A drop kick is a type of kick in various codes of football. It involves a player dropping the ball and then kicking it when it bounces off the ground. It contrasts to a punt, wherein the player kicks the ball without letting it hit the ground first.
Drop kicks are used as a method of restarting play and scoring points in rugby union and rugby league. They can also be used in gridiron football codes and Australian rules football, though this is now rare.
One version of a drop kick exists in association football, where it is sometimes used by the goalkeeper to perform a long-range clearance after receiving possession of the ball from open play. The goalkeeper drops the ball so that it bounces, after which point he kicks the ball in midair.
Drop kick technique
The drop kick technique in both rugby codes is usually to hold the ball with one end pointing downwards in two hands above the kicking leg. The ball is dropped onto the ground in front of the kicking foot, which makes contact at the moment or fractionally after the ball touches the ground, called the half-volley. The kicking foot usually makes contact with the ball slightly on the instep.
In a rugby union kick-off or drop out, the kicker usually aims to kick the ball very high but not a great distance, and so usually strikes the ball after it has started to bounce upwards off the ground, so the contact is made close to the bottom of the ball.
For the tactics of the drop goal in open play (field goal), see drop goal.
In rugby union, a drop kick is used for the kick-off and restarts and to score a drop goal (sometimes called a 'field goal'). Originally it was one of only two ways to score points, along with the place kick.
Drop kicks are mandatory:
- from the centre spot to start a half (a kick-off)
- from the centre spot to restart the game after points have been scored
- to restart play from the 22-metre line (called a drop-out) after the ball is touched down or made dead in the in-goal area by the defending team when the attacking team kicked or took the ball into the in-goal area
- to score a drop goal (officially a 'dropped goal', sometimes called a 'field goal') in open play, which is worth three points.
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