There are many styles of kicking and punting in football, including directional kicking. Directional kicking is a style used by kickers and punters when they would like to place the ball down the field in a certain direction. For example, a kicker might want to kick the ball down the left sideline on a kickoff because there are fewer players on that side. Directional kicking can be effective in keeping the returner from scoring a touchdown or returning the ball a long distance.
Directional kicking like most types of strategies has a specific purpose. Punters and kickers alike want to keep great returners from scoring against them in any way possible. By kicking the ball deep into the corner, it is harder to gain a lot of yards compared to if the ball was caught in the middle of the field. Also, placing the ball away from the returner as far as possible does not allow for a build up of momentum or blockers to make it to protect the returner well.
A strategy of directional kicking can also have some downside. If a team becomes too predictable in the direction of their kicks as a game goes on the returning team can position more players to the side where the ball will be going. This leads to an advantage once the returner catches the ball as he has many of his blockers already in position in front of him. Both punters and kickers must remain unpredictable to stop this danger from occurring as a game progresses.