The holder in football is a player on the special teams responsible for holding the ball in place on the field for a kicker during a field goal or extra point. Below is a diagram illustrating the holder (H) in position on the field. They kneel behind the offensive line, directly behind the long snapper (LS) and in front of the placekicker (P).
During a field goal or extra point, the long snapper snaps the ball about seven or eight yards back to the holder. The holder must catch the ball and position it on the ground for the placekicker to be able to kick the ball. That involves spinning the ball so the laces are facing outwards as well as tilting the ball slightly.
Holders are not used on every special teams occasion. During kickoffs, a tee is used instead. In the event that the wind keeps knocking the ball off the tee, a holder is permitted to enter the game to hold the ball. Punts do not involve a holder in any occasion.
In football, the holder very rarely only plays one position. In most cases the backup quarterback takes on a second job of being the holder. That is because they are used to taking snaps as a quarterback as well as when they are holding the ball, there is also the chance that they could throw it instead. The second most common position is the punter, who also has experience catching the ball from shotgun. Similar to both those positions, holders are protected from being hit, with a 15 yard penalty for roughing the holder being enforced if they are.
Holders are a position that goes largely unrecognized by many. A good holder goes unnoticed while a bad holder will be the lowlight of the game. A bad hold can be caused due to tough weather conditions such as rain, snow, or wind, which is why some holders will choose to wear gloves. A bad hold is called a muff or a botched hold.