Without a good snapper, how good can you be?
“Mike Farley’s Kickers Camps” is the re-naming of the camp my father started 51 years ago… but it’s a terrible name because it misses some pretty key people who the camp seeks to train: no love for punters, holders or snappers.
But know in my heart and mind, you are there, front and center… and this year, will mark the first camp that will be exclusively a Punters Camp (Saturday, June 17 in Eau Claire, WI). The rest of the camps will either be kicking only or a kicking and punting combo camp. I hope to offer a snapping camp somewhere in the near future.
That said, just this morning, an article in the online version of Sports Illustrated was released — “Fourth and Niches” — all about long snapping and long snappers in the NFL. It’s an interesting read and one that kickers, punters and holders can appreciate for the hard work and long lonely hours practicing a craft that few understand (and sometimes, even value), until something goes awry. Then, sadly, you are the focus of all attention.
Alas, that’s the job.
You can read the entire SI article here > FOURTH AND NICHES
What can you do if you’re a kicker or punter?
You can’t snap it to yourself (but I’ve had plenty of kickers who have shown great promise as a snapper, oddly enough).
If you want to help your snapper to improve, aside from offering free cheeseburgers to snap for you over the summer, there are a number of good videos that help show how it’s done on YouTube. Learn all that you can from as many sources as you can. To be a great snapper is to really be a “student of the game”.
This is an oldie, but a goodie… with Mark Ingram, a former player and coach from the University of Missouri, who has a lot to offer interested longsnappers in a 14 minute video.
The keys behind consistent snapping are:
1) Practicing the same thing every time the same way. Consistency is key and the more accurate you get, the more confidence you gain.
2) Get a nice wide base and a proper grip* where you can comfortably, and forcefully, pronate your wrists to your target.
3) Most snappers look at their target (holders hand or a punters thigh pad) and “aim small to miss small”.
4) Due to rule changes, high school snappers don’t have to worry about blocking or a defensive player being head-up on them. They can focus exclusively on their snapping.
5) Keep watching, studying, practicing and learning to become a master of this super important football skill.
*Every snapper I know grips the ball just a little bit differently… but the basic starting position is to hold the ball like you were going to pass it (like a QB), then add your guide hand with your middle finger running up the middle seam of the ball.
Convince the right friend to be your snapper…
For high schoolers who aren’t blessed with speed, height, weight or power, specializing in long snapping can get you in the game, typically, from 8 to 10 plays a game…. often, at the most crucial moment.
This is a position for someone who loves the thrill of the game, wants to be a part of something bigger and isn’t afraid of white-knuckle situations.
It’s also not for the glory-seeking. In fact, it might be the most unsung position in all of sports. Consider it the greatest example of being a team player. If that’s you, or a friend, then learning long snapping might just be the ticket!
Coach Farley teaches private lessons for snapping… a one-hour session is $100 (+ travel). Simply contact Mike to schedule a date, place and time for instruction built to produce a consistently solid high school snapper. (Ages 12-18)
If you want the “pro” treatment, like the private coach mentioned in the SI article, Wisconsin athletes don’t have to travel to Idaho for help…
A former UW-River Falls Falcon has achieved his own level of success, making it to the NFL, and now instructs long snappers on perfecting their technique — his name is Kyle Stelter. He offers private coaching lessons at his Eau Claire, Wisconsin training facility and a camp for college athletes in Tampa, Florida in January.
You can find his website here > Special Teams U
FROM MIKE FARLEY:
“I’m not affiliated with, nor do I receive any compensation for my endorsement of Kyle’s coaching. I’m just loyal to my fellow Falcons, and Kyle’s a great guy …and really knows his stuff.”