17 Keys To Winning Special Teams

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Playing winning football is about field position. Special teams is all about field position. The hidden yardage gained or lost during these moments either reduces or increases your chances of scoring. The following diagram illustrates a team’s chances of scoring and percentages for success based on the offense’s starting position.

Special Teams

We know that if we reach our goals, the field-position battle will be in our favor.

Our special teams keys include:

1. Win the special teams game (team by team).

2. Win the drive-start average.

3. No blocked kicks.

4. No penalties in the kicking game.

5. Dominate their best special teams player.

6. Limit opponents punt-return average to 6 yards or less.

7. Seek net punting average of 40 yards or more (win the punting game).

8. On kickoff return, pin opponent inside the 20-yard line (drive start average).

9. Average at least 10 yards on punt return.

10. Have at least one punt return of 15 yards or more.

11. Average 30 yards on kickoff return.

12. Get at least one kickoff return to the 40-yard line or greater.

13. Make at least three “Big Plays” on special teams.

  • Block a punt.
  • Force and recover a fumble.
  • Kick coverage tackle inside the 20-yard line.
  • Punt coverage tackle 3-yard and less.
  • Punt coverage tackle inside our opponents’ 20-yard line.
  • Down a punt inside our opponent’s 10-yard line.
  • Recover an on-side kickoff (ours or theirs).
  • Score a touchdown.
  • Execute a “Fake” or “Defend a Fake.”

14. Allow no “Big Plays” by opponents.

15. Outscore opponents in kicking game.

16. Never allow your opponent to score.

This article was written by Willie Bennett, former special teams coordinator, Saint Augustine’s College. Coach Bennett has also coached for Alabama A&M, North Carolina A&T, and the D.C. Divas. For more articles on special teams, visit our archives.

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