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Cover: michigan football series: punt return strategies
Michigan Football Series: Punt Return Strategies

with Chris Partridge,
University of Michigan Safeties Coach/Special Teams Coordinator; 2016 National Recruiter of the Year, 247Sports 2017 National Recruiter of the Year;
former Paramus Catholic High School (NJ) Head Coach; while there, the Partridge-coached program went from a football high school program rank of 4,250th nationally to #4 nationally (USA Today)

Punt returns serve as great opportunities for your special teams unit to flip the field position and get your offense set up for a quick scoring drive. This video featuring University of Michigan Special Teams Coordinator Chris Partridge dishes on everything you need to know to run a more effective punt return scheme.

Hold Up and Blocking Technique

Coach Partridge begins by showing examples of the stance and alignments that he teaches to members of his punt return unit. He then goes into detail, using game footage as well as practice video, about how he teaches the initial hold up technique including footwork, hand placement, and positioning after the initial strike. Partridge also demonstrates how he teaches his players to block the punt coverage players down the field. You'll get several techniques that help players make blocks using proper leverage when they are at a disadvantage without getting a penalty for clipping or targeting.

Coaching Punt Returners

You will see several excellent coaching points on how Coach Partridge coaches punt returners at the University of Michigan. He covers punt fielding techniques, as well as tips for the returner that helps them anticipate the type of ball flight before the punter kicks the ball. Additionally, Partridge goes over the types of ball flight that returners will see and how the returner should prepare to field each type of kick. Finally, Partridge shows examples of when the returner should fair catch a punt and when they should not attempt to field a kick.

Punt return situations can often be taken for granted, but putting more focus on them can help your team out tremendously. With this video featuring Coach Partridge, your team's punt return unit will be a weapon come this fall!

63 minutes. 2019.

Buy at Championship Productions

Cover: put the "special" in special teams by being unconventional
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.

Kick-Off Team

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.

Kick-Off Return

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.

Punt Return

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.

Buy at Championship Productions

Cover: darrell hazell: returning the short kickoff
Darrell Hazell: Returning the Short Kickoff
with Darrell Hazell, Purdue University Head Coach;
former Kent State University Head Coach, 2012 MAC Coach of the Year

A kick return can change momentum within a game in the blink of an eye. Fair catching a sky kick or pooch kick typically establishes the line of scrimmage around the 25 yard line and reduces your chances of scoring. When the ball is returned beyond the 40-yard line, the offense scores 40% of the time (2 out of 5 possessions). Darrell Hazell has designed a kickoff return aimed at maximizing field position when returning sky kicks and pooch kicks. Coach Hazell explains how to run the return and uses multimedia slides and practice footage to break down his simple rules.

Coach Hazell begins with his philosophy of the short kick, which involves timing and spacing for success. The simple rules for this kickoff return system can be easily implemented, and coaches may find it matches many of the man return schemes they use today. You will learn:

  • six simple rules to running a kick return
  • indicators you can steam from your opponent's kick off team to give your return team a clue where the ball is being kicked
  • The important elements of the kick return game by position in order to keep effective timing and spacing
  • Tips and strategies to win your third of the field in order for an effective return, rather than worrying about the whole field
  • a drill he uses to identify players he thinks will have a knack for doing well on special teams
  • how to use a kickoff scrimmage to show your players the impact of great special teams play can have on the outcome of a game

Effective blocking techniques are covered in depth. Coach Hazell discusses four steps associated with great return blocking. The two-step punch drill will help teach your players to effectively initiate and stay on blocks. It focuses on how to use a violent hand strike and maintain leverage on a player once they engage them.

Take this philosophy and key strategies in the kick return game to your team this season. Become more efficient on offense by giving your team a chance to get the ball beyond the 40-yard line each kick return.

Produced at the 2014 Orlando Nike Coach of the Year clinic.

47 minutes. 2014.

Buy at Championship Productions

Cover: al golden:  winning the punt return and kick return
Al Golden: Winning the Punt Return and Kick Return
with Al Golden, University of Miami Head Football Coach

Known for his discipline and commitment to fundamentals, Al Golden develops teams that consistently finish in the Top 10 nationally in the kick return game. In this presentation, he shares the fundamentals of a successful return. Using both practice and game footage, he teaches the techniques used in the right, left and middle returns.

In the return game, Coach Golden teaches a cuff hand that will be on the leverage side of the defender with the off hand on the breastplate, steering him away from the return man. The "Dog Fight Drill" teaches players to widen their base, take the charge, trail and harass before the high screen and lockout are performed. These same techniques are used in punt and kickoff returns.

Coach Golden explains the "flight line" for the backside of the kickoff return and the importance of covering up the man in the next line as you set firm on a 45-degree angle. This technique is learned in the "One-Third Drill" that can also be used by smaller groups.

As multiple returns are shown, an enthusiastic Coach Golden shows how proper technique impacts the effectiveness of the return team.

Coaches at every level will benefit from this approach to the punt and kick return game. Incorporate these fundamental drills and skills into your special teams this season.

Produced at the 2014 Mid-Atlantic Nike Coach of the Year Clinic.

91 minutes. 2014.

Buy at Championship Productions

Cover: tony levine: strategies for building your kickoff coverage
Tony Levine: Strategies for Building Your Kickoff Coverage
with Tony Levine, University of Houston Head Coach;
former Special Teams Coordinator (2008-11)

Before Tony Levine took over as head coach at the University of Houston, he made his presence known as the special teams guru during the 2008-11 seasons. Under his tutelage, the Cougars set several school marks and tied or broke seven NCAA records. In this dynamic presentation, Coach Levine discusses assembling and coaching a directional kick-off team that puts your best players in position to be successful.

Pinning your opponent deep is a lost art in the game of football. Coach Levine shares a detailed breakdown of this critical component-from personnel to technique to schemes. He uses the whole part, whole method approach to demonstrate various ways to gain field position by efficiently and effectively covering the kick-off. The use of directional kicks and the coverage each position takes is explained using an overhead presentation and game film. His lecture covers:

    key indicators to determine where the ball carrier is goingdifferent techniques to beat blocks and get to the ball carrierrecovery techniques to use when players get out of their lanessplitting your kickoff team into a kick side and field side so your primary tacklers are always on one sideand more

Using a multi-media presentation that includes practice footage, Coach Levine covers team and individual position breakdown drills. He gives an unprecedented look inside a detailed kickoff coverage scheme. Game footage is provided to show the application of each drill.

With top-level offenses, the importance of field position and effective kickoff coverage is vital for defensive success. Turn your coverage into a championship unit this season.

Produced at the 2013 Portland Nike Coach of the Year Clinic.

52 minutes. 2014.

Buy at Championship Productions

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