Drafting Specialists: Finding the Best Kickers and Punters

Drafting Specialists: Finding the Best Kickers and Punters

Are you looking to improve your fantasy football team’s kicking and punting performance? Look no further! In this article, we will guide you through the process of finding the best kickers and punters for your team. Whether you are a seasoned fantasy football player or a beginner, our expert tips and strategies will help you draft specialists who can make a significant impact on your team’s success. So, let’s dive in and explore the world of drafting kickers and punters!

Why Special Teams Matter in Football

The role of kickers and punters

Kickers and punters play a crucial role in the game of football. While they may not receive as much attention as the star quarterbacks or wide receivers, their contributions are invaluable to the success of a team.

Kickers are responsible for scoring points by kicking field goals and extra points. They often determine the outcome of close games and can be the difference between a win and a loss. Additionally, kickers are relied upon to make successful onside kicks, giving their team an opportunity to regain possession of the ball.

Punters, on the other hand, are tasked with kicking the ball as far as possible when their team is unable to convert a first down. By punting the ball deep into the opponent’s territory, punters help to flip the field position and give their team a better chance of stopping the opposing offense. Furthermore, punters must also be skilled at executing fake punts or directional kicks to keep the opposing team off balance.

The impact of special teams on the game

Special teams have a significant impact on the outcome of a football game. They can provide a team with crucial points, shift momentum, and even directly contribute to scoring touchdowns.

Field goals and extra points, which are primarily the responsibility of kickers, can add up quickly and make a difference in a low-scoring game. A successful kick can provide a team with three points, while an extra point can add one more. These points can be the deciding factor in a close match.

Punters, on the other hand, affect the game by influencing field position. By punting the ball deep into the opponent’s territory, they force the opposing offense to start their drive from a less advantageous position. This makes it harder for the opposing team to score and puts the defense in a better position to make a stop.

Moreover, special teams can also generate game-changing plays. For instance, a kickoff return or a punt return for a touchdown can instantly swing the momentum in favor of a team. These electrifying plays not only provide an immediate boost but can also demoralize the opposing team.

In conclusion, special teams, including kickers and punters, play a crucial role in football. They contribute to scoring points, dictate field position, and can even directly impact the outcome of a game. Teams that prioritize and invest in their special teams unit have a higher chance of success on the football field.

Skills and Qualities of a Good Kicker

Accuracy and Consistency

One of the most essential skills for a good kicker is accuracy. A reliable kicker must possess the ability to consistently kick the ball accurately towards the desired target, whether it be the goalposts for field goals or the sideline for kickoffs. Accuracy ensures that the team can rely on the kicker to secure crucial points during a game.

Consistency is closely tied to accuracy and is equally important. A kicker who can consistently replicate their kicking motion and technique will have a higher chance of achieving accuracy. This consistency allows kickers to fine-tune their approach and make necessary adjustments to their kicks, resulting in a more reliable performance.

Leg Strength and Distance

Another crucial aspect of a good kicker is leg strength. A powerful leg enables kickers to achieve greater distance on their kicks, which can be a game-changer in critical situations. Whether it’s a long field goal attempt or a deep kickoff, the ability to generate substantial power through the leg is essential.

Leg strength also contributes to the speed at which the ball leaves the foot. The faster the ball travels, the less time the opposing team has to react and block the kick. This factor adds an extra layer of difficulty for the opposition and increases the chances of successful kicks.

Ability to Handle Pressure

The ability to handle pressure is an intangible quality that sets apart exceptional kickers from the rest. In crucial moments of a game, kickers often face immense pressure to deliver. Whether it’s a game-winning field goal or a must-make extra point, the mental strength to perform under pressure is invaluable.

A good kicker remains calm and composed, blocking out distractions and focusing solely on the task at hand. They possess the confidence and belief in their abilities to execute the kick successfully, even in high-stakes situations. This mental fortitude allows kickers to thrive under pressure and deliver when it matters most.

In conclusion, a good kicker possesses a combination of accuracy, consistency, leg strength, and the ability to handle pressure. These skills and qualities are essential for a kicker to excel on the field and contribute to the success of their team.

Skills and Qualities of a Good Punter

A good punter plays a critical role in a football team’s success. Punting requires a unique set of skills and qualities that can greatly impact the outcome of a game. In this article, we will explore the essential skills and qualities that make a punter stand out from the rest.

Hang time and distance

One of the primary skills that sets apart a good punter is their ability to achieve high hang time and cover long distances with their punts. Hang time refers to the length of time the ball stays in the air after being kicked. A good punter can consistently deliver punts with impressive hang time, allowing their teammates enough time to get downfield and prevent any significant return yards for the opposing team.

Moreover, distance plays a crucial role in determining field position. A punter with a strong leg can consistently launch the ball deep into the opposing team’s territory, forcing them to start their offensive drives further away from the end zone. This creates a significant advantage for the punting team, as it increases the likelihood of their opponents making mistakes or being unable to score.

Directional punting

In addition to hang time and distance, a good punter possesses the skill of directional punting. Directional punting involves intentionally angling the punt towards the sidelines or a specific area of the field. By strategically placing the ball away from the returner’s path or towards the sideline, the punter can limit the returner’s options and decrease the chances of a big return.

Directional punting requires precision and accuracy. It involves a deep understanding of the opposing team’s return game and the ability to execute a punt that maximizes field position while minimizing the returner’s opportunities for a significant gain. A good punter can consistently place the ball in the desired location, making it difficult for the returner to find open space or gain substantial yardage.

Ability to pin opponents deep

One of the most valuable qualities of a good punter is their ability to pin opponents deep in their own territory. When a team is backed up against their own goal line, they have limited options and are more prone to mistakes or turnovers. A skilled punter knows how to exploit this situation by delivering punts that prevent the opposing team from advancing the ball far up the field.

By aiming for the corners or sidelines, a good punter can effectively limit the returner’s options and increase the chances of the opposing team starting their offensive drive deep in their own territory. This puts immense pressure on the opposing offense and provides a significant advantage for the punting team.

In conclusion, a good punter possesses a combination of skills and qualities that contribute to their effectiveness on the field. From achieving impressive hang time and distance to executing directional punts and pinning opponents deep, these abilities greatly impact a team’s overall performance. A skilled punter can significantly influence field position, limit return opportunities, and create advantageous situations for their team.

Scouting and Evaluating Specialists

When it comes to building a winning football team, having reliable and skilled specialists such as kickers and punters is crucial. These players possess unique talents and play a vital role in determining the outcome of a game. However, finding the best specialists requires a thorough scouting and evaluation process. In this article, we will explore the key aspects to consider when assessing kickers and punters.

Technical aspects to look for

When evaluating kickers and punters, it is essential to analyze their technical abilities. Here are some key factors to consider:

  • Accuracy: Assessing the accuracy of a kicker’s field goal attempts or a punter’s ability to consistently place the ball within the opponent’s territory is crucial. Look for a high success rate and precision in their kicks.

  • Distance: Another important aspect is the ability to kick or punt the ball a significant distance. A strong leg can make a difference in crucial situations, allowing the team to score more points or gain field position advantage.

  • Hang Time: For punters, hang time is vital as it provides the coverage team with ample time to reach the returner, limiting their ability to gain yards. Look for punters who can consistently achieve a good hang time on their punts.

  • Technique: Evaluate the kicking or punting technique of specialists. A smooth and consistent motion can lead to more accurate and powerful kicks. Pay attention to their footwork, follow-through, and body positioning.

Reviewing stats and performance

To gain deeper insights into a kicker or punter’s abilities, it is crucial to review their stats and performance. Here are some statistical measures to consider:

  • Field Goal Percentage: Analyzing the success rate of a kicker’s field goal attempts provides a clear indication of their accuracy and reliability.

  • Punting Average: Reviewing a punter’s average distance per punt helps gauge their ability to flip field position. A higher average indicates a stronger leg and better performance.

  • Net Punting Average: This metric takes into account the return yardage allowed by the coverage team. A higher net punting average suggests effective punting and solid coverage.

  • Longest Made Field Goal: Taking note of the longest successful field goal a kicker has made gives an idea of their range and ability to convert in critical situations.

Assessing mental toughness

Apart from technical skills, mental toughness plays a significant role in the success of kickers and punters. Here are some factors to consider when evaluating their mental strength:

  • Pressure situations: Assess how kickers and punters perform under pressure, especially in critical game moments. Look for composure, confidence, and the ability to deliver consistent results.

  • Ability to bounce back: It is important to evaluate how kickers and punters handle mistakes or missed opportunities. The ability to quickly recover mentally and maintain focus is crucial in high-pressure situations.

  • Consistency: Consistency is a key attribute of mentally tough specialists. Evaluate their performance over multiple games to determine if they can consistently deliver under various circumstances.

By thoroughly analyzing the technical aspects, reviewing stats and performance, and assessing mental toughness, you can effectively scout and evaluate kickers and punters to find the best specialists for your football team. Remember, a reliable and skilled specialist can be the difference between winning and losing crucial games.

Training and Development

Working on technique and form

To become a successful kicker or punter, it is crucial to work on technique and form. This involves mastering the proper mechanics of kicking or punting to ensure accuracy and distance. Specialists should devote time to perfecting their approach, foot placement, and follow-through.

One effective way to improve technique is by seeking guidance from experienced coaches or former specialists. They can provide valuable insights and correct any flaws in form. Additionally, attending specialized camps or training programs dedicated to kicking and punting can offer invaluable opportunities for skill enhancement.

Building leg strength and flexibility

A strong and flexible leg is essential for kickers and punters as it directly impacts their power and range. To build leg strength, specialists should incorporate weightlifting exercises such as squats, lunges, and calf raises into their training regimen. These exercises help in developing the necessary muscle groups required for explosive kicks and punts.

Furthermore, flexibility plays a significant role in a specialist’s ability to achieve optimal leg extension and follow-through. Stretching exercises targeting the hip flexors, hamstrings, and quadriceps can greatly enhance flexibility. Yoga and Pilates are also excellent practices for improving overall flexibility, balance, and core strength.

Mental preparation and focus

While physical attributes are crucial, mental preparation and focus are equally important for kickers and punters. The pressure of high-stakes situations requires mental resilience and the ability to stay focused amidst distractions. Developing mental toughness can be achieved through various techniques.

Visualization exercises assist in mentally rehearsing successful kicks or punts, helping specialists gain confidence and reduce anxiety. Setting specific goals and maintaining a positive mindset are also essential in building mental strength. Techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and mindfulness can aid in sharpening focus and improving concentration during critical game moments.

By dedicating time and effort to training and development, kickers and punters can enhance their technique, build leg strength, and develop the mental fortitude necessary for success in their specialized positions.

Importance of Special Teams Coaching

Special teams play a crucial role in the outcome of a football game, and having skilled kickers and punters can greatly impact a team’s success. That’s why it’s important to invest in specialized coaching for these positions.

Finding specialized coaches

To ensure that kickers and punters receive the best coaching possible, it is essential to find specialized coaches who have experience and expertise in these positions. These coaches should have a deep understanding of the mechanics, techniques, and strategies specific to kicking and punting.

When searching for specialized coaches, it is important to consider their track record and success in developing kickers and punters. Look for coaches who have a proven track record of producing skilled specialists and have a reputation for their ability to maximize the potential of their players.

Developing a comprehensive training program

Once specialized coaches are in place, it is crucial to develop a comprehensive training program that caters to the unique needs of kickers and punters. This program should focus on honing their skills, improving their technique, and enhancing their overall performance.

A good training program should include a mix of strength and conditioning exercises, technical drills, and simulated game scenarios. It should also incorporate mental training to help kickers and punters stay focused and confident under pressure.

By providing a structured and targeted training program, coaches can help kickers and punters develop their skills and reach their full potential.

Providing ongoing support and feedback

Coaching doesn’t end with the development of a training program. To ensure continuous improvement, it is important to provide ongoing support and feedback to kickers and punters.

Coaches should regularly evaluate their players’ performances and provide constructive feedback. This feedback should be specific, highlighting areas of strength and areas that need improvement. By providing feedback, coaches can help kickers and punters make necessary adjustments and refine their skills.

Additionally, coaches should provide support and guidance to help kickers and punters overcome challenges and obstacles. This includes addressing any technical or mental issues that may arise and providing resources and strategies to help them overcome these challenges.

By offering ongoing support and feedback, coaches can help kickers and punters continue to grow and excel in their roles.

In conclusion, specialized coaching for kickers and punters is of utmost importance in football. By finding specialized coaches, developing a comprehensive training program, and providing ongoing support and feedback, teams can ensure that their specialists are well-prepared and equipped to make a significant impact on the game.

In conclusion, finding the best kickers and punters is crucial for any football team looking to excel. By understanding the unique skills and techniques required in these specialist positions, teams can ensure they have a strong and reliable special teams unit. Evaluating players based on their accuracy, distance, and consistency can help identify the most talented kickers and punters. Additionally, considering factors such as game situations and weather conditions can further enhance the selection process. Ultimately, investing time and effort into finding top-notch specialists can greatly contribute to a team’s success on the field.