What Is A Punt In American Football

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

A punt in American football is when the offense punts, or kicks the ball to the other team in order to change the field position.

In this article we’re going to show you why punting is important and why you should not overlook the punter.

Punting In American Football

Having an effective punter is not only an asset to the team, but it also affects the outcome of the game. The reason a punter is so effective is that they help the offense with flipping the field position on the opposing team.

Teams in the NFL, College, and even high school will typically have one person who 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 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 team that’s closest to the endzone, has a better opportunity to score points. Teams that start their drive farther away from the end zones have a small 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, even on 4th and 1 solely because of field position.

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

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

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

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 they 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.

What Types Of Punts Are There?

To date, there are two main types of punts that are common in football. There is the traditional punt, which is featured in pretty much every football game that has a special teams 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 then kicking the football.

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


Punting in American 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 length of the field in order to score points.

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

Special teams are one-third of the game. Often times fans and even players think that a good offense and a good defense is what wins football games. While this is true in some parts, having an effective kicking and punting game allow 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.

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