With the football season around the corner, the most frequent question I receive at lessons is “what type of pads should I wear?” I wish I could say strap on whatever pads and helmet you find that are the most padded and trending, however, it is more of the opposite. The shoulder pads with the least amount of padding and helmets that make you look more like Brett Favre are the most suitable for a long snapper.
Let me explain:
Long snappers require room for motion, more than any other position in football. We have to be able to stick our head, shoulders, and back through our legs as fast as possible. Let’s take a look at this pretty sweet helmet for example. The helmet is designed to protect the entire head more with the shell reaching past the jaw line and the facemask sticking out further to protect the facial area. The helmet has modern hard edges that make it pop with visual appeal. However, this radiantly cool helmet will not allow you to put your chin down against your chest limiting how much the head can follow through against the pads. The limited follow through with the head creates a limited follow through with the chest creating an end result of snaps to go low and troubles with balance. I honestly wish these pads would work for long snappers since they offer so much protection for the upper body, however, all the extra padding will not allow your head to follow through, arms to fully extend, and tuck your chest through. Those factors will all dramatically affect the end result of the snap.
Now that you have seen what to not wear, let me show the ideal helmet and pads to wear to promote the most movement possible for a long snapper. The Adams, Schutt, and Xenith X2 lines have the most accommodating helmets for long snappers. They are structurally sound and allow for the full range of motion needed to bring your head to your chest. The Douglas CP MR. D Snapper Pads and the Riddell Power Extreme (SPX) Pads are what I have found to being the best suited for long snappers. My personal preference was toward Riddell as the hard plastic shell ran shorter down the chest in comparison to the Douglas Pads. The Ridell's allowed my upper body to bend through further on my follow through during mid snap. Both pads work great for long snappers and are worthy investments if you are serious about the next level. If you are looking for alternate more affordable options, I recommend using WR/QB Pads that the school provides as they are closest to long snapping pads. Whichever route you choose to take, make sure to NEVER go with the shoulder pads that have the circular padding that covers the arm pit area unless if you want to look and feel like this... good luck snapping like that!