What is a Kickoff in Football : A Detailed Guide

A thrilling game always begins with the first kickoff in football for fans of American football. They witness the dual excitement of one team trying to stop the other while assisting its returner to dash through, over, and past eleven players on the kicking team who are moving at a breakneck pace. (Well, ten players, to be precise). Normally, the kicker waits at the 50-yard line in the hopes that he won’t have to make the tackle and by halting the returner within his own 20-yard line, the kicking unit hopes to make a statement. Every level of football, from peewee to college to the NFL, uses this as the object.

Note:The captain who properly predicts the flipping of the referee’s coin determines whether his side will receive or defend a specific goal at the coin toss, which takes place when leaders from both sides meet the judge in the centre of the field. Because they desire the ball for their attack, the majority of teams want to receive the kickoff in football.

Deciding Either to Recieve or to Kick

A team may occasionally waive its right to kick off by allowing its opponent to receive after winning the coin toss :

  • The defensive coordinator may feel that his team’s defence is superior to the offence of the rival team and wish to stall the offence deeper in its own zone, induce a turnover, or force it to punt after three turnovers.
  • Weather-related issues could make it more difficult for the players to cleanly field the kick, and certain kickers can struggle to get far enough into a strong wind.

Making Preparations for the Kickoff in Football 

In order to support the ball during kickoffs, NFL and college kickers are permitted to utilise a 1-inch tee. Kickers in high school are allowed to utilise 2-inch tees. Although the kicker can use the tee to angle the ball in whatever way he likes, most kickers choose to have the football sit in the tee at a 75-degree inclination as opposed to perpendicular to the ground.

The kickoff team is positioned as follows :

Each side of the kicker has five players. About 8 yards from the spot in which the ball is positioned on the shooting tee, these ten guys position up in a straight line.

When kicking in the soccer style, the kicker lines up 7 yards back and to the side (to the left if he kicks with his right foot, or vice versa).

The ten players advance in tandem as the kicker steps forward to kick the ball, trying to be in full sprint when the shooter makes contact with the football.

Tip:The ball sometimes falls off the tee during certain games because of heavy gusts. In similar circumstances, a teammate stabilises the ball for the kicker by putting his pointer finger on the ball’s surface and exerting the appropriate downward pressure to maintain its stability.

Correct Form of Kicking the Ball

The moment special teams are ready to play and set up, it’s time to kick the ball :

The kicker moves toward the ball as soon as the referee blows his whistle.

In order to attain the right loft and distance, he wants to hit the ball firmly in the lower quarter.

The kicker’s ten companions are permitted to cross the line of scrimmage and go downfield to cover the attempt as immediately as his foot touches the ball. In essence, they seek to attack the player who receives the ball and tries to return it to the team that is kicking.

The perfect kickoff is 70 yards long and lingers throughout the air for more than 4.5 seconds. In order to tackle the return guy closer to his own end zone, it is crucial to maximise hang time (the amount of time the football is in the air). This is done by having players on the kicking team run down the field to cover the kick.

For a number of reasons, the goal of the kicking team is to land the ball as near as possible to its opponent’s end zone during a kickoff :

  • It is preferable for your rival to have to move the football 99 yards rather than, say, 60 yards in order to score a touchdown.
  • Your defence will have a better chance of achieving a point if it recovers a mistake or intercepts an errant throw if you can maintain the ball closer to your opponent’s end zone.
  • A team might anticipate giving its offence better field position when it gets a punt by trapping the rival deep in its own zone and potentially forcing a punt.

Tip:Kickers may aim to direct the football to a particular side of the pitch (a technique known as directed kicking) to encourage the returning man to field the kick in order to prevent the return specialist from gaining many return yards. The defence can pin the returner against the sidelines in this circumstance and drive him out of bounds because he is frequently constrained.

Graphical Representation 

This diagram depicts a typical kickoff configuration for directional kicking. The kicker redirects the ball to the left rather than kicking it down the centre of the field as usual.

When playing against a team with just one kick returner on the line, this approach is optimal. The returner is forced to go sideways and keep his eyes off the ball by the directional kick. The goal of the kicking team is to concentrate its coverage on one side of the field where it expects to have more defensive players than blockers on the return team.


So here you can see kickoff in football is important for both the attackers and the defenders.Kickoffs are now an effective way to give an early reward to your teammates.I’ve given all details about kickoff in American football it’s importance, how it works etc. If you’ve any queries about it, comment bellow.

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