Oct. 10, 2007
A Long Snappers Legs Are His Most Important Body Part
Despite the face that a long snap is an upside down pass, most of the power generated is through the legs. The stronger your arms are the quicker you will get the ball back to the holder or the punter–but your arms are a secondary muscle to a long snapper. As you snap the ball you actually kick back about six inches. A long snapper creates the maximum
amount of force with his legs then through his upper back finally his arms.
Long Snapping Can Be Broken Down Into Three Parts
Long snapping is a three-part job. First is the snap and getting the ball successfully on its way to the holder or the punter. Second is the act of popping up in order to block a player as quick as Reggie Nelson or holding off a player as strong as Mario Williams. The third part is the run downfield in coverage as quickly as under control as possible in
order to attack the ball carrier who is usually the most athletic player on the opposing team.
Mind Over Matter
Long snapping is more mental than physical. A football can and will at some point be in the hands of the long snapper. When the ball is in my hands and I look back at Gary Cismesia or Graham Gano, I think to myself–if I mess this up we could lose. Then I laugh to myself because I know that’s not going to happen and launch the ball to sure-handed Brent Moody who puts the placement down perfectly. Without that confidence in myself accidents can happen.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Practice makes perfect. During the course of a full day of practice, I work on my long snaps for only about 30 minutes. That practice is essential to my success. The art of long snapping, is based on muscle memory and it is my job to
perform the identical action each and every time I snap the ball.
There Is Always Something To Do
Long snappers must be creative. Because we do practice for about 30 minutes each day, we (kickers, punters and long snappers) have to find things to do for the remaining 2 ½ hours of practice.
Attention To Details
Less is more. The art of long snapping is not complicated but I need to be focused throughout an entire game. Any sudden change of possession or quick offensive series could put the special teams back on the field quicker than anticipated. My job is not complicated but it’s a job that I have to be perfect at each time I go onto the field.
By Garrison Sanborn
Florida State Football