1993. Fallbrook High School in Fallbrook, California. Third game of the season.
We were 0-2, had lost first two games by two points combined! Very close losses.
It’s my senior year. We are winning this game within the closing seconds, finally! The opponent is attempting a field goal from about 40 yards out, far shot for your “average” high school kicker.
We block it!! We go crazy!! Then, we go silent! Laundry on the field. And wouldn’t you know it . . . . . .
They move the ball five yards CLOSER, he makes it, we lose with no time on the clock. Lose by 1 point, for third game in a row. Fall to 0-3.
What a way to end the game huh?! Has that happened to you?
Here are 8 common penalties on the Field Goal Block team and how to avoid them!
1. Too many men on the field
SOLUTION: Be prepared Coaches, go over this during the week. Don’t wait until an hour before game time to go over your Special Teams! There should be NO question at to who is on a Special Team. Every time I see a team have too many or not enough kids on a Special Team, I put that squarely on the Head Coach! 9 times out of 10, it’s miscommunication and just being lazy.
SOLUTION: Again, prepare your players for this. Are you practicing this small task during the week? Are you going full speed with your Kick Block team or just going through the motions? Put your kids in the position which they will be in on Friday night, or they won’t be prepared. KEY THE BALL! Be ready for a shift or motion, stand your ground!
3. Roughing the kicker
SOLUTION: Do you practice this one? The best way I’ve found to do this to keep your kids safe is to use a landing mat of some kind. Do this pre or post practice with the handful of kids who will block a kick. Give them an aiming point to have their HANDS land at. Be specific, and put your kids through the practice of blocking a kick. I have my kids block soccer balls because they are round and aren’t going to break fingers as easily as a football might!
4. Avoid touching the ball on the defensive side of the ball
SOLUTION: Did you know the ball is “dead” if it’s blocked and crosses the line of scrimmage UNLESS your team touches the ball? If you block the ball, and it ends up on your side of the LOS, leave it alone! Run away! If one of your players tries to pick it up, and then fumbles it, the kicking team can recover the football.