Post by Coach Campbell on Apr 24, 2018 4:24:33 GMT
Special Teams Introduction
Coaches always refer to special teams as one-third of the game, but in reality, only 20 to 30 plays involve special teams play. That is about 20% of the game! However, special teams play is an integral part of every football game because each play either involves a scoring opportunity or a field position change. Each week games are won or lost because of blocked kicks, big returns, missed extra points, or some other aspect of special teams play.
As a coach, we are responsible for the “how to” and the players are responsible for the “want to”. But, the way we coach the “how to” sends an important message that impacts the players “want to”. Staff assignments become a key indicator to your players about the importance of special teams. Every coach, including coordinators must have special teams’ responsibilities, but the head coach should be responsible for special teams, and have a passion for it. It will rub off on the players and your coaches.
Critical Keys to Successful Special Teams Play •Emphasize special teams play – every coach has special teams' responsibility •Personnel selection – good players must play •Be efficient with time – coaches sit with players, always talking football •Special teams circuit – use it to keep the entire team involved
Special Teams Play
The greatest amounts of field position change occur during special teams play. This becomes relevant when you realize that the farther your opponent must travel to score, the greater chance your defense has of stopping them.
The most consistent way to gain the field position advantage is to be good in special teams play. Big plays usually happen when a team or player is unprepared for a situation. On the other hand, when a team is properly prepared, they have put themselves in position to create or capitalize on a break. Therefore understanding the scope of the kicking and return games and making them a priority are the foundation to solid special teams play.
Special Teams Philosophy
Our football program philosophy is based upon “controlling the football” and “controlling field position”. Simply put, when we have the football, we want to keep it until we score, and when we don’t have the football we want to get it back. Special teams play is no different – error free execution will yield terrific results. As such, we must have sound special teams that create positive sudden changes. We define sudden changes, whether positive or negative as loss of possession (turnovers) or scores, whether by touchdown, field goal or safety.
We use an aggressive, physical approach to special teams play, yet require a high standard of execution from the players. This requires our coaches to use practice time efficiently preparing the players for every potential situation that may occur on game night. When the players are prepared, they can perform allowing the team to win the “hidden yardage”. The hidden yardage is the yardage gained by our kickoff and punt returns less the yardage gained by our opponent’s kickoff and punt returns.
Special Teams Plan
We believe that special teams are no different from the offensive or defensive side of the ball – detailed and prepared. The approach includes: •Use the best personnel; •All coaches must have a stake in special teams; •Use practice time efficiently; and •Win the battle of field position.
Win the Battle of Field Position on Special Teams
All of our special teams, whether it’s a kick or return team, are “attack-oriented”. We are looking to break games open, score touchdowns, force turnovers, give the offense and defense good field position. We believe that our schemes must be efficient for our players in terms of design, practice and execution, yet a burden to our opponents. As such, we are not going to line-up and execute the same schemes week after week. The teaching progression is a building block approach. This keeps it simple for our players, yet complex for our opponent. Our schemes are designed to create some confusion and doubt as to what to expect.
Use the Best Personnel on Special Teams
Special-teams play requires exceptional athletes. As such, each coach must work at identifying players with unique talents such as the ability to catch punts, sure hands for holders, confidence for kickers, etc. The players must be athletic, with great hand-eye coordination, and an incredible desire to compete. Balance, agility and speed with the ability to play in space are qualities of a player that can contribute to special teams play. However, the most important characteristic is unselfishness – one heart beat with team.
The better the athletes you have on your special teams, the better your special teams will be. For example, average players with a great scheme will yield average special team results, but good players with an average scheme will yield good results. However, good players with good schemes will yield great results. An athlete is a player that knows what to do and how to do it. Put as many of those types of players as you can on your special teams.
All Coaches Have a Stake on Special Teams
Staff assignments become a key indicator to your players about the importance of special teams. To reinforce the importance of special teams, every coach, including coordinators must have special teams’ responsibilities; the head coach being responsible should have a passion for it. It will rub off on the players and the coaches.
We have a coach assigned to work with punters and kickers each day. We will work our special teams into our practice schedule. If it is as important as offense and defense, then it needs to be part of practice, not an after thought. We do not ask our players to come early or stay late to work on specialties, however many will elect to work on their skills, individually or with a coach, if they did not get enough repetitions during practice.
Use Practice Time Efficiently on Special Teams
Our special teams practice time always includes fundamentals, skills and team. The fundamental period include, (1) blocking, (2) tackling, and (3) turnovers. We typically work on these as part of a special teams’ circuit, in which every player participates, including our kickers. The skills segment includes all of our group work and may be in the form of a circuit or specific skill period. Our team period is typically the shortest period and it always builds from the skills segment to our team session.
Finally, as part of the design of the special teams’ schemes, we always plan to have back-up players. Do not just list players name to fill in a depth chart! The back-up players must get enough repetitions to not only know their assignments, but be contributors on game night if called upon. The outcome of the game may depend on one of those back-up players.
Typical Saturday Schedule •Coaches Meeting (Includes Special Teams) •Team Meeting (Includes Special Teams) •Films (Includes Special Teams)
Typical Sunday Schedule •Coaches Report (1:30pm)
– Coaches Meeting
• Discuss Previous Game
• Discuss Current Opponent
• Discuss Personnel
• Discuss Weekly Practice Schedule
• Discuss Monday Practice Schedule
– Develop Game Plans
• Personnel, Offensive, Defensive, & Special Teams
– Prepare All Scouting Reports
• Must Be Ready to Hand Out Monday at Lunch •Bulletin Boards & Motivational Information
• Must Be Ready by Monday Morning
Kickoff Coverage Goals •Kick each deep ball inside the 5-yard line •Tackle opponent inside the 20-yard line •Average / start inside the 23 yard line •Average less than 18 yards / return •Out cover our opponent (average start line)
Kickoff Return Goals •Field and handle all kicks correctly •Average / start beyond the 30 yard line •Average 23 yards / return •Out return our opponent (average / return)
Punt Pressure/Return Goals •Field and handle all punts correctly •Average 35 yards net or 10 yards per return •Out return our opponent (average / return) •Force a bad snap or shanked punt •Stop all fake punts 6. Block a punt
Punt Coverage Goals •Get all punts off cleanly •Net punt average 39 yards •Average 3 return yards or less per punt •Out net punt our opponent (average / punt) •Down the football inside the 10-yard line
Field Goal / PAT Goals •Get all kicks off cleanly •Make 100% PAT •Make 100% FG within 35 yards
FG / PAT Block Goals •100% effort by 11 players •Block a kick •Stop all fakes •Force a bad snap or kick
Overall Special Team Goals •Exact communication •Avoid any penalties •No turnovers •Score or set up a score •No big plays versus our special teams •Succeed on fakes and onside kicks •Recover a fumble