February 18, 2013

Long Snapping Lessons with University of Texas San Antonio Long Snapper

The weekend of February 16th and 17th Jesse Medrano, the long snapper for the University of Texas San Antonio flew up to freezing cold Minnesota to work with Coach Kyle Stelter. Jesse is the starting long snapper at UTSA and was put on scholarship this past season. He had never had any formal training and taught himself how to snap.

Jesse was a long snapper in high school where he stood out enough to gain attraction from a local D2 school as well as UTSA. Having great connections, he was able to make the team as a long snapper. Jesse was already a pretty consistent long snapper, and the result of his snap was pretty good as well, however there were some issues that needed to be addressed if he wanted to keep getting better.

The lessons were spread over 2 days, our first lesson on Saturday was focused on evaluating Jesse's form and diagnosing any issues there may be. During his first couple snaps I could see that he had an issue with a major hitch.

He would bring the ball almost over his head before he would snap the ball. Another issue I saw was that his hips were extremely low in his stance which messed up the timing between his arms and legs which only helped his hitch. He also had a problem with falling forward after the snapAfter just watching a few snaps of his we started with basics.

First off we started working on releasing the ball correctly which involves tight wrists and the correct follow through. Jesse had never had any long snapping coaching so everything we worked on was new to him.

We worked on the tight wrist and follow through progression and you could see improvements right away with the quality of the spiral. After working the follow through we focused on the correct arm motion. By using a band we are able to slow down the motion while working on leading with the elbows. Jesse is a fast learner and being a division 1 long snapper, he had enough experience snapping a ball to pick things up quickly.

Step 1
Step 2
Step 3
When Jesse had shown that he was able to handle the arm motion we smoothed it out and worked on leg drive and how to get the most out of the leg drive. We worked on knee lock and getting the maximum slide out of leg drive then put the upper body and the lower body together by slowing it down and focusing on timing. When your snapping, timing is huge. If your legs or arms are faster than the other part then you will not get the most out of your snap.

During this time we adjusted Jesse's hip depth and chest level to ensure that his snap would time up correctly. Getting your hips at a good height for you will also ensure that you are not losing power by being too high, or too low with your hips.

We then focused on tightening up his back in order to lengthen him out and get him in a more powerful position. We were able to find a good depth for his hips so that he was getting the most out of his leg drive while keeping his back flat. At first it is hard to keep your back flat when extending but with the right coaching it is possible. A little practice doesn't hurt either!

Post adjustments
Some other corrections we made were: pushing his arms out in front of his head more so that he would have more leverage as well as eliminate his hitch, hold his head in a more neutral position so that he can get his eyes to his target quicker making him more accurate, shifting his weight pre snap so that he could slide without catching his heals or coming up on his toes while snaps, and straighten out his ball pre snap so that he could be more straight lined.

During our final long snapping lesson we focused a little on the PAT snap. Jesse had a consistent snap but had a decent hitch in his snap. To help him fix this along with put a little extra zip on the ball I had him lower his hips a tiny bit and extend to the finished position just like he would on a punt snap. This makes the snaps translate a little easier from PAT to punt and makes it more consistent.

After adjustments
Better snap! Need to get a better holder....

Jesse did a great job this past weekend and showed a ton of improvement. With any new changes there is going to be difficulty, but with practice and a lot of it with his new form, Jesse will be in great shape to have a flawless junior season at UTSA.

By the end of our long snapping lessons Jesse was snapping a great ball with phenomenal velocity. He was also doing it without a hitch!!!! Hitches are one of the hardest habits for a snapper to break and we broke his in the first 10 minutes of our lesson.

JUST missing the tennis ball....

At the end of our final long snapping lesson we decided to have some fun and try for a trick shot long snap from the 3 point line of the basketball court. We both were unsuccessful but Jesse did have 1 shot that was very close! It even looks like it went in! Sort of....

If you want to improve as much as Jesse did contact Kyle Stelter to schedule your long snapping lessons today!

- Kyle Stelter

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