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This kickoff has 5 lane defenders on the left, 5 lane defenders on the right and a kicker. You also have the option of kicking the ball from the middle of the field or from the hash masks, it’s your preference. All defenders on the right & left sides must be disciplined; staying in their lane assignments. The kids must come off the blocks of the return team while still staying in their lanes. The last defender on the right and the last defender on the left must play contain (defenders closest to the side lines). The contain players must hold outside leverage at all times, not allowing anyone to get outside them. Contain players must always stay home in case of reverse or trickery plays. The kicker will hang back and be the safety in case the returner breaks the kickoff lanes or containment. Need more information? Get the special teams playbook!
Kickoff Return Middle
The idea of a kickoff return is give your offense positive yards or superb field position. The 5-3-3 kick return set up will allow you to do so. The 5-3-3 return allows coverage of all areas of the field. When you cover all areas of the field you can receive or cover the ball no matter where it is kicked. This allows you to return the kick off from any area of the field. Return middle is a solid return for the fact that special team coaches on the youth football level will put their best players on the edge of the kickoff to defend the outside, which allows you to attack the weaker defenders in the middle part of the field. Once the kick is off the front and middle lines run back to the middle of the field and create a wall. Keep in mind, your front line must not run back to form the wall until the kick is over their heads, they have to watch for the onside kick and jump on the ball.
Having an excellent punt team is a key aspect of winning the field position battle. Being able to punt the ball with good direction and distance is essential for preventing your opponent from having good starting field position. This is a tight punt formation (max protection) to help defend the rushers from blocking the punt. There are 3 blocking backs behind the line of scrimmage, the two outside blocking backs will have wide bases and will have to step up and inside to secure the C gap. If the punt is going to be blocked it will be through the C-B Gaps, so you must secure those gaps! There is also the Quarterback blocking back which will be in the middle to defend inside B gap on punters kicking foot side. The QB of the punt team will call the cadence and only when the ball boots off the kickers foot will he say Go! Go! Go! (So punt team knows when to stop blocking and get down the field to cover the punt) & he will say the direction of the punt……. Right! Right! Right! or Middle! Middle! Middle! or Left! Left! Left! It is also imperative that when the QB yells Go! The punt coverage team will fan out into their lanes to cover the whole field (like a Kickoff) because the returner will most likely go outside with it. The QB will be the right Safety and the Punter will be left Safety.
Punt Return Right
Having a tremendous punt return can give your team a boost or completely change the outcome of the game. If you provide your offense with good field position with each return you will win the field position battle, which will help accomplish victory. This is a 6-4-1 punt return Right. Punt return right is a solid punt return given that youth football coaches tend to overlook punt coverage and to fan out into lanes. The 6 defensive linemen rush the punter while staying in their gaps to defend against a fake and to stay locked with outside leverage on the o-line. The back 4 run to the right hash and form a wall sealing the punt coverage from the outside. The punt returner has to be fast in getting to the right outside of the field. If executed properly this play can go for big chunks of yardage & or a touchdown.