What Is a Punt In Football? Complete Guide

By vIQtory

Punting in football is quite common. Teams will often punt when they need to change field positions to give their defense a chance to stop the other team. A punter is one of the most critical positions in football.

A punt in football is when the kicker holds the ball with 2 hands, and punts the ball right before it hits the ground. Football teams will punt the ball to the other team in order to change the field position.

This article will show you why punting is essential and why you should not overlook the punter.

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Punting In Football

An effective punter is an asset to the team, but it also affects the game’s outcome. A punter is so effective that they help the offense by flipping the field position on the opposing team.

Teams in the NFL, College, and even high school will typically have one person they’re going to designate as their punter. This person is responsible for kicking the ball as high and as far as possible in the air.

Below is an example of how to punt a ball properly.

The average punt in the NFL is 45 yards. That means that when a team lines up to punt the football, the field position will automatically change by 45 yards if there’s no return.

This is important because the closest to the endzone team has a better opportunity to score points. Teams that start their drive farther away from the end zones have a slight chance and opportunity to score points.

Field goal kickers are typically accurate, kicking from 45 yards. The punter is effective because it allows teams to not get in field goal range or touchdown range.

Keeping the opponents out of field goal range and out of the end zone for a touchdown is the main focus for the punter.

Why Teams Punt Instead Of Going For It On 4th Down

Field position. Teams will choose to kick the ball solely because of field position, even on 4th and 1.

For example, if the team has the ball at the 50-yard line and is 4th and 1, they may choose to punt it rather than go for it.

The reasoning is that they can punt the football and pin the other team in their zone. From here, they can play defense in hopes of keeping the opponents pinned in their zone.

Keeping the ball on their half of the field will often help the offense score points if it can get the ball in the opponents’ territory.

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Can You Punt On Any Down?

Yes. Although it’s common to punt on 4th down, teams may elect to punt on any down if they choose.

The reason teams choose to punt on 4th down is that 4th down is the last chance the offense has to get 10 yards or turn the ball over to the other team.

It’s beneficial to punt the football to the other team on 4th down if you’re not in the opponent’s territory. From here, you’ll gain field position and allow your defense to get a turnover or force the other team to punt the ball back to you.

Types Of Punts

To date, two main types of punts are common in football. The traditional punt is featured in every football game with a special team punting play.

This requires the player to drop the football straight down as they swing their leg upward, hoping to kick it as high and as far as possible.

The second type of punt is the rugby punt. This requires the kicker to start running as if they are faking the punt and kicking the football.

The rugby punt is common for teams that want to get speedy players down the field to cover the punt. This punt requires a kicker who can run and kick the ball simultaneously. It takes a special talent to kick a rugby punt effectively.

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More special teams articles to help you learn:

Onside Kick In Football: Everything You Need To Know

How To Install A Kick Return Team

Assembling An Effective Punt Team

The Fair Catch Rule Explained

Why Do Players Take A Knee On Kickoff?

Fair Catch On a Kickoff Explained

Punting in football is one of the most important special teams throughout a game. A good punter can flip the field position and force the offense to drive the field’s length to score points.

However, a poor punter can give the opposing offense a shorter distance toward the end zone and field goal posts. When an opponent gets closer to your end, there’s a higher probability that they will score points.

Special teams are one-third of the game. Many fans and even players think that a good offense and a good defense win football games. While this is true in some parts, having an effective kicking and punting game allows teams to determine field position.

Poor field position can often lead to points for the other team, no matter how good your defense is.

If you’re a player or a coach, take pride in your special teams and reinforce how important special teams are. Teams that stress the importance of special teams will often win the third of the game that other teams often overlook.

About the author

Chris Haddad is the founder of vIQtory Sports. Chris has coached football for 12+ years and continues to coach at the high school level. He continues to study and provide valuable content for those looking to learn more about this wonderful game of football.