How to Long Snap a Football
Knowing how to long snap a football is an essential part of being a good center on special teams. The long snapper delivers the ball to the punter or place kick holder, and must do so flawlessly.
- Velocity. You need to get the ball back to the punter/holder in a hurry when you long snap a football, because your opponents are sending a bunch of men with one goal in mind—to block the kick. When you long snap a football you must bring both hands back violently, hitting them against your inner thighs, as you send the ball back through your legs.
- Hand placement. To properly long snap a football you’ll want to have your hands securely on either side of the ball, as this will help you control it as you snap it. Don’t have too much weight forward when you’re in your pre-snap position, because if so, when you lift the ball to snap it you’ll fall forward, messing up your accuracy.
- Rotation. For a crisp snap that will hit the punter/holder in the hands when you long snap a football, you must have good rotation on the ball. When you bring the ball back between your legs, turn one hand over the over, putting a tight spiral on it. This will help it fly straight and true.
- Post-snap. When you long snap a football there’s still work to be done once the ball is out of your hands. Defenders are going to be coming right over you, as you present the only obstacle between them and the shortest path to the ball. Because your head will be down, you need to keep you body as wide as you can, arms bent and elbows out wide to snag rushers. Warning: you’ll take a lot of abuse after the snap!
Arbuckle, Dick and Mottley, Chuck. “Special Teams: The Winning Edge.” 2008. Coaches Choice Books.