Kick Return Blocking – Youth Football Special Teams
Our youth football special teams kick return blocking is not that great. We did better this year by assigning players to block but we can do better. We missed many blocks and one that hurt us in our final play off game last season.
After reading Coaching Offensive Linemen by Dave Christensen and James Peterson, I learned something that I have never heard before about Kick Return front linemen, except maybe for the Hands Kick Return Team for onside kicks. They suggest in their book that your offensive linemen do not make good kick return blockers because the are not designed to be open field blockers. They recommend using linebackers, tight ends, and back-up running backs as your Kick Return Teams front-line blockers.
Why use skill players as the frontline blockers of your Kick Return Team?
- Better Open Field Blockers
- Better use of hands for blocking and recovering ball
- Quicker and Faster to set up your blocking line
- Allows time during kick to talk to O-Line as a group before 1st play
After thinking about this for a week, they may be right, especially in youth football leagues. I will be adjusting my kick return front line based on the above. It makes sense. If you decide to stick with your o-line as your kick return teams front line blockers, here are a few rules to use.
Rules for Lineman on the Kick Return Team:
- Never chase the football more than 2 steps
- Never try to catch the football over your head
- Never catch the ball and then run with it
- If you recover the kick, cradle the football with your body
- Physically cover-up your team mate with the ball
- If the ball is deliberately kick hard at you, don’t touch it, let it continue downfield to the backs
Source: Coaching Offensive Linemen by Dave Christensen and James Peterson
Kick Return Blocking is Key for Top Youth Special Teams
As a 2020 update to this original 2008 post on kick return blocking on youth special teams, it is very effective to number the kick off team players and assign each kick return player a number / player to block. We usually number from the outside in to the kicker. You can then assign trap or just man blocking calls to the kick return. If you are tricky you can have a reverse kickoff return blocking call.
Make sure to block the 2 or 3 fastest players on the kick return team too. You may need to adjust your kick return front line to get these players blocked properly. You should also scout and make sure if your opponent kicks deep or kick more onside kicks and adjust your best backs to the front line or sneak in a ringer to the area they always kick to. I personally like to kick to our sidelines a ton since we do a ton of onside kicks, so many teams will try to counter this strategy by putting their best two kick returners in this spot to make me kick elsewhere.
Make sure to block your opponents fastest kickoff players, otherwise you might not recover the kickoff or gain any yards on your kick return receiving team.
I hope you enjoyed this youth football special teams kick return coaching tip article on kick return blocking pee wee football teams. Please leave a comment below and like and or share the article.
You can also contact me if you have any suggestions, comments, questions, about coaching youth football.
Remember to Play for Fun and Winning is Funner!
Fort Worth, Texas / Keller TX
update 4/13/2020 – 2020 Gutenbergz
I completely agree.. The Linemen have no business trying to catch a ball over their head or a line drive kicked directly at them.. The odd of them catching and securing the ball are not in their favor, nor close to being in their favor..