Put the "Special" in Special Teams by Being Unconventional
with Lew Johnston,
Western Branch HS (VA) Football Consultant/Assistant Coach (former Head Coach),
5x District Champions, 4x District "Coach of the Year";
former Nansemond-Suffolk HS (VA) Head Coach; 2015 VISAA Division III State Champions
In any evenly matched game, more often than not, a game can be won or lost on special teams.
In this comprehensive video, Coach Lew Johnston diagrams his unique perspectives on the kicking game that will give your team the advantage. He breaks down every crucial element that makes up special teams play, including kick-offs, kick-off returns, onside kicks, punt coverage, punt returns, & PAT/field goals.
Johnston details the personnel requirements for each team and diagrams all kick coverage schemes without great kickers. He also explains how he would adjust his schemes to take advantage of a talented kicker. You'll get detailed discussion and game footage that cover positional techniques, common mistakes to avoid, in-play communication systems, trick plays, a motivational sticker program, and specific goals for each phase. All of these tips will help you win games by increasing your special teams' effectiveness.
Learn how to strike uncertainty into your opponents with sporadic and unpredictable kick-off coverage. Johnston demonstrates how the kickoff coverage team can be a strength even without a great kicker by ball placement and personnel. He covers six different kickoffs from his system, including his "pop-up" kick in which the kicker kicks the ball high and into the sideline. This allows the kickoff coverage team time to contest the return before the other team has a chance to return the ball. Johnston also diagrams the middle "squib" kick and onside kicks that he has used with great success over the years.
Discover a "hybrid" return that blends cross-blocking and wedge returns that's simple to teach and execute, but difficult for the kickoff coverage team to cover. Johnston breaks down:
- Which personnel to use at each position to ensure good starting field position for your offense.
- The correct blocking techniques for your front line and wedge players so they can execute their blocking assignments.
- The correct distance between the returners and your wedge blockers and a communication system to increase the likelihood for a successful return.
- Drills that will keep your kickoff return team focused and ready for surprise kicks or onside attempts.
Kickoff return is your first offensive play, and by keeping alignments & assignments simple, your return team will produce good returns and gain better field position consistently.
Shield Punt Coverage
Being a student of the game, Johnston teaches you his team's version of the "shield" punt and their punt return scheme. He describes rules and techniques used by each player on the punt team, including the punter, to ensure that the kick doesn't get blocked. He also shows how to adapt the shield punt scheme to short yardage situations to ensure your punter has enough time to kick the ball away. You'll learn the coverage responsibilities of each member of the punt team, as well as personnel considerations at each position.
Additionally, Johnston also diagrams four fake punt plays (two run plays, two pass plays) that will allow you to attack any weakness in your opponent's defense and keep them on their heels.
Implement a punt return that has the components of a block side, wall side and potential reverse return. Johnston goes into detail describing individual techniques for each position, including the returners, as well as coaching points for blocking kicks.
Field Goal and PAT Scheme
Learn Johnston's unconventional philosophy for PAT and field goal block schemes to increase chances for big plays and keep the pressure on opposing teams.
- Learn why Johnston advocates for going for two-point conversions after the first two scores.
- Learn the correct path for players to take in order to block field goal/PAT attempts.
- Learn how to attack field goal/PAT blocking schemes from both the inside and outside of the formation.
Don't miss out on the ultimate 'special teams toolbox!' This video alone can be your 'special teams coordinator' this season. Learn how to prepare your special teams to be unconventional so your opponent must use extra time to prepare!
160 minutes. 2017.