Football Kicker Types

Football Kick

The kicker is a player on the special teams. Kickers are responsible for performing all types of kicks in football. A kicker is needed on field goals, extra points, punts, safety kicks, and kickoffs.

There are two different types of kickers in football: the place kicker and the punter. Read on to learn more about each type of kicker and what types of kicks they are responsible for executing.

Placekicker

A placekicker is a type of kicker that performs kickoffs, field goals, and extra points. The holder, a player on the special teams, will hold the ball on the tee for the placekicker.  

A kickoff happens after any score in football and at the start of each half. Kickoffs are kicked by a place kicker behind restraining lines, which are at the 35-yard line. This is used to put the ball back in play. The team who does not kick is now the team in possession of the ball unless a fumble or special penalty occurs.

A field goal can happen on any down and from anywhere on the football field. A place kicker will line up behind the scrimmage line and attempt to kick the ball through the goal post. A holder will receive the snap and hold the ball for the place kicker to kick.  

A team should be in what they consider “field goal range” before they go for a field goal. This is the range that the team’s kicker can reliably make a field goal from, and is usually within 20-30 yards of the opposing team’s end zone. Depending on the scenario, some teams can choose to make a field goal attempt from more than 40 yards back.

The extra point (or PAT) happens after a touchdown is scored. The kicker must kick the ball through the goal post for one additional point. This means they have the option for a two-point conversion but have decided to kick the ball instead. This kick is performed by the place kicker.

Punter

Football Punter

A punter is a type of kicker that performs punts. Punts change possession to the other team and cause an important change of pace in the game. The punter must be a very strong kicker and have very good flexibility. This kick should be powerful enough to clear the field so the other team is as far down field as possible.

Punts are usually made on 4th down to prevent a turnover on downs. A high punt allows the defensive players to gain yards down the field and set up defense so the receiver can’t make any progress.

Safety kicks are kickoffs that happen after a safety has been taken. The team who suffered the safety will need to kick the ball off from their own 20-yard line. A tee is not allowed to be used, so the punter will typically be sent out to kick the ball the same as they would on a punt, except without receiving a snap.

FAQ

Do punters kick field goals?

Punters do not kick field goals. Place kickers are the position that kicks field goals, extra points, and kickoffs in football. They are called place kickers because the ball will be “placed” on the ground (either by a tee or holder) for them to kick. A punter will use a drop kick to kick the ball, which only occurs on punts and safety kicks.

Do kickers kick the ball on punts?

Punters are the position that kicks the ball on punts. Place kickers kick the ball on field goals, extra points, and kickoffs. They are two separate positions on most football teams. Punters will utilize drop kicks on punts and safety kicks, while place kickers will kick a ball that is held or placed for them.

What is the name of the player that kicks the ball in football?

Place kickers are the players responsible for kicking the ball during kickoffs, field goals, and extra points. Punters, meanwhile, is the most common term for players who do punts and safety kicks. Punts and regular kicks have different arcs and require different types of kicks, but players will sometimes be able to do both and be interchangeably referred to as a kicker.