Spiral punt

The spiral punt or torpedo kick is a long kick used in rugby to gain ground in general play. It is also for normal or penalty kicks for touch.


Be sure you handle the ball well (core skills in main menu) and know your kicking basics before you attempt to master this kick.

Why make your punt spiral

You use this kick because you make accurate kicks and you can kick enormous distances for huge gains in ground

The way you position the ball on your foot means a large area of contact between your foot and the ball. Minor variations in placement have only a small effect on the accuracy of your kick.

The ball travels through the air point first, spinning as it goes which improves your accuracy and maximises the length of your kick.

How you do this kick

Player shows spiral punt starting position Spiral punt start

Player shows spiral punt finish position Spiral punt finish

See a spiral punt in the video on the main kicking page.

At about waist height, with fingers and thumb on seams over the ball and one hand under...

...hold it pointing slightly towards the ground, slanting like this '\' away from you, across your body.

Raise it to shoulder height then remove your lifting hand from under the ball.

The ball is now at arms length perfectly positioned for the kick as in the start image.

As you step forward to kick, the ball hangs there under your out-stretched fingers and thumb moulded to the shape of the ball.

Gently guide the ball down towards your foot, which is coming through to kick.

This helps you maintain the correct positioning of the ball.

As you are positioning the ball you are also stepping into the kick.

Your leg comes through and meets the ball...WALLOP!

You strike the ball with the bony part high on your foot, the part covered by your laces.

Point your toes and kick in a straight line towards your intended target. Encourage the ball to roll off this bony part of your foot and be helped in spinning with a flick from your toes.

Spin is applied naturally to the ball. No other effort is required. Your leg and foot are working like the whip turning a spinning top.

Experiment with the angle you hold the ball. That angle and where the ball strikes your foot determine the amount of spin.

When your foot strkes the ball determines how the ball travels.

If you let the ball get close to the ground before you kick, the ball will tend to travel lower flatter and further.

If the ball is high off the ground when you stike it with your foot, the ball will tend to go higher and travel a shorter distance.

Experiment with all the angles until you can make the ball go exactly where you want it to go.

Follow through so you are accurate and kick huge distances.

Practice kicking along straight lines on the field. This lets you know where the ball went compared to where you wanted it to go.

Soon you will be accurate and kick a long way.

Go for accuracy first. Putting the ball consistently where you want it is most important. Gradually you will kick further..

Close-up views of this spiral kick

Spiral punt, player`s foot about to strike the ball Spiral punt, foot about to strike

The ball would probably be better angled a bit more away from me but doing it specially for the camera affects my concentration!

Note the pointed toe presenting the bony mass of the foot.

Spiral punt, player`s foot strikes the ball Spiral punt, foot strikes

The ball does look to be too much across the foot. More angle would be better but most are good, long, accurate, spiralling kicks and this was no exception.

Main points

  • good rugby handling skills needed
  • avoid throwing the ball up, place it accurately on your foot
  • ball angled across foot

  • strike with bony top of foot, toes pointed
  • encourage the ball roll off the foot to create spin
  • follow through for accuracy and distance

Add to you kicking toolbox. Follow the link below to find and master the other kicks that will help you shine.