Realistically, there are three reasons for directional punts:
- Devin Hester is returning the punt
- You are pinning your opponent inside the 10-yard line
- Bad punt coverage team
Practicing your footwork becomes critical with Directional/Coffin Corner Punts. Setting up cones to help guide your steps towards your target is the most efficient way for beginners to learn and experts to refine their accuracy. The two most important things with these punts are having a target, and making sure your steps go towards it. With right-footed punters, the ball will naturally fade to the right so you have to adjust your targets accordingly by aiming inside. For example, if you want to drop the ball out of bounds inside the 10-yard line, your steps will not be towards the sideline rather you should be aiming just inside the numbers to account for the ball fading. If you are aiming to pin the ball out of bounds to the left inside the 10-yard line, your aiming point is going to be the 20-yard line, specifically, the sideline. Aiming inside your target will allow you to adjust for the ball to fade back inside. This is where practicing footwork is critical because if your steps are off, so is your alignment with your target.
With Directional Punts, the hang time isn’t as critical because you are aiming to punt the ball out of bounds. For that reason, I suggest dropping the ball from just below hip height, with the nose of the ball slightly down. This will force you to lockout on the ball lower which means you’ll drive the ball farther.
- Dry swings with the ball in hand are perfect for directional targets.