Death of the Pop-Up Onside Kick and What is Next
During the 2017 rules changes by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), one of the rule changes that was implemented was the penalization of Pop-Up onside kicks. According to the NFHS, a Pop-Up kick is a free kick in which the kicker drives the ball immediately to the ground, the ball strikes the ground once and goes into the air in the manner of a ball kicked directly off the tee. Such kicks will be penalized as a dead-ball foul.
As the vast majority of onside kicks are of the Pop-Up variety, this rule change will have a significant effect on how high school teams approach the onside kick. In addition, many football leagues for younger age athletes are also outlawing not only onside kicks, but kickoffs in general. With the continued focus on player safety at all levels of the game, don't be surprised to see so further limitations to the onside kick in coming years at the collegiate and professional levels as well.
With many high school teams onside kick arsenal depleted by this rule change, here are some alternates to the pop-up onside kick that you might see more of this year, or if you are a coach or kicker you might want to try -
1. The Basic Drag Onside Kick
2. Reverse Opposite Foot Drag Onside Kick (Rabona Kick)
3. Behind The Back Drag Onside Kick
4. Drag Onside Kick with Self Recovery
5. The Sky - Sideline Onside Kick
6. Blast Onside Kick