Football 101
The Kickoff!

The KICK OFF occurs at the beginning of each half and after every score.

The ball will be PLACE KICKED off of the ground.


The PLACE KICK is a ball that is held upright on the ground and KICKED.

On the KICKOFF it is held below by a TEE.

The team that KICKS OFF at the beginning of the game usually KICKS with the wind.


Some teams will KICK against the wind to start the Second HALF, if it means moving towards the Scoreboard or having the wind in the Fourth QUARTER.

Unless a PENALTY deems otherwise, the KICK OFF team will KICK the ball from its end of the field.

The RECEIVING team wants to secure the KICKED ball and advance it as far as possible.

The KICKING team wants to pin the RECEIVING team as far back towards their GOAL LINE as possible.

Good KICK Coverage keeps the RECEIVING team from negating your score with a RETURN for a TOUCHDOWN.




Since the KICK OFF covers most of the field, KICK teams will use their faster players to cover the KICK.


Another faster player is waiting back near the GOAL LINE to FIELD the KICK.

The RETURN team falls back to create a LANE for the ball carrier.


kickoff5This is a common Penalty on KICK and PUNT RETURNS.

Because the ball is changing direction, players will often end up behind the opponent they’re trying to Block.








KICK OFFS can be hazardous due to the collisions resulting from 22 players running at each other.

Note that it’s important that the RECEIVING team secure a KICKED ball.



Once the ball travels 10 yards on a KICK OFF, it’s treated as a LOOSE ball and can be recovered by the KICKING team.

*Because of the shape of the ball, it’s going to bounce along the ground in an unpredictable manner.





Dennis Launarey

Dennis from "Learnin' Football" is the author of “The Best Ladies Guide to Football So Far” and “A European Guide to American Football". Both are interactive workbooks with over 400 images, ongoing questions, chapter quizzes and 20 activities that teach you how to watch and enjoy a typical football game. Straying away from the encyclopedia type sports book, the reader is actively involved in the learning process. Follow him on Twitter @learninfootball and check out his books at

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