Punting a football requires a concise and consistent approach. It requires many years of practice, which is why youth football players frequently struggle to punt a ball accurately. The body tends to lean naturally toward the side where the plant foot lands. Thus, a punter ends up kicking across his body and shanking the punt to the side. At the youth football stage, developing good technique is the most important part of the kicking process.
Things You'll Need
Catch the ball with both hands extended in front of the body. Keep the hands close together and secure the first-third of the ball. Do not bring the ball into the body like a receiver would as this action takes too much time.
Place your dominant hand underneath the football with the seams facing up. Your middle finger should align with the panel seam opposite the grip seams. Hold your arm straight out with ball in hand with the ball slightly pointing up from the finger tips. Keep your non-dominant hand on the side of the ball as support.
Take three steps, leading with your non-kicking leg. The first two steps build momentum and the third step acts as the plant foot. In situations where just punting the ball away is more important than distance, shorten to a two-step approach, leading with the kicking leg.
Plant your non-kicking foot with toes pointed in the direction of the kick and swing your kicking leg up toward the ball. Point your toe so the top of your foot acts like an in-line extension of your leg.
Keep the ball extended with the dominant hand underneath the ball and non-dominant hand supporting it along the side. Slightly lift the ball a couple of inches with your dominant-hand before dropping it. This gives your foot the extra time needed to meet the ball as close to where you positioned it as possible. Without the lift, the ball would drop and you would make contact lower than the hand position.
Kick the ball with the outside edge of your foot while the ball is slightly tilted up. Your follow through should be as high as possible to ensure you kick through the ball.
Tips & Warnings
- Practice accelerated movements and situations where you must handle a bad snap and kick on the run.
- Do not toss the ball more than a couple of inches in the air before kicking it. You want to slightly lift the ball, but minimize movement for consistency and accuracy.
- Do not hold the ball on either tip. Although this creates a wide "sweet spot" for kicking, it reduces ball flight and makes any roll unpredictable.
- Photo Credit Football image by Brian Garvey from Fotolia.com