2. Punter’s need to be able to kick
Again, this sounds crazy but it’s true. Punters don’t need a big leg, by that I mean able to kick the ball 80 yards, to be a successful NFL punter. Instead, the punter needs to become a specialist in kicking the ball. The goal of a punter is to put the ball as close the goal line as possible.
This may sound like “flipping the field” but it’s not. Punting the ball close to the opponents end zone requires strategy. Depending on how far the offense go toward the opponent’s end zone, the punter may need to kick the ball different distances. Becoming a master at kicking the ball those distances is the true art of punting.
As an example, think of a baseball pitcher. Sure, he can throw the ball 90-plus miles per hour. But will throwing the ball as hard as he can win games? No, he’s a pitcher, not a thrower. He must do things with and to the ball to change speeds, angles and create movement as it hurls toward home plate.
The punter is the NFL equivalent of a pitcher. He must punt the ball in different ways, angles, distances and speeds to maximize his teams chances of getting the ball as far away from its own endzone and as close to the opponent’s end zone as possible.
If past the 50-yard line, a punt that lands with backspin may be necessary to get the ball close to but not into the endzone. If the ball is punted close to mid-field, the punter may kick the ball the ball very high, measured in hang time, to allow for his teammates to get the ball before it reaches the end zone. If deep in his own territory, he might throw a fastball, and punt the ball to maximize the yardage gained toward the opponent end zone.
Notice I didn’t say to flip the field or kick the ball as far as possible. But to kick the ball to maximize the yardage gained. In the NFL, kicking the ball as far as possible does not maximize yardage gained.