Web Sites
      build a site
      site finder
      spotlight sites
      tips and drills
      coaching basics
      sports psych
      rookie page
      message boards
      sports recruiting
      ratings & rankings
      NFL Punt Pass & Kick
      clubs & associations
      camps & clinics
Category: Special Teams
Type: Tip


Special Teams are not merely key to a team's success, they are crucial. As George Allen noted, the kicking game is a full one third of your team's season. The kicking game can reverse the outcome of a game often on a single play. Great special teams begin with great special teams players. These players often distinguish themselves in practice. They are the ones who leave their feet in order to make a play. They are the ones that other less energetic players often complain about as being over zealous. They love contact. They chase every play. They need not have exception speed, size, or quickness. What they already have far outweighs any shortcomings in those areas. Here is a picture of artist David Alan Brown's ideal special teams player according to both George Allen and myself.

The more prominent special teams play, the more an opponent must take up valuable practice time to counter act it. In an effort to maximize special teams performance, I will incorporate special teams preparation with conditioning. In this manner special teams can be practiced each and every day of practice.

Many teams are lax in their devotion to the kicking game and special teams play in general. This despite a contemporary trend recognizing the valuable contribution special teams play can make to a game, often even breaking open and/or deciding a close game. Without surprise, those teams willing to spend valuable practice time devoted to special teams play are the very ones who most often benefit from it. One way to more fully incorporate special teams play into practice is to combine it with conditioning. Rather than have players run a high repetition of laps (where many linemen tend to be less than enthusiastic or energetic) a coach could run a high number of kick offs, kick off returns, punts, and punt returns. The same conditioning results and the time is spent more productively "killing two birds with one stone."

Special teams are addressed each and every day of practice. Punts, punt returns, kick offs, kick off returns, field goals, and extra points are all incorporated into the daily conditioning rituals. This exercise comes immediately after team warm ups. The day before a game, special teams are given extensive coverage in full pads with zero contact.

When a team is trailing by two points and declines to attempt a 40 yard field goal opting instead to go for a fourth and eight situation from an opponent's 23 yard line, the message is clear. The kicking game is inadequate. There is a chink in the armor. This deficiency is always self inflicted. There is always at least one player on a squad capable of place kicking the football. The team's inability to kick the go ahead field goal in the scenario above reveals the coaching staff's ineffectiveness in finding, training, and utilizing this player(s). A team so uncommitted to the basic necessities such as a simple field goal is likely to be deficient in other special teams areas as well. It is against just such a team that I will feel confident to try my team's highly practiced and prepared special plays. In other words, such a scenario is ideal for going for the fake kick or blocked kick attempt. The reasoning is simple. If my opponent has prepared so little for their own field goal team, how much have they prepared for my multi-threat special teams play. I like my chances.

Submitted by: Coach Hutchison

< Back
Football Soccer Basketball Baseball Ice Hockey Cheerleading Softball Volleyball Lacrosse Swimming Tennis Bowling More Sports