See my Kickoff Team Checklist here.

Many high school teams simply “roll the ball out” for Special Teams.  You know what I mean.  They go through Special Teams on Thursday.  Throw some kids out there, and “give it a go.”

The great programs do not do that.  They put in a lot of effort, film work, and are dedicated to putting their kids in the right spots for success.  Use this checklist to help you do that.

1 Are we on turf or grass this week?
2 Which return should we use?
a How does our return match up?
3 What kickoff formations do they have?
a Strengths of their formations?
b Weaknesses of their formations?
c Do they favor kicking ball one way or another?
4 Do they huddle on the field?
a Ever kick quick from that huddle?
5 Where do they like to kick from?
a Do they always kick from the same spot?
6 Average distance of kicks?
a What line yard for our returners?
7 Create a “land” chart.  (Where the balls land)
a What area for our returners to line up?
8 What number is their regular kicker?
a Left or right footed?
b Is there a backup kicker?  Number?
9 Do they like to squib kick?
a If so, average distance?
10 What is their onside kick like?
a Do they favor an onside kick to one way?
b Do they bring in another kid to onside kick?
11 Who has the most kickoff team tackles?
a Where does he line up?
b Does he line up in the same spot all the time?
12 Who is the weakest kickoff team member?
13 What is the path of their contain guys?
14 Coverage lanes cross?  Or come straight down?
Game Day Considerations
1 Field Conditions?  Dry?  Wet?  Mud?
2 Wind?  Behind us, coming at us, cross?
3 Moisture in air?
4 Injuries to their leading kickoff coverage guys?
5 Field condition in specific place we want to return?


Coach Fore is a consults teams on their Special Teams through his Eight Laces consulting business.  You can find a Kick/Punt Returns and Blocks Manual, his Shield Punt Manual and more at  He has a Shield Punt E Clinic here.