Skills - Drop Punt
How to Kick a Good Drop Punt in Football
An effective drop punt is a good skill for any football player to have, regardless of the level you’re playing at. To drop punt the ball effectively, hold the football lightly in front of you, take two steps forward, and drop the ball so it connects with your kicking foot. You’ll develop and perfect this skill over time, so don’t worry if your first attempted punts don’t go very far, or if you miss the ball altogether.
Preparing Your Stance
Warm up before drop punting.If you aggressively practice drop punting without properly warming up, you risk tearing or straining a muscle. Try warming up with high kicks: raise your arm on the same side as the leg you plan to punt with. Hold your arm out flat. Keep your leg straight, and swing it up so that you kick (or come close to) the palm of your outstretched hand.
- Doing 10 or 20 high kicks with both legs will stretch out and warm up your muscles before you begin punting.
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart.Place the foot that you plan to kick with about half a step in front of your other foot. Bend your knees slightly so that you can move easily and swing your leg in its full range of motion.This athletic stance will prepare you to punt the football as far as possible.
- If you start out with an unbalanced stance, your attempts to punt will be ineffective.
Stand straight or with a slight forward lean.Leaning forward a little may help you build momentum as you step ahead and punt the ball. Do not lean back before punting.
- If you lean backwards, away from the ball, you’ll end up dropping the ball onto your knee and will have a poor follow-through.
Beginning the Punt
Hold the ball with a “handshake” grip.Use your hand on the same side as the leg that you’ll be kicking with, and spread your fingers evenly around the back of the football. Do not let the point of the ball touch the back of your hand. Place your other hand under the center of the football for support and guidance.
- Angle the ball slightly away from your kicking foot—if you kick with your right foot, the ball will point towards about 11 o’clock.
- Make sure to hold the ball with the laces facing up. If the laces are facing down when you punt a football, they can cause the football to skew off to one side or the other when kicked.
Extend your arms straight at about chest level.While still holding the football, hold your arms out in front of you until they’re comfortably extended. At this point, your arms should be about even with the center of your chest.
- If you punt with your arms too high, the ball will land past the end of your feet when you try to punt it.
- If your arms are too low, the ball will hit your shin or knee as you release it.
Take a short step with your kicking foot.This is known as the “stab” step, and it will build your momentum. Step forward about 3 feet (1 meter); a longer step will throw you off balance and make your subsequent steps clumsy.
Kicking the Ball
Take a second step and release the ball so it drops flat.Perform these two actions simultaneously: take a second, longer step forward (with your non-kicking foot) and remove your support hand from underneath the ball. As you continue to lunge forward and build moment, open your hand with the “handshake” grip on the football, and allow the ball to fall freely.
- This second step is called the “plant,” and will ground you so that you can punt the football effectively.
- When you drop the ball, give it a slight push forward so it hits the exact top of your foot, not the outside to create a spin, but the exact top.
- You can practice this step without actually kicking the ball. If you release the ball without kicking, it should land flat on the ground and bounce straight back up.
Swing your leg at the same time you drop the ball.Once you release your “handshake” grip on the football, start swinging your kicking foot up towards the ball. Lock your kicking foot and point your toe straight out. This will present a broad, flat surface towards the ball.
- Swing your leg straight forward, as if you were aiming upwards towards your own shoulder. Don’t kick off towards one side or the other, as this will cause the ball to skew towards the side.
Kick the ball at its roundest part.If you’ve properly held and dropped the ball and timed your steps with the ball drop, your foot should be aimed for the thickest part of the football, directly across from the laces. Using the momentum you’ve built up, deliver a solid kick to the ball.
Follow through your kick.Once the upper surface of your foot has connected with the football, you need to follow through the kick. Continue to drive your leg forward, and let the force of the kick drive your leg as high as it can naturally rise.
- If you find yourself being thrown off balance by the force of your kick, hold your arms out in front of you to stabilize your torso.
QuestionDo you drop it on your boot?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes. Do not throw it in the air! That can make you break your toe if you don't hit it right.Thanks!
QuestionWhat way do I hold the ball?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThe laces of the football face the sky (up). Tuck it into your shoulder, have your hand holding it at the nose. This is how you hold it when running. When preparing to throw, place your fingers on the laces, and your thumb and index finger at the nose.Thanks!
- Keep your eye on the ball at all times. You need to watch the ball as it drops from your hands towards the ground, otherwise you’ll have trouble kicking the ball in the correct spot.
- When punting, there's a very specific time that you must make contact with the ball. It takes practice, but if you work at it you'll be able to easily control your kick. Drop the ball perfectly level and make contact earlier with a pointed foot for a high kick. Drop the ball tilted forwards about 45 degrees forwards and with your foot bent at the same angle kick when the ball is about a foot away from the ground.
Also, take a quick hop with your plant leg after the kick to get more height.
Video: The Drop - How to Punt a Football Series by IMG Academy Football (2 of 5)
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