going to punt without first holding the ball in your hands. Take a position on the field. Place your feet about shoulder-width apart. The foot to kick the ball should sit a few inches behind the other foot.
Make sure you hold the ball securely with both hands just right at your chest. Hold hands together as you prepare to catch the ball. Avoid getting it too close to the body.
You need to learn how to adjust your body accordingly for easy ball catching. Always keep hands together before any catch.
Step 2: Gripping the Football
After catching the ball, position it and have the laces facing up. The football comes extended in front of you and you have to rotate it.
How a player grabs and grips the ball with your football gloves is pretty important in a football punting. Players employ the “handshake” rule where the ball is held as you’re shaking a hand.
You need to grip the football using the hand on the same side as the foot you will use to punt. Make sure you hold the ball with both hands without the ball tip touching your palms.
There are several ways to grip the ball. You just want to make sure you grip the ball in the most comfortable position.
Step 3: Take the Stab Step
With the ball held tightly and at the correct angle, you need to take a stab step. Now, this is the real punting process!
You need to take a short and quick step at kicking the ball. Make the first step using the kicking foot, followed by the non-kicking foot. Ensure the steps are short to avoid losing momentum.
A smooth and quick step helps you build momentum and power for the punt. Avoid making too small or too long steps.
Step 4: The Drop
In step 3, you drop the ball. By now, you’ve taken the stab step and taken the second step. The second step usually covers more ground and helps you generate momentum.
Take the second step while removing the support hand from the ball at the same time. This leaves the grip handshake holding the ball. Now, this is where you drop the ball by letting it drop.
The ball usually drops straight and you should hit it before it lands on turf. In punting, the drop is a crucial step and must be done right. If the ball tumbles, then you’re likely going to miss.
This is why the ball should be held at the right angle. You don’t want the ball hitting the shin tip and rotating before you kick it. Practice proper angling of the ball to the sides before any drop.
Step 5: The Plant
The plant is when the second step lands on the ground generating power for a driving punt.
As the plant foot lands on the ground, the ball should have left your hands. Overall, the plant foot positions in front of the hips as one leans forward. This allows you to drive the foot and get a good punt on the ball.
Step 6: Contact
This is where your foot makes contact with the ball. Players make good contacts when the drop is accurate and the steps are right. In general, the foot top should hit the ball “belly” directly.
To ensure maximum power and distance, keep your kicking foot driving through even after you hit the ball.
Step 7: The Follow Through
Make sure your follow-through goes on by driving your kicking foot to the head. Place your arm in front to help create stability as you follow through.
Stabilizing your foot is important as powerful force throughs might force your plant foot off the ground.
Step 8: The Finish
Lastly, we have the finishing step where both feet are on the ground. The head usually remains tilted as you follow how the punt goes. A good view of the ball is important to help teammates make the right moves.
The punter is probably the best-placed player to have a good view of the ball. You can always point to your teammates in the direction of the ball. In most cases, the last step depends on the coach and how the team is set up.
These are steps to fall to punt a football. However, there are no guidelines on what exactly to do. Teams can practice in various styles until they get what best works for them.
How To Punt A Football Farther
To hit a football further, you need to take the right approach and stance. Start from a proper position, ball catching, and right grip. Hold the ball with the laces facing upwards, take the right steps, and hit the ball while following through with your kick.
Why Do Teams Punt A Football
Teams punt in football to put the ball deep into the opposition half. They do so to reduce losing the ball in their end zone where the opposing team can easily score a touchdown.
They punt the ball furthest to maximize the distance the receiving team has to take before they can score a touchdown.
As one person says in Quora, punting in football can be quite beneficial to the punting team.
Football Punting Mistakes To Avoid
Now you know the right steps to follow to take a football punt. However, players can still make mistakes. Let’s see some common mistakes that players can make.
1. Taking eyes off the ball:
Football players catching the ball at any position must keep their eyes on the ball always. Professional players maintain great focus when catching the ball.
The common phrase is to “keep your eyes on the ball”. If you look downfield, then you can easily miss the ball. You can only punt if you catch the ball. So, don’t keep your eyes off the ball.
2. Avoid Shuffling Your Feet:
I mentioned this earlier. You need short and quick steps when you’re about to punt. Avoid shuffling your feet when stepping forward. Always, make fast-paced steps.
3. Football Laces Not Pointing Up:
The ball grip must be positioned correctly. Once you catch the ball, position the laces upwards. A common mistake is players not rotating the ball to have laces facing upwards.
This usually ends up with players kicking the ball on the laces, therefore, reducing power. Make sure the laces always point upwards.
4. Dropping Football to the Foot:
Dropping the ball down to meet your foot is another common mistake. When players drop a ball to meet the foot, it’s hard to predict how the ball will fall.
Instead, try and lift your foot to meet the ball close to your hands. Meeting the ball close to your hands ensures you kick it with power.
5. Stopping After Kicking the Ball:
This is another common mistake where players stop after a kick. As I mentioned earlier, following through with your kick adds more power to your kick.
Make sure you follow through with your kick to ensure the ball moves with power. Getting the ball deeper into the offense end zone gives you a better chance of pinning them down and scoring.
Punting Drills and Tips
Performing punting drills is the only way to master the art of punting.
You want to perform the drills repetitively to ingrain the muscles with a memory of a punt. Below, I’ll discuss some punting drills and tips that create memory when punting.
- Punt passes: Punt passes drills train your foot to gain good ball contact and hit the ball right. Have a partner 10-15 yards apart and try to kick the ball in their direction. The aim is not to show power but to get a good ball spiral.
- One-step Punts: It’s a drill where you take steps as you punt. Start with one foot in front of the other, lean slightly forward, and move your weight forward as you kick the ball. The drill aims to perfect your steps and swing your body the right way.
- Walking the line: The drill involves putting the kicking foot in line, extending the ball, and dropping it on line. Walk back and forth as your body muscles learn to memorize the steps.
How Many Steps Do You Take When You Punt A Football?
You only need to take two steps when you punt a football. Take the first step using the kicking foot. The second step uses the opposite foot while swinging the kicking foot.
Is Punting A Football Easy?
Punting is not as easy as most people think. It’s not just kicking the ball hard. You need the right ball contact while hitting it with power to get it as far to the opposition half, without getting into the end zone.
Can You Catch Your Punt in Football?
To simply put it, a punt in football is a scrimmage kick and any team can advance to catch or recover the ball behind a neutral zone. However, when punting the ball, you’ve given possession to the opposing team. If you catch your punt, you cannot advance it.
There you go! Now you know how to punt a football. To punt in football, you need to catch the ball, position it right, take the right steps, contact, and follow through. Punting in football is quite important as teams need to take positions.