squib kick

What Is Squib Kick In Football, and When Do You Use It? 

Ever heard the term squib kick in football? This is a strategy that teams use, but one that people rarely discuss. So, what is a squib kick in football?

A squib kick in football is a type of kick in which the kicker drives the ball low and short. It is a unique strategy that prevents the opposing team from returning a kick.

Squib kicks are rare in professional and college football. However, they are quite common in youth football.

So, why do teams take a squib kick? Join me below as I discuss more about a squib kick in football.

What Is The Purpose Of Squib Kick

Now that you know about a squib kick in football, what is its purpose? Why do teams make squib kicks?

Teams take a squib kick as a strategy to prevent a return from the opponents. When teams attempt a squib kick, they kick the ball short and low.

This forces everyone on the opposing team, apart from two returners, to field the ball. It’s a safe kick that reduces the chances of a big return. But, this doesn’t rule away chances of a big return.

It’s common in youth leagues where players don’t have the power to make touchdown kicks. But in professional leagues like the NFL, players have the power to force touchdowns through kicks.

You’ll see teams driving the ball deep to avoid a return instead of making a squib kick.

History Of Squib Kick

The history of a squib kick can be traced back to 1981, when the 49ers first used it. The squib kick occurred when an injured 49ers player lightly kicked the ball.

american football athlete kicking the ball on the field

Ray Wersching miskicked the ball off Pontiac Silverdome when playing against Detroit. As opposed to the ball sailing in the air, it hit the ground, making it difficult for the opposing team to field.

Later in half, Ray would make two squibs, with the first pinning the Bengals deep into their half.

Who Invented Squib Kick

Michael Squib invented a squib kick in 1981. He used the kick during high school training. The squib kick could then be used by accident during the 49ers game when Ray Wersching kicked the ball wrong. The ball took turns bobbling off the turf and favoring the 49ers.

What Is The Point Of A Squib Kick?

Why would teams take a squib kick? What is the point? 

The point of a squib is to prevent a return from the opposing team. Only two return specialists from the opposing team can return the ball.

They prevent the return since the squib kicks the ball low and short. It forces the opposing team to have the ball with a good field position. It’s a safe way to kick the ball since a return is highly unlikely.

However, as I mentioned earlier, a return is still possible, though unlikely. But you’ll find that squib kicks are very popular in lower leagues, where players lack the power to kick the ball to the end zone.

Even when teams can get the ball to the end zone, squib kicks are safe at the end of the half. If teams are looking to eat a few seconds off the clock, a squib kick can help. It’s a safer option than putting the ball into the endzone.

When To Use Squib Kick – Strategy

A squib kick can be used at any time in the game. There are no rules that dictate when to use a squib.

However, teams can use a squib at any kickoff in a game. Most youth teams use squib kicks when the opponent has skilled return players. This helps prevent big returns.

football athlete running about to kick the ball

If the return specialists of the other team are known to make big returns, then a squib kick is highly recommended. In such cases, you can even use a squib on every kickoff.

Professional and college teams can also use the squib kick to control their field position. Even when the ball reaches the return specialists, it gets there at a very low speed.

You’ll often see teams in the National Football League making squib kicks towards the end of the half. It’s also a great strategy to eat off a few seconds towards the end of the game.

How To Do A Squib Kick

So, how do you go about doing a squib kick? We already know the ai is to force a non-traditional returner from a kick return.

It is a low and short kick. The ball drives a short distance while on the low as opposed to a high and long ball in the air.

Doing so helps direct the ball away from the best returners in the opponent’s team. Furthermore, the ball arrives slowly, even when it gets to the returners.

Performing a squib kick requires a kicker to take a few crucial steps. Below are the steps:

  • The kicker needs to line up as he normally does when taking a kickoff.
  • He needs to stand normal when lining up to approach the ball without angling.
  • The approach to the ball should also be normal. Not faster or slower
  • He should then aim at the upper half or middle of the ball and then drive the ball hard.
  • Making contact too low on the ball will take it high in the air. Hitting the ball too high will also make it land on the ground too soon.

As the ball moves, the coverage player needs to follow and attack the likely player to catch the pick. It also means angling towards the tackle. They usually angle towards the outside field instead of running the entire field length.

When taking a squib kick, the aim is to have the ball between the last line and the first line of the returner.

Overall, a squib kick is a middle of an onside kick and a regular kickoff.

Example Of Squib Kick

A famous example of the squib kick occurred on Nov 2nd, 1982, during a college football game. The University of California, famously known as the Golden Bears, played the Stanford Cardinals in the game.

american football athlete in red jersey kicks the football

The Cardinals took a 20-19 lead with just four seconds. Joe Kapp of the Cardinal anticipated a squib kick sending his onside return team. They recovered the ball, lateraling five times to score a touchdown and win the game.

Squib Kick in Football FAQs

How Far Do Squib Kicks Go?

Squibs can go as far as 40 yards, but good squib kicks should travel below the 25-yard line. Squib kicks don’t always run the clock. The clock only starts if the receiver beyond 10 yards legally touches the kick.

How Many Seconds Does A Squib Kick Take

On average, a squib kick should take four to six seconds. However, squib kicks only take time off the clock after hitting the ground.

Does a Squib Kick Start The Clock?

A squib does not start the clock until it hits the ground. As soon the ball hits the ground, it takes time off the clock.


That’s it from me! Squib kicks are short and low kicks that prevent return specialists from making big returns. Squib kicks are great for controlling possession and taking a few seconds off the clock when used correctly.

Squibs help keep the ball off the other opponent’s best returners. They also help give tacklers more time to pursue a ball carrier.

Many NFL coaches train their players to utilize the squib kicks strategy since it has worked to the advantage of most teams. If your team wants to deploy this strategy, find the position of the best players in the opposing team and deny them the chance to receive the kick.

Read More: What is an onsite kick in football? Find out what it is, when, and why it is used, plus the rules concerning this play in this detailed guide.

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