Field Punts are the most common type of punt you’ll be hitting. The goal is to hit the ball as high and far as possible. Field position is the reason punters are on the team, while high net yardage is preferred; out-kicking your coverage never helps. Let’s say, you have a great punt team, and your gunners run a 4.5 second 40-yard dash. If you punt the ball 50 yards, you must give them enough time to get down the field to make the tackle. I hold myself to 4.7 second hang time and 42 yards to ensure my coverage team can get downfield. The standard for NFL Field Punts is 4.6 seconds hang time with a distance of 41 yards or better.
What I have found to produce the best results with Field Punts is holding the ball with the nose slightly down. When punting, I’ve always dropped the ball from hip height so as to match where my leg locks out on the ball. This is where practicing drop drills produces muscle memory. Upon receiving the snap, place the ball in front of you at hip height (aka Drop Table), begin your steps holding the ball at this level until you hit your plant step. Once the ball leaves your hands, it’s up to the timing and rhythm of your big foot to take care of the rest.
I can’t tell you how many drop drills I’ve done over the last 10 years and to be honest, I still hate them. Unfortunately, attention to detail is what I preach and practicing good habits will set you apart. Spending 15 minutes inside your room working your steps and drop drills won’t be a waste of time. It’s not possible to obtain consistency if you are practicing drop drills once a week. By keeping your body and mind acclimated with your footwork, drop drills and swings, you will continue to see the improvements you want.
* When you practice field punts, set up cones in five-yard increments starting at 30 yards away from the line of scrimmage. At the 40-yard cone, place a cone seven yards on either side. This is called the T-Drill and your goal is to hit the ball 40 yards and straight down the field inside the T.