Punting Mechanics 101

Coach Greg Montgomery will be working with select athletes this winter in Houston ,TX and Boca Raton, FL.

These instruction sessions include a full bio-mechanic evaluation, custom workout program, one on one instruction and film analysis.

Contact Greg at gmonty23@gmail.com or 616-975-1788 to discuss his availability.


Patience, Process and Letting Go

      I'm sitting in my hotel room contemplating the word  'destiny'. How do I share my message of hope? How do I get kids to take action? Do I need to package it in a way that kids can digest it? I know my Rise Up Detroit project is noble. I'm working out the details w/ founder Michael Corbin for the everyminute.org relaunch. I'm coaching aspiring punters across the nation. I'm trying to 'help'.

      This week I'm at the University of Alabama, helping the coaches learn how teach my 'Set & Pull' technique. Seeing the droves of kids coming in for workouts, it takes me back to my first days in college......wanting success so bad I could taste it. My heart would pound when it was my turn to 'show my wears'. To punt the football. It's taken many years of deep reflection to answer this question  "Why was I  so stressed out when it came to performance?" The answer lies in the work.

    The science of punting was in it's early development in the '80's. With the evolution of film analysis and integration of bio-mechanics, I've finally realized how the punting motion works. The elusive 'why' I'd been looking for all these years. When I was playing, I had no concept of the word 'relax'. My 'repeater swing' needed to be meticulously practiced. Even though I had to re-learn it every day,  I would eventually 'find my groove'. I can remember going in after practice and watching film.  I focused on my body angle, leg extension and foot position at impact. I made sure to finish each kick with my leg high in the air.If  I wasn't doing it to my satisfaction on film, I would go back out and fix it. That's what I 'saw' in pictures while growing up in New Jersey. Legendary punters Ray Guy and Dave Jennings would always finish with their leg  high up into the air. I did my best to imitate this technique my entire career. But in the depths of my subconscious mind, I knew there was an easier way. 

        My 'Set & Pull' punting epiphany came to me in the spring of 2000. Three(3) years removed from the game, I finally understood the concept of 'letting go in order to gain control'. I realized why I had such a tough time having fun playing the game of football. Undiagnosed torn ligaments in my hip and a broken back didn't help things much,  but I knew there was an easier way to create leg(foot) speed.  I didn't have the patience(or bio-mechanic) knowledge to relax and allow my leg to release. My negative mental 'chatter' caused me to drift. I focused on 'results' versus 'process'. I knew I could do better. I wanted to be perfect.

         The game of life has a strange way of teaching us lessons. After all the years of work. The countless  hours of frustrating trial and error. The lesson was this ....  All I had to do was "let go". 

 This is why I teach................GM


Greg Montgomery's NFL Films Documentary w/ St Louis Rams' punter Donnie Jones

   Just finished up the filming of my documentary with NFL Films. The whole crew was great. My parents were kind enough to share their recollection of my childhood and burning desire to become one of the top punters in the NFL. Donnie Jones, my close friend and current St Louis Rams standout punter, flew in to share his 'Monty stories' and experiences while working with me for 3 years at LSU. We discussed the pressure of playing in the NFL........ The main focus being the details, workout techniques and drills we did(do) in order to perfect the the 'Set & Pull' technique. The actual bio-mechanics of the motion we use and teach today.

    The NFL Films crew was especially interested in our underwater punting drills. Do to the fact that water is the most efficient form of resistance, we showed them how we would go through our stepping pattern, maintain sound posture/body angle, the set our leg and then pull the knee(entire upper and lower leg as one piece). The sensation is like swinging  a baseball bat with a 'donut' on it. Once Donnie got out of the water, his leg would feel weightless.....flying up through the ball. Good stuff for high school and college punters and kickers to emulate.

    While on the field, we filmed all of our drills - working our hands quickly on'buddy drops', taking urgent steps and' knee pulls', and finally the 'Set & Pull' - the setting of the leg and pulling the foot through the 'hitting zone'. Donnie's balance was great and his drops consistent. His footwork was 'urgent' yet not rushed. His punts we solid - most over 5.0 seconds hang time. A 'newsflash' for aspiring high school and college punters(and coaches) -  "We're not perfect' .........And Donnie did have a couple 'mis-hits'. But the fact that he  'missed with hang-time' shows why Donnie Jones has proven to be the best in the NFL over the last few years. And that's fact.

     The one point I'd like to make about 'missing with hang time'. We will ALWAYS have success when we take urgent steps, 'set' our leg(knee) properly, 'work our hands' quickly,  pull our knee(entire set leg as on piece) consistently and float the ball into the 'hitting zone'. The one thing that will set great punters apart from the rest is the hang time of their misses. We're not perfect. And there will be times when we mis-hit the ball. Whether it be because of over striding, an inside drop, taking our eye off the ball, slow hands.......whatever. The fact is if we snap our leg up through the ball consistently, we'll always 'miss with hang time. And that's exactly what Donnie Jones does.

And all the special teams coaches around the NFL will admit - 'We can live with that'.

A big 'thank you' must go out to senior producer Dave Douglas of NFL Films. He captured  my insight on the 'art of punting' in a way that "I" didn't even know existed. Thanks, brother - GM



Nick Saban Kicking Camp Notes

  The Nick Saban Kicking Camp at the University of Alabama was a great success. Over 180 high school athletes showed up for this year's event. Chris Sailer (www.chrissailerkicking.com) and Chris Rubio (Rubio@RubioLongSnapping.com) did a great job running their 2nd annual camp at the University of Alabama. It worked out great. Nick Saban was as cool as ever. Alabama Special Teams coach Bobby Williams got the kids fired up. Assistant Special Teams Coach  Joe Judge brought it all together. Chris Sailer shared his techniques and tips with the many aspiring  kickers. Chris Rubio shared his skill of snapping the football with the long-snappers. And I shared the basics of my 'Set & Pull' technique with the punters. All the campers did extremely well.

     When you break down the art of punting/kicking/longsnapping, the bio-mechanics are very similar. It all starts with your feet and works up from there. The balance needed to execute a kick, punt or snap is vital. Posture is next, by giving yourself the best opportunity to maximize leverage. Coach Sailer and I showed the kickers/punters how the  'snapping' of the leg creates the foot speed  needed to send the ball down field. And Coach Rubio proved why he's one of the best by explaining the motion and follow-through needed to snap the football with a combination of velocity and accuracy. It was a pleasure working with them all.

    I definitely suggest you contact Coach Sailer and Coach Rubio for instruction and/or exposure. Their camps are nationwide and will prove to help you both on and off the field.


The Leg Snap - Down, Up and Back


    Down,Up and Back - Leg speed is achieved setting the leg, pulling the knee down along the arc, up past the ball, and then back to your chest. This will mimic the action of a whip and allow the lower leg snap through the hitting zone.  A great rhythm is achieved by preparing the drop urgently but effortlessly as soon as it hits your hands, letting your feet fall into the ground, floating the ball to the hitting zone while your leg violently snaps through the hitting zone with a good ankle lockIf we release the knee too early, the lower leg will extend (lengthening our leg) and we'll either 1) kick the ground, 2) get the feeling of a “short” drop or“crowding the ball” which will lead to leaning back and bad form(with no power). Patience is vital in order to avoid losing power prior to ball contact . This is why we need to “wait on it”, let our knee pass the ball prior to release of the knee and snap our leg “through the ball” vs. “at the ball”. Remember - Maintaining the arc throughout the swing is vital! Meaning the upper leg never stops - Finish.

 “The SET & PULL 5.0

  • SET IT - Set the leg by pulling the heel to a right angle
  • PULL IT- Pull the knee down, up and through, maintaining THE ARC throughout 
  • LET IT GO – Let lower leg go and then snap up through hitting zone.  The knee should pass the ball and snap the foot through the ball after impact.  Knee should have slight bend at impact AND ACCELERATE THROUGH THE BALL. “Put the ball in the way of a good swing.  Don’t hit the ball.”