Special teams -- players who are on the field during situations like kickoffs, punts, field goals and extra point attempts -- don't always get a lot of attention in youth football. However, kicking off, punting and punt returning are situations you will likely face in each and every game. Therefore, it's a good idea to make sure these situations aren't consistently ones in which you are at a disadvantage. Focusing on the strength of your special teams will ensure success in these scenarios.
You will want to identify those players that will be your kickers, punters and punt returners so that you can focus on developing their skills early on. Make sure that these players get to practice their punts, kickoffs, field goals and extra points at every practice.
You may also find that your league has specific rules for special teams. Often, special teams' skills are relatively undeveloped in young players. Modified kickoff rules and modified punting rules are sometimes used at various grade or age levels to increase player safety. These tend to regulate contact between players during these plays. For example, in some age groups, rushing the punter is not allowed [source: DCAYFL].
For more information on coaching youth sports, check out the links on the following page.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- American Sport Education Program. Coaching Youth Football. Human Kinetics, 2005, p. 8
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