January 10, 2013

Long Snapping Lesson with Nick Clements

Today was the 3rd lesson between Nick and I. Nick has a tryout with the Nebraska Danger of the IFL this Saturday and came to me to work on his short snapping on his way down there.

When I first met Nick his short snaps were fairly accurate, but they lacked speed and consistency. Today we worked on how to be more consistent, speed, accuracy, and situations. We started with the usual warm up and like always drilled tight wrists and fast hands.

We then moved into making some slight adjustments to his short snapping form. Nick was using almost 100% upper body so we talked about using the legs slightly to gain a little extra speed on the ball. This is what I do and found that it helps me when switching between the two snaps, it takes them from being two completely different forms and gives them some common ground while giving me a little extra pop with the ball.

After drilling this new form for a little while I could tell Nick's ball was coming back faster, with a tighter spiral, and more consistent!

While Nick's snaps were looking a lot better I decided to start throwing some different scenarios at him. If you are a long snapper you know that the scenario is not always the same.

Sometimes you have to rush, and sometimes you have to break your routine. While working some of these scenarios we ran into some difficulties that were used as great teaching/learning moments! We fixed things like not changing his routine when being rushed, and what to do in a loud stadium when you cannot rely on hearing a set call alone.



These small changes that we made seemed to make a huge improvement! Nick was drilling perfect PAT snaps the rest of the lesson.

The next part of the long snapping lesson we got into a little accuracy challenge. I placed a cone on the ground and set a tennis ball on top of the cone. I marked off 7 and 1/2 yards and set down the ball.

First we worked the repeat drill. This drill requires at least 2 people... 1 long snapper, and 1 person to set the footballs down in front of you. What you do is snap the first ball, as soon as you can get your hands on the next ball you snap it and so on until all the balls are gone.

Usually I use a  holder for this but we were short handed so the tennis ball was our aiming point. I really like this drill as you can fix things on the fly! If the first snap is high, you can adjust the next snap until you can feel the perfect release point to get that perfect snap.

We worked this a few times with Nick who really enjoyed the drill then moved on to the next drill on the agenda. The next drill was more of a challenge. We used the same cone and tennis ball and I challenged Nick that if he hit the cone first, I would do 10 push-ups, If I hit it first, he would do 10 push-ups.

By this time Nick was dialed in and ready to take on the challenge. I let Nick go first, his first snap misses just high by less than an inch. I go next missing my snap to the right by even less. We are both relieved that neither one has to do push-ups yet but are feeling the pressure.

Nick's next snap DRILLS the tennis ball dead on. I congratulate him and do my push-ups... I don't like to lose, especially if I know I can hit the tennis ball. We go for another round with a little time left in our long snapping lesson.

I go first and miss just high, the ball might have even scraped the tennis ball. Nick goes second and drills the tennis ball again!!! I do my second set of push-ups and we end the lesson on a high note for Nick!

Although I wish I would have been able to get Nick to do push-ups as well, I am very proud of his achievement! At the beginning of the long snapping lesson today there is no way he would have hit the tennis ball and at the end he showed me up in my own drill.

Nick is now on his way to Nebraska for his tryout with the Nebraska Danger, I wish him the best of luck and know he will impress them with his long snapping. Good job Nick!

- Kyle Stelter



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