Place kick

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The place kick is a type of kicking play commonly used in American football, association football (soccer), Canadian football, rugby league, and rugby union.


Rugby union player Quade Cooper preparing to take a place kick for Brisbane City. Brisbane City versus North Harbour Rays NRC Round 8 (5).jpg
Rugby union player Quade Cooper preparing to take a place kick for Brisbane City.

Gridiron football

Place kicks are used in American football and Canadian football for kickoffs, extra points, and field goals. The place kick is one of the two most common forms of kick in gridiron-based football codes, along with the punt. The punt, however, cannot score points (except in Canadian football where it counts as a single). The place kick is the most common kick used in most indoor football games, including the former North American Arena Football League (AFL); punting was not legal in AFL play.

Place kicking typically involves placing the ball either directly on the turf, a mound of sand, a hole in the turf, or a plastic tee is sometimes used to keep the ball in position. A player called a holder is required to hold a ball upright during field goal and extra point attempts, as the ball is placed directly on the turf. When weather conditions prevent the ball from standing on its tee by itself, a holder can be used during kickoffs (although this is uncommon). [1]

In most forms of gridiron football, a place kick during timed play that travels through the uprights is a field goal worth three points; on a free play following a touchdown, it is worth one point; most leagues (including the NFL) require the ball to be placed directly on the turf with a holder.

In a few indoor football leagues, a kickoff that travels through the uprights results in an award of one point, although this practice is becoming less common with the collapse of the AFL (formerly the largest indoor gridiron football league in the world).

In the comic strip Peanuts , Lucy frequently holds the football to allow Charlie Brown to place kick but invariably pulls it away at the last second, causing Charlie to fall on his back.

Association football

Place kicks in association football are the corner kick, free kick, goal kick, kick-off and penalty kick.

Rugby league

Johnathan Thurston preparing to take a place kick for Australia at the 2013 Rugby League World Cup. ThurstonRLWC2013.PNG
Johnathan Thurston preparing to take a place kick for Australia at the 2013 Rugby League World Cup.

The place kick is commonly used in rugby league for kick offs [2] and most kicks at goal (penalty goals and conversions). [2]

The lack of a consistently successful place kicker in a team can be detrimental to a team. [2] Anybody on the team can take a penalty or conversion kick although there is often a regular kicker. Sometimes teams will use different players to kick depending on what side of the field the kick is to be taken from.

Place of kick

Kick offs are taken from the centre of the halfway line. [3] A kick at goal from a penalty kick can be taken at any point along an imaginary line parallel to the touchline between the place the offence was marked by the referee and the kicker's goal line. [4] Conversion attempts may be taken at any point along an imaginary line parallel to the touchline from where the try was scored. [4]

Placing the ball

Most kickers use some form of aid to allow them to strike a preferred part of the ball. Popular aids used include kicking tees and mounds of sand on which to place the ball. [2] Players might also use their boot to mould the ground where the ball will be placed, making a divot behind the ball to allow greater access to the kicking foot. [2]

Kickers attempt to position the ball in a way that allows them to kick the ball's "sweet spot". [2] Kicking the sweet spot will result in the ball travelling further and is located about a third of the way up the ball. [2]


The most common kicking style is the round-the-corner kick, which tends to hook the ball to the left for a right footed kicker.

Kickers usually pace out their kick before taking it. [2] This begins with the kicker standing over the ball with their feet in kicking positions. [2] They then measure out a run up. [2] When the ball is kicked, usually with the instep of the foot, the kicker will follow through with their swing. [2]

Most of the top kickers can kick a goal from approximately 55m, or just inside their own half.

Rugby union

In rugby union, the most common position for a goal kicker to play is fly-half as that position requires good kicking skills from hand. Slightly less commonly, the fullback will kick (another position which requires kicking from hand). If the goal kicker is neither of those two positions, the remaining three-quarter backs and scrum-half might kick. Goal kicking forwards are extremely rare, but not unknown, the most notable in recent years having been the Australian second row John Eales.

Australian rules football

In the early decades of the sport of Australian rules football, place kicks were regularly used for taking set shots for goal after a mark or free kick, and occasionally for the purposes of kicking off after a behind. The use of a place kick in these circumstances was not required by the laws of the game, nor was it used universally, and many players preferred punts or drop kicks.

To execute with the oval ball, a divot would be created with the heel in the direction of the goal; and the ball would be placed at a slight upward angle in the divot with its long axis pointed at the goal. Place kicking was considered the longest and most accurate type of kick for a skilled practitioner, but more erratic than a punt for a player who was less adept. [5] The laws allowed a player to place the ball for a place kick, take a run up, then regather the ball and play on instead of kicking it, in order to catch defenders offguard. [6]

The use of place kicking declined rapidly from as early as the late 1910s, [7] and was considered a lost art by the late 1920s, [8] in large part due to the increased speed of the game and undesirability of pausing the game to execute one. [5] Some rare players continued to use place kicks until as late as the 1950s, [9] [10] but the skill is entirely obsolete in modern football.

See also

Related Research Articles

Canadian football Canadian team sport

Canadian football is a sport played in Canada in which two teams of 12 players each compete for territorial control of a field of play 110 yards (101 m) long and 65 yards (59 m) wide attempting to advance a pointed oval-shaped ball into the opposing team's scoring area.

A drop kick is a type of kick in various codes of football. It involves a player dropping the ball and then kicking it as it touches the ground.

Touchdown Means of scoring in both American and Canadian football

A touchdown is a scoring play in gridiron football. Whether running, passing, returning a kickoff or punt, or recovering a turnover, a team scores a touchdown by advancing the ball into the opponent's end zone.

Free kick

A free kick is an action used in several codes of football to restart play with the kicking of a ball into the field of play.

Onside kick Short kickoff in gridiron football to try to keep possession of the ball

In gridiron football, an onside kick is a kickoff deliberately kicked short in an attempt by the kicking team to regain possession of the ball. This is in contrast with a typical kickoff, in which the kicking team intends to give the ball to the other team and thus kicks the ball far downfield in order to maximize the distance the receiving team has to advance the ball in order to score. The risk to the team attempting an onside kick is that if it is unsuccessful and the receiving team gets the ball, the receiving team usually has a much better field position than it might have with a normal kickoff. Rules and procedures for onside kicks differ between the different codes and leagues of gridiron football.

Placekicker Player position in American and Canadian football

Placekicker, or simply kicker, is the player in gridiron football who is responsible for the kicking duties of field goals and extra points. In many cases, the placekicker also serves as the team's kickoff specialist or punter as well.

Comparison of American and Canadian football

American and Canadian football are gridiron codes of football that are very similar; both have their origins in rugby football, but some key differences exist.

Punter (football) Gridiron football special teams position

A punter (P) in gridiron football is a special teams player who receives the snapped ball directly from the line of scrimmage and then punts (kicks) the football to the opposing team so as to limit any field position advantage. This generally happens on a fourth down in American football and a third down in Canadian football. Punters may also occasionally take part in fake punts in those same situations, when they throw or run the football instead of punting.

Kickoff (gridiron football)

A kickoff is a method of starting a drive in gridiron football. Typically, a kickoff consists of one team – the "kicking team" – kicking the ball to the opposing team – the "receiving team". The receiving team is then entitled to return the ball, i.e., attempt to advance it towards the kicking team's end zone, until the player with the ball is tackled by the kicking team, goes out of bounds, or scores a touchdown. Kickoffs take place at the start of each half of play, the beginning of overtime in some overtime formats, and after scoring plays.

Rugby league gameplay

Like most forms of modern football, rugby league football is played outdoors on a rectangular grass field with goals at each end that are to be attacked and defended by two opposing teams. The rules of rugby league have changed significantly over the decades since rugby football split into the league and union codes. This article details the modern form of the game and how it is generally played today, however rules do vary slightly between specific competitions.

Holder (gridiron football)

In gridiron football, the holder is the player who receives the snap from the long snapper during field goal or extra point attempts made by the placekicker. The holder is set on one knee seven yards behind the line-of-scrimmage. Before the play begins, he places the hand which is closest to the placekicker on the ground in a location designated by the kicker's foot, with his forward hand ready to receive the snap. After receiving the snap, the holder will place the football on the turf, or block, ideally with the laces facing the uprights and the ball accurately placed where the backhand was initially, then balancing the ball with one or two fingers until the ball is kicked.

Comparison of American football and rugby union

A comparison of American football and rugby union is possible because of the games' shared origins, despite their dissimilarities.

Field goal

A field goal (FG) is a means of scoring in gridiron football. To score a field goal, the team in possession of the ball must place kick, or drop kick, the ball through the goal, i.e., between the uprights and over the crossbar. American football requires that a field goal must only come during a play from scrimmage, while Canadian football retains open field kicks and thus field goals may be scored at any time from anywhere on the field and by any player. The vast majority of field goals, in both codes, are place kicked. Drop kicked field goals were common in the early days of gridiron football but are almost never done in modern times. In most leagues, a successful field goal awards three points.

This list of rugby league terms is a general glossary of the terminology used in the sport of rugby league football. The sport has accrued a considerable amount of jargon to describe aspects of the game. Many terms originate from the Laws of the Game. A number of aspects of the game have more than one term that refers to them. Different terms have become popularly used to describe an aspect of the game in different places with notable differences between the northern and southern hemispheres.

American football Team field sport

American football, referred to simply as football in the United States and Canada and also known as gridiron, is a team sport played by two teams of eleven players on a rectangular field with goalposts at each end. The offense, the team with possession of the oval-shaped football, attempts to advance down the field by running with the ball or passing it, while the defense, the team without possession of the ball, aims to stop the offense's advance and to take control of the ball for themselves. The offense must advance at least ten yards in four downs or plays; if they fail, they turn over the football to the defense, but if they succeed, they are given a new set of four downs to continue the drive. Points are scored primarily by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone for a touchdown or kicking the ball through the opponent's goalposts for a field goal. The team with the most points at the end of a game wins.

In gridiron football, roughing the kicker is an action in which a defender, having missed an attempt to block a kick, tackles the kicker or otherwise runs into the kicker in a way that might injure the kicker. This protection is also extended to the holder of a place kick. It is a separate penalty from "running into the kicker."

Field goal range is the part of the field in American football where there is a good chance that a field goal attempt will be successful.

Punt (gridiron football) Drop kick downfield to the opposing team in American football

In gridiron football, a punt is a kick performed by dropping the ball from the hands and then kicking the ball before it hits the ground. The most common use of this tactic is to punt the ball downfield to the opposing team, usually on the final down, with the hope of giving the receiving team a field position that is more advantageous to the kicking team when possession changes. The result of a typical punt, barring any penalties or extraordinary circumstances, is a first down for the receiving team. A punt is not to be confused with a drop kick, a kick after the ball hits the ground, now rare in both American and Canadian football.

Conversion (gridiron football)

The conversion, try, or convert occurs immediately after a touchdown during which the scoring team is allowed to attempt to score one extra point by kicking the ball through the uprights in the manner of a field goal, or two points by bringing the ball into the end zone in the manner of a touchdown.



  1. National Football League (2020-03-19). "2020 NFL Rulebook". NFL. Retrieved 2020-06-05.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 BBC Sport (2005-09-15). "Kicking skills". BBC. Retrieved 2009-07-27.
  3. RLIF, 2004: 18
  4. 1 2 RLIF, 2004: 14
  5. 1 2 "Dearth of players who use the place kick". Westralian Worker. 21 May 1926. p. 8.
  6. W.V.F. (12 June 1947). "Place kicking as a lost art". The Western Mail. Perth, WA. p. 17.
  7. "The "Vanishing Place-Kick"". The Williamstown Chronicle. 7 August 1942. p. 2.
  8. W. S. Strickland (20 April 1927). "Is Place Kicking a Lost Art?". The Sporting Globe. Melbourne, VIC. p. 8.
  9. "Ainslie Football Club". The Canberra Times. Canberra, ACT. 23 August 1987.
  10. "Snapshots from League Grounds". The Argus. Melbourne. 18 April 1955. p. 4.


How To Goal and Place Kick

NFL (2020). "2020 NFL Rulebook". National Football League. Retrieved 2021-06-05.