Field Goal Operation Clutch For 4 NFL Teams
How many of the four NFL playoff games came down to the field goal operation this past weekend? Yes, unless you live join a cave, you know the answer is four. There is a lot being made by the offenses that gave these four teams a chance. However, it was noticeable how the head coaches respected the 3 points more once they got in playoff football. Don’t forget that San Francisco did not score an offensive touchdown…and won. So lets devote a little time to the mechanics of the snap-hold & kick. This is a previous blog by Guest Coach Taylor Mehlhaff.
A field goal operation starts with the snapper. The snapper has a direct impact on the holder, who has a direct impact on the kicker. You guys are a unit and you are only as good as your weakest link. It is very important that this unit works to get as much practice time together as possible.
The goal of your snapper is to give your holder a catchable ball with good speed and location. This location is typically over the spot where the holder will place the ball. Depending on the skill level of the snapper, it is also very beneficial for the snapper to give your holder “perfect laces”.
This means that when the holder catches the ball, the laces of the ball are already facing away from the kicker and towards the uprights. There are 3 aspects to achieving “perfect laces”:
1. The snapper must snap the ball with the same speed on every snap.
2. The snapper needs to hit the same location on every snap.
3. The snap must travel the same distance on every snap.
This occurs between 7 & 8 yards depending on the skill level. This ensures that the ball will have the exact same number of revolutions on each snap. It is the holder’s job to make sure the kicker spots the ball at that same distance on every kick. If you can find “perfect laces”, this makes the holder’s job very easy, and as a result, makes the kicker’s job easier.
If you are a kicker, be sure to communicate very precisely how you would like your holder to hold the ball for you. Although some kickers prefer the ball tilted slightly away from them, I prefer the ball nearly straight up and down with the ball leaning just slightly forward. This helps to expose the sweet spot of the ball.
This entire field goal operation should take place in roughly 1.30 seconds. An operation slower than this runs the risk of getting blocked by the opposing team. A good aiming point for when the kicker should begin his approach is when the holder lifts his hand from the “spot” given by the kicker, to receive the ball from the snapper. If you put in the work during practice as a unit, you will be rewarded come game time!