Posts tagged get off times
A KICK IS BLOCKED! It’s recovered by the defense on your side of the 50 or even worse, it rolls into the end zone for an easy opponent touchdown. It may even be an extra point or a field goal that cost you a game. We are sure of one thing.
It must have been the kicker!
After all, it is called the kicking game so the problem must be the kicker. That’s what every one automatically thinks.
EVEN THE COACHES! The actual truth is the kicker is not at fault most of the time – yet he gets the blame almost 100% of the time. The true Special Teams Coach realizes the kicking game, both punt and kick, includes many elements and the actual kick is only one of them.
ELEMENTS OF THE KICKING GAME
- THE SNAP
- THE HOLD
- THE PROTECTION
- THE KICK
It’s easy to see that a blocked kick or punt could be the result of many problems. One of the definitions of COACHING is the identification and correction of mistakes. So before you can correct a problem you have to properly identify it.
IT’S NOT ALWAYS THE KICKER!
Actually most times its not. This is why the stop watch is a critical piece of equipment for the Special Teams Coach.
The clipboard and the whistle have long been accepted as standard coaching equipment but the stopwatch has achieved equal status in the modern world of High Tech Football. Coaches have long been aware that one of the best ways to spice up practice and drills is to add a stopwatch and the element of competition against time. Special Teams Coaches who have to deal with concepts such as hang times and get off times have learned the value of constant practice timing. A precision kicking game demands it.
Most coaches don’t actually know what a good “get off” time is for punts or kicks.
The total time from snap-to-kick should be 1.25 to 1.4 seconds for high school. 1.25 to 1.3 for college and pro.
The optimum time for punting includes:
Center Snap .8 seconds seconds for high school. .7 to .75 for college and pro (15 yards).
Handling Time (hand to foot) 1.3 seconds for high school. 1.2 to 1.3 seconds for college and pro.
TOTAL Get-Off Time 2.1 seconds for high school. 2.0 to 2.1 for collge and pro.
Like everything else in the game it becomes a matter of awareness through proper practice. Most coaches don’t even know the proper manner to time their kickers and punters.
Kickers and punters should be continually timed, not only to get the ball away quickly, but also to enable them to develop a proper rhythm and thus improve consistency. The goal is for OPTIMUM times. There is such a thing as getting the ball off too quickly when it is not necessary. Why put the football in the hands of a great returner too quickly before the coverage team has a chance to cover? Punters, like Quarterbacks, can develop a sense for feeling pressure. There may be times, when a receiving team has a return on, and the punter can even delay to allow his coverage team more time to spread and cover. If kickers and punters are timed regularly, they will know what their ideal time is and therefore maximize their effectiveness.
If you don’t have a coach to do it you can use a manager or injured player equipped with clipboard, charts and stop watch. Just follow kickers around practice from Specialty Period to the final whistle and time and chart each and every kick. The same people should be utilized as game timers.
The coach can then evaluate charts from the comfort of his office when time permits or immediately see the results after a play during the game.
Remember, you must have a stopwatch as your constant practice companion. In the Army it’s your rifle. As a practice coach it’s a whistle. (Some coaches feel naked if they ever found themselves at a practice without a whistle). For the special teams coach it’s a STOPWATCH! It should be around your neck at all times just like your whistle. Factions of Kicking Game Times should be constantly and consistently charted until they become as familiar as your offensive and defensive terminology. Hang Times, Get-Off Times, Hand-To-Foot times, Snap-To-Kick Times will become second nature to you and your kickers.
Continued timing and charting during games will let you know right away the real reason why a kick is blocked. The head coach should have someone timing the kicks at ALL Times in order to insure proper timing and to determine if there is a problem in the kicking game and where to find it. (An opponent may even be exposing a weakness - so make sure they are being timed too). A slow get-off time may prove the kicker was at fault – while an optimal get-off time (and a near block of the kick) may prove there was a breakdown in the protection. The quicker the real problem can be identified the quicker coaching can begin and game changing mistakes can be eliminated!
Excerpts from the book Getting a Kick Out of Practice by Coach Bill Tom Ross and Coach Rick Sang