What is a Long Snapper in Football? (LS Position Guide)

By Coach Martin | Football Positions


Long snappers don't get a lot of attention, but they have a significant role in special teams.

In fact, when no one notices a long snapper, it means they're doing their job well.

It's only when they mess up that people start noticing them.

While it may not be a popular position with many youth football players, it's a great position that holds immense value for football teams.

There are specific traits, roles, and responsibilities that long snappers need to have to be great and effective.

Let's take a look at all the aspects of what makes a great long snapper.

What is a Long Snapper in Football?

The long snapper is a crucial part of a team’s special teams.

As the name suggests, they’re the ones responsible for snapping the ball to the backfield during special teams situations.

Because he’s still part of the offensive line, his job goes beyond snapping the ball.

Although it may seem like their job is quite simple, messing up the long snap could very well lead to a turnover or even a potential touchdown for the opposing team.

Because their target (either the punter or the holder) is further back, they’ll have to snap the ball with more force while maintaining the same accuracy.

Long Snapper Position on the Field

Long snappers, as you may guess, line up in the center of the offensive line during special teams situations.

Whether it’s a punt, field goal, or a PAT attempt, they’ll position themselves in the middle of the line – directly in front of the punter or the holder.

Operating in special teams situations, it’s crucial for them to snap and defend well as they don’t have the cushion of more downs to make up for mistakes.

What Does a Long Snapper Do?

1. Deliver Strong and Accurate Snaps

Snapping the ball is the primary duty of a long snapper.

The ball should reach the target quickly and accurately for the team to have a better chance at a successful kick attempt.

Unlike other positions in football, their main responsibility matters so much more than every other one for a long snapper.

If the snap isn't delivered properly, then nothing else really matters.

A botched long snap on punts, for example, means the punter might not even get the chance to kick the ball.

This could further result in the other team starting their drive nearer the end zone, or worse, taking the loose ball all the way for a touchdown.

2. Stop Oncoming Rushers

After delivering the snap, long snappers must get up and hold their ground.

Like any other offensive lineman, they’ll need to block incoming rushers trying to get into the backfield, immediately after the snap.

The big challenge for long snappers is that defenses often try to clog up the middle of the line with multiple rushers on kick attempts.

This is because they try to take advantage of the time it takes for the long snapper to throw the ball before getting back up to block.

On field goal attempts, for example, the defense will have almost every defender rush to the backfield to try and prevent the kick.

This means there’s little room for error in both snapping and blocking, as almost every defender rushes and attacks the backfield.

This makes the long snapper's blocking duties even more challenging.

3 Successful Long Snapper Traits

If you’re playing as a long snapper and want to get better at your position, here are a few traits you’ll need to work on:

1. Great Balance

Balance is one of the biggest traits that long snappers must have.

They start every play in a bent-over position then must look back between their legs at their target.

Then they have to snap the ball back with force then quickly get back up to block rushing defenders.

If a long snapper doesn't have great balance, he won't be able to accomplish all this while staying on their feet.

Long snappers have to maintain great posture and positioning so they can use their strength to their advantage.

2. Strong, Powerful Arms

The main duty of a long snapper is right in the position's name -- they use their arms to throw, or "snap," the ball to their target.

Their target is at least seven yards behind them, making it a long snap.

They basically throw a football upside down, behind them, and through their legs.

It takes a lot of arm and upper body strength to be able to throw the football this way and with enough force.

3. Great Accuracy

Being able to snap the ball with power is one thing, but if the snap isn't accurate, it could cause catastrophe.

So, not only must long snappers have the ability to throw with power, they must be able to do so with pinpoint accuracy, too.

Long snappers must try to snap the ball perfectly to where the punter or holder is.

You don't want the target to have to move around too much to gather the ball.

A snap that hits ground, flies high into the air or goes too much to either side, may cause a blocked kick attempt.

In the worst-case, an inaccurate snap could even result in a huge turnover for the team.

the long snapper looks to snap the ball to the kicker during a football game

2 Long Snapper Tips

1. Work on lower-body strength

Though we mentioned the need for a strong arm, being a long snapper also requires a lot of lower body strength.

Their lower body will be the anchor point as they bend (to deliver the snap) then quickly get up to hold their ground.

If you want to be a great long snapper, start first with building up your lower-body strength.

2. Practice Snapping

This may go without saying, but snapping isn't a natural motion.

It's not natural for people to throw a football, bent over and through their legs.

Because of this, it takes a lot of practice to get the motion right.

You may have all the other traits, skills and talents down to a T, but if you can't snap the ball with power and accuracy, you can't really be a good long snapper.

So, if you want to give it a try, work first on actually snapping the ball.


Long snapper isn't the football position most players aspire to become when they grow up.

That is usually left for quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, and other defensive positions.

Still, the long snapper is an extremely important position for a football team.

When long snappers do their job properly, all things work out smoothly.

When they don't, there can be catastrophe that can occur on the field.

That's why great long snappers are hardly ever noticed -- and that's a good thing.

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