How to Be a Punter in the NFL
A very common dream in childhood is to play in the National Football League. Usually these dreams revolve around being a star quarterback or wide receiver, but some kids want to play the punter position. Even with fewer people wanting to be the punter, there's still intense competition for these positions in the NFL, with only 32 being active in the league on any given Sunday. With some hard work, it is possible to achieve the goal of being an NFL punter.
Play football, beginning in middle school. While youth leagues such as flag football and Pop Warner are good areas to learn teamwork and basic skills, punting is not among them. A middle school football program teaches the basics of punting, providing children with a sense of the game.
Participate in high school football. The high school program is more intense than a middle school program, and students can try out even without playing in middle school. A high school program provides advanced techniques in controlling the spin of a punted football, its placement and hang time (how long it's in the air) for the punter to practice.
Play college football. It's more intense and involves more practice than high or middle school football. College football teams provide more coaching, techniques and practice time. College coaches are often former college and NFL players, offering assistance to learning the punter position.
Practice. It sounds common sense, but the punter position requires a lot of practice. A punter needs to be able to control hang time, distance, angle, placement, snap counts and spin. The more hours a punter puts in practicing, the more control he will have over a punt and the subsequent return, if any, by the opposing team.
Try out during open tryouts for NFL teams. If you're not drafted by an NFL team, you're still able to make a team in the NFL as a free agent. Open tryouts, when scheduled, allow people to compete against professionals for a spot on the team. Punters, however, are less likely to be invited to open tryouts than other skill positions.
Send an audition tape. If you want to try out for a team, a tape showing game footage from high school or college will help. A skills display on a field showing various techniques will allow NFL scouts to see your abilities. If successful, this puts you on a list of tryouts if a team's punter becomes injured or performs poorly during the season.
Don't get discouraged. Making the NFL is very difficult. Other leagues such as the Canadian Football League are available to make a career out of playing football.
- Don't get discouraged. Making the NFL is very difficult. Other leagues such as the Canadian Football League are available to make a career out of playing football.
Shannon Webster is a professional writer based in Hagerstown, Md. She has worked with the U.S. Air Force and several state governments since beginning her career in 2001. Webster currently serves as a writer with Decoded Science, specializing in cognitive and social sciences.