Organizing Your Staff and Special Teams Approach
The information included here is other coaches approach to the kicking game philosophy. Success for Special teams comes with organization and implementation. Committing time for special teams everyday is a must and as a staff, you must stress to your players how important special teams are to the whole. Some coaches use special teams as a chance to get everyone in the game, but understand that same philosophy has lost games. It is a believe that the best players play and special teams is a spot that should be earned not giving, and that is how you might consider putting your special teams together. If a player is going to give us everything they have and show that they want to play then they will earn a spot, and we are a small school so in some cases we have players that play the entire game. Still, players know that if they want to play offense, defense, and special teams then they have to work for and earn the position!
8 Coaches for Special Teams
One approach is to split coaches into 4 offensive and 4 defensive, with offensive coaches working with Punt, Kick Return, and P.A.T/FG. The defensive coaches will work with Punt Return and Kick off.
4 Offensive Coaches
Punt, Kick Return, PAT/FG
Offensive line coach will work with the linemen on footwork, play-calls, holding their block until the ball is punted, and getting to their spots on and taking on blocks during kick return. We also like to run a spread punt which allows us to run an offensive play if we get the opportunity, and our line need to recognize when they can and cant get up field. He will also work on technique during extra points and FG, teaching the line to squeeze down and hold their gap.
Offensive coordinator will put together our punt spread offensive plays as well as our regular punt fakes, and fake P.A.T. or F.G. He will also teach kick return strategies such as such as: Return right/left, Diamond, Ball reversals, and onside techniques. OC will also work with our kick returners.
Receiver coach will work with our receivers on footwork, spacing on spread punt, getting off blocks, and getting to the ball breaking down to make tackles. He will also work with our second level men in kick return making sure they maintain their blocks and understand the different play calls.
Kicking coach will work with punters and kickers. Punters will need to know regular punt, rug bee punt, and placement punt. Kickers will work on placekicking from middle, each hash, and distance.
Punt, Kick Return, PAT/FG
Defensive Line coach will work with the D-Line on footwork, quick hands, and their drops during punt return. He will also teach the punt block scheme and how to get tot the punter and block the ball correctly. During kickoff he will have the right side of the line making sure everyone stays in the lanes and breaks down for the tackle.
LB coach will work with the LBs on their footwork, drop zones, and how to lock up with a man running down the field as well as turn into a blocker once the ball has been caught. On kick off he will have the left side of the line focused on making sure kids stay in their lanes and break down on tackles.
Defensive coordinator will develop the punt return calls and defensive calls. This will include punt block, right/left or middle return. He will also organize the kick off team and teach placement, squib and onside strategies. He will work with the punt returners and making sure the catch the ball correctly and find their lane to get a good return.
DB coach will work with our DBs and the footwork, blocking, and keeping the gunners away from our returners. He will also work with the kickers on kickoff teaching regular, squib, and onside kicks.
4 Defensive Coaches: Punt Return, Kick off
No one on the team is greater then the other. You are not too great for special teams. As a future coach I make sure my team takes pride in playing special teams. These four situational teams are critical to the game, and it can make or break a game. As a whole team I will implement every coach to be responsible for a specific aspect of a special teams unit
Kick off punt
With the kick unit being more of a defensive minded unit, I would have my DB, LB Coaches be the head of the unit. These two coaches specialize in corralling the ball and keep contain of the ball carrier. My DB coach with coach my be in charge of Gunners and Containers. He will teach the players to be able to avoid and shed blockers while keep containment of the call carrier. My LB will be in charge of doing more the same of what the DB coach does but importantly the LB coach will specialize and getting his guys to read where the wedge is forming and being able to create a wedge buster.
This unit will but much like kick off unit but with a couple twist. The gunners and will be coach by the WR coach, he will teach how to get off a press coverage, containment and proper brake down technique so one can not break containment or over run the returner. My OL and LB will coach the Line as this is a multi-dimension positions as the players have block first and then corral the ball carrier. OL coach with teach the kick step and hold technique and the LB will then teach the shed and stack technique.
This unit will comprised of our DL & OL coach DB and WR coach. The DL coach with teach the technique of Shed BOOM ( sound of the ball kicked ) and release. After this the OL coach will take over and teach building the wall for the return. The DB coach will teach our HAWKS how to defend the Gunners. the WR will be in charge of the returner.
I’ve done the kicking game a bunch of different ways over my career, but the one that is the most effective is when the head coach is the kicking game coordinator who handles the install, opponent breakdown, game planning and delegation of duties. When the head coach is in charge of the kicking game, it takes on a special level of importance to the players as well as the staff and thus tends to get executed more effectively.
As far as player personnel goes, you have to use the best athletes in your program. Obviously, you have to use some judgment when it comes to getting kids off the field for some rest, but if you use too many second and third team kids, you run the risk of giving up a big play to your opponent that could cost you a game. In most kicking game plays, the action is spread out over big portions of the field so you need guys who can run and block and tackle in space. There is a place for linemen bodies on PAT/FG and in the shield of a shield punt team, but beyond that, their usefulness is limited.
In terms of time dedication, a general rule we tried to live by was no less than 30 minutes per day in spring, summer and up through at least mid-season. We spent a lot of time teaching specific kicking game skills/techniques to our guys in the spring and then gradually installed schemes over the summer. By the time we got to training camp, all our schemes were installed and we pretty much knew who our personnel was going to be. We continued to teach both skills and scheme throughout the rest of the season, but as we got into late October and early November, we would try to cut out 5 to 10 minutes per day if we were getting solid execution just to keep out guys legs fresh. If not, we kept to the 30 minute rule.
The way our special teams is set up is daily it changes the responsibility is broken down between 5 coaches. Head coach which handles kickoff and kick return he is assisted by Offensive Coordinator. Together the formulate attack plan for upcoming week opponent by looking at alignments and weak spots in special teams that we can exploit. We also have different special teams modules that we do for example my offensive coordinator has drills for our returners where they will field kicks and burst for 30 yards he also helps the centers and field guys on have good spacing relationships to set adequate walls and with our up backs on doing the same and getting consistent communication on which way they want to set the return. My defensive coordinator and assistant d coordinator work on punt and punt return. The run pursuit drills and gunners press release and multiple release drills making sure the gunner is crossing the face of the return player and the rest of the team is covering with our kicker being the last line of defense. Offensive coordinator and head coach work on field goals and extra points while the defensive coordinator and assistant defensive coordinator work on field goal block. Again in these scenarios we have different modules that each player will go and get reps at. Lastly we have a dedicated kicker’s coach who works with our punters, Field goal kickers, and Kickoff kickers on things like hang time, position of squid kicks or pouch punts distance of field goal kicks and also tackling because in many instances they are our last line of defense. I am strong believer that outside of good players special team success is about execution and effort so we put players that enjoy being out on the field and that will give that 110% effort.