Coach’s Corner

SPECIAL TEAMS by Rich Stora

Many people either forget or just don’t know how essential special teams are to a team’s success. One out of every five plays in a football game is a special teams play. Offense and defense constitute the foundation of a football team but special teams bring it to the next level. Aside from the physical importance special teams play in a game, they also have a tremendous psychological importance. A single play on special teams can swing momentum to one team or another. A blocked kick, fumble recovery, or a good kick/punt return are morale killers for the players, coaches, and fans.

The first rule of special teams is to go all out all the time. Some players feel that a punt, kickoff, or field goal is a play during which they can rest. Nothing can be further from the truth. This is the time to pick it up. Players must sprint down the field on kickoffs and punts. They can leave the opposing team in poor field position, or better yet, force a turnoverdeep in the enemy’s territory.

The second imperative for special teams success is teamwork. It only takes one defensive player to make a tackle. A quarterback or running backcan carry an offense. A special teams unit, however, must all work together and be on the same page. A punter cannot punt and a returner cannot run without blocking.

The last rule for special teams is one that I hold myself to – keep it simple. There is no need to run reverses or complex blocking schemes onspecial teams. Players already have to study their offensive or defensive play books. Special teams is a time when you should flat out beat youropponent with superior technique and desire.

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