American Football Skills
American football, not to be confused with the World Cup game of the same name, requires a variety of skills to move a leather ball toward an opponent's goal and to prevent the opponent from entering yours. Throwing the ball through the air, knocking other players to the ground, running around or through opposing players and kicking the ball away from other players or between goal posts are the main actions taken during a football game.
Pass the Ball
Passing relies on the basic sport skill of throwing, used in pitching a baseball, serving a tennis ball or throwing a javelin. A football player performs the same basic movements and creates the same basic kinetic chain of events, starting with a push off the ground with the feet, core rotation, opening of the hip and forward arm movement, ending with forearm pronation. Passing requires accuracy because the player to whom you are throwing might have opposing players near him trying to block or intercept the ball. Because of the size of the ball, which is smaller than a basketball but much larger than most other sports balls, significant muscle power is required for long passes.
Block Your Opponent
Blocking is the act of putting your body between an opponent and one of your teammates to stop your opponent from tackling your teammate. Because offensive players cannot hold an opponent with their hands, blocking requires a mastery of techniques to keep the opponent from slipping past you.
Catching the Ball
Playing one of the receiver positions in football requires more than an ability to catch a ball. Receivers must avoid opponents who try to block or intercept balls. They fake or run away from opponents to get in the clear to make a catch. Some football plays require a receiver to run to a certain position without looking at the quarterback, then turn around after the ball has been thrown and make the catch. Receivers must also try to make catches knowing that they will be hit hard by an opposing player as soon as or shortly after they make the catch.
Rushing is the act of running with the football from the start of an offensive play. Skills needed for rushing include an ability to anticipate the moves of opposing team members and the skill to make quick, lateral adjustments to avoid opposing players.
Punts and Kicks
After a score, the scoring team kicks the ball to the opposing team to restart play. If a team is in poor position on the field, it might wish to kick the ball down the field rather than try to move it with a pass or rush. In these situations, a kicker usually tries to kick the ball far because he is giving possession of the ball to the other team. Kickers also try to score points by kicking a ball through a set of upright goals.
Sam Ashe-Edmunds has been writing and lecturing for decades. He has worked in the corporate and nonprofit arenas as a C-Suite executive, serving on several nonprofit boards. He is an internationally traveled sport science writer and lecturer. He has been published in print publications such as Entrepreneur, Tennis, SI for Kids, Chicago Tribune, Sacramento Bee, and on websites such Smart-Healthy-Living.net, SmartyCents and Youthletic. Edmunds has a bachelor's degree in journalism.