Steps can refer to the process of kicking a field goal or how many steps are taken by the kicker before attempting a kick. We'll discuss both in this article, starting with the overall process of a field goal try.
The snapping of the football is performed by the kicking team's long snapper (often abbreviated as LS). The long snapper begins in squat with two hands placed on the ball at the line of scrimmage. Once the holder (the player responsible for catching the snap) signals that he and the kicker are ready for the play to start, the snapper launches the ball backwards and into the hands of the holder, who is positioned 6-8 yards from the line of scrimmage. An accurate snap is crucial, as failure to place the ball directly in the hands of the holder can disrupt the timing of the kicker or cause the ball to get away and be recovered by the defense.
The second step is the hold. The holder (usually the team's punter) must catch the ball and hold it upright on the ground from a kneeling position. It is also important for the holder to rotate the ball such that the laces are facing away from the kicker and towards the goal posts. Failure to hold the ball steady or present the kicker with smooth side of the ball makes a successful kick extremely challenging.
The final step is the kick, in which the kicker must strike the ball his dominant foot. In order to make the field goal, the kicker must take into account the distance and location of the kick, as both of these factors dictate how hard the ball needs to be kicked and where the kicker needs to aim. The direction and strength of the wind also needs to be considered. Strong wind gusts have the ability to either push the ball to one side of the goalposts or prevent the ball from traveling as far as it normally would.
Steps can also be used to refer to the amount of steps the kicker takes during a field goal attempt. Before the ball is snapped, the kicker generally takes 3-4 steps back from the holder, followed by two to the right or left (depending on which foot is the kicker's dominant foot). Once the holder receives the ball and positions it on the ground, the kicker takes several small steps towards the ball before making contact with his foot. These steps help the kicker to build momentum before striking the ball, allowing for more power to generated as opposed to simply kicking the ball from a stagnant position.