How to Measure a Football Punt

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There are several ways to measure the distance of a football punt. Whether you are trying to see just how far you can kick a football, or are trying to measure the effectiveness of your favorite kicker, there are a few different methods to measure a football punt.

Things You'll Need

  • Football
  • Measuring tape
  • Stopwatch
  • The most useful way of measuring a football punt is simply going out on to a football field and measuring how far a punt goes. If a football field with lines is not available, just using a simple tape measure to measure the distance of a punt is also acceptable. In most football games, the distance of a punt is measured from where the ball is snapped to where it lands, not from where the punter kicks the ball from. The average punter in the NFL averages a little over 40 yards per punt.

  • Understand that distance isn't everything in punting, however. Many people also look at "hang time" or how long a punt is in the air. This is important in football because if the ball is in the air longer, it allows the punter's teammates to run down the field to make a tackle quicker. Sometimes, a shorter punt with more hang time is more effective than a long punt with little hang time. Hang time is measured from the point where the ball leaves the punter's foot to the point when it is caught by the returner or hits the ground. The average punter in the NFL averages about 4.6 seconds of hang time per punt.

  • Know the effectiveness of a punt can't always be measured in pure distance alone in football. There are also some other statistics that are used to determine how well a punter is doing. One common statistic used is the number of punts a player has inside the 20-yard line. Punters that can kick the ball close to the opponents end zone without kicking it into the end zone are a valuable asset because it gives their opponents difficult field position. A punter that is good at pinning the opposition inside their own 20-yard line frequently is very important.

  • Keep in mind that a second statistic used is called net punting average. This statistic combines how far punter kicked the ball, with how far the returner returned the ball. This statistic combines distance with hang time because a shorter punt with more hang time may yield better field position than a long punt that is easily returnable.

Tips & Warnings

  • Watch the distance of punts closely during football games. A good punter can often earn his team as much as an extra 50 yards of field position in a game, and can make a big difference in the outcome of the game, even though he may not seem as important.
  • If you are trying to improve your punting distance, the most important thing is building up strength in your leg, while still maintaining good flexibility.

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