Youth Football Kicking by Expert Coach Chris Husby

Expert Coach Chris Husby from Special Teams Football Academy, breaks kicking down for us. Like the article below for more articles like this! 

Youth Football is a very fun and exciting time in many young athletes and parents lives.
For many of them, it’s their first introduction to playing competitive football.   Many kids have dreams of playing in the NFL, and also on down to playing under the Friday Night Lights with their local high school.  At the youth level of football much time is focused on just teaching kids the terms and plays on offense and defense.   Often times special teams, kicking and punting is overlooked, or just given to the kid that can naturally kick the ball the farthest.  In most youth leagues a kicking a PAT/extra point can be worth 2 points because it is rare that you have a youth kicker that can make a 20 yard extra point.

Special Teams Philosophy

Personally, as a private kicking instructor, I really enjoy working with youth athletes and teaching them the proper techniques for kicking, punting, holding and snapping. With Youth, you have to play to their strengths.  Many times they can’t quite physically do everything needed to kick, punt, and snap that you see at the High School and College level, but you need to keep things simple and work with them on the basics.  Below is a basic step by step approach to Kicking, Punting, Snapping and even Holding.

PAT/Field Goals

  • Typical distance form snapper is 7-8 yards deep
  • Let your Kicker place the holding block, not your holder.
  • Kicker should line up body facing target (Uprights)
  • Plant foot should be approx 1 shoe length from kicking block
  • Kicker should take 2-3 steps in backward approach.
  • Make sure kicker is squared up and facing uprights.
  • Take 2 steps 90 degrees to the left (for right footed kickers) or 90 degrees to the right (for left footed kickers).
  • Once kicker is ready he should nod or give a signal to the holder, who then gives a signal to the snapper.
  • Once snapper snaps back and holder firmly has hold of ball, kicker should make his approach to the holding block.  *Note- you can speed up the process for the kicker to start as your snapping unit is comfortable and fluid.
  • Kicker should make his approach toward the “plant foot” area.  This forces the kicker to swing up through the ball utilizing kicker’s quad in the swing.
  • Kicker’s leg, ankle and foot should be straight and locked.
  • Foot contact on the ball should be the “instep” of foot making contact on the bone that connects to the big toe, but closer to the ankle.
  • After contact, the kickers leg should swing up through the ball and toward the uprights.
  • If physically possible, kicker’s plant foot should skip forward after kicking ball.  Alleviates stress on ankle and knee.  *Sometimes young athletes aren’t able to do this.

Kickoffs

  • Kicker should line up body facing target (Uprights)
  • Plant foot should be approx 1 shoe length from kicking block
  • Kicker should step back 5-9 yards backward approach depending on comfortability.
  • Take 4-7 steps 90 degrees to the left (for right footed kickers) or 90 degrees to the right (for left footed kickers).
  • Ideally the angle/approach the kicker takes on a Kickoff should be similar to that of a FG approach. This allows for having the same kicking swing for both kicks.

Punting

  • Feet Parallel and shoulder width apart
  • Catch the ball with hands out away from body
  • Mold ball with laces up, with arm extended over kicking leg
  • Take 2 or 3 steps to get punt off
  • Flat Drop
  • Drop the ball between 11-12 o’clock for right footed punters or 12-1 o’clock for left football punters
  • Lock out (point toe) foot.
  • Ball contact on laces of shoe/cleat
  • Swing leg up through ball.

Holding

  • Holding for Right Footed kicker
  • Right knee down, left knee up
  • Align kicking block 2-4” from left foot
  • Keep left hand/fingers on block as a guide.
  • Use right hand to give single to holder.
  • Voice prompt as well for team
  • Bring both hands up to catch ball
  • Use left knee as back stop and guide to bring ball down onto block
  • Hold the ball with left hand (thumb, index and 2nd finger) or whatever is easier; just don’t put too much pressure on the ball.
  • Use right hand to rotate the ball to get laces out.
  • For left footed kickers, reverse the following steps.

Coach Husby owns and runs Special Teams Football Academy.  He is a Professional Kicking, Punting and Snapping instructor and a former NFL Free Agent Punter of 6 years.  He trains athletes of all levels (youth, High School, College and Free Agent Specialists), and holds one on one lessons, small group lessons and clinics, Special Teams camps, and National Camp Series evaluations and camps for kickers, punters & snappers.  For more information check out www.SpecialTeamsFootballAcademy.com!

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