UPCOMING CAMPS & CLINICS
This gives you the angled approach that is favored by soccer-style kickers. This approach helps create rotational force in your motion, which can be transferred through the ball as you strike it, allowing you to create power in your kick.
It also enables you to strike the ball with the top of your instep, on the hard bone running down the top of your foot, as opposed to the toe-poke employed by straight-on kickers, allowing for added control. When you come to a stop after your setup, you should be positioned in this fashion reversed for right-footed kickers:. This creates the ready position, with your plant leg positioned in front of your kicking leg and your body facing the strike point.
Feet should be six to nine inches apart front to back and shoulder-width. You want a balanced platform that gives you the ability to make an athletic move. The next step is to get comfortable. Whether you are kicking in front of six people or 60,, all eyes are on you when you kick. No one is watching the offensive line.
No one is watching the holder. Everyone is watching the kicker. None of them are right, as each kicker is different in their mindset and approach to a kick.
Find something that focuses your energy toward the kick you are about to make. For me, I would first pick out a target just beyond the uprights as a landmark to focus on. In the frame below, the center of the scoreboard would make a good reference point:. Next, I would take a deep breath and shift my focus to my strike point.
Whether kicking a ball being snapped to a holder or off a stationary holder as pictured here , I would place all of my energy into visualizing the ball and where it was going to be. I tried several different methods before I finally settled on one that was right for me. If working with a full battery of long snapper and holder, the next move is to signal the holder that he may call for the snap, and then the kick truly begins.
The first step taken is a jab step with your plant leg. This is a shift of 6 to 12 inches to start momentum in the direction of the strike point and begin your path to the ball:. In the image above, my right leg is mid-way through my jab step as I start to approach the kick. My head is down and focused on the strike point. The second step is longer and builds on the momentum created by the jab step. It is not a jumping or lunging motion, but simply continues the acceleration towards the ball.
You do not want to have lateral movement at any point throughout your run-up, nor do you want to be bouncing. It is a smooth movement that moves you at an angle to the strike point so you can eventually turn that momentum into rotational force:. The above still is just after my second step has planted. I am now preparing for my final approach to the ball, and the crux of the process. The plant step is the most critical part of the approach. It determines whether the kick goes left or right, high or low, short or far.
The ideal plant step for a ball kicked from the ground will be six to nine inches from the ball, depending on personal preference, with the ball in line with the arch of your plant foot. For kicks off a one- or two-inch tee, the plant foot will slide back slightly to account for the extra height.
It is during the plant step that you begin to translate the linear force of your approach into rotational force, as the plant gives you a point to pivot around as you begin to swing your kicking leg forward:.
Here, my plant leg is firmly stuck in the ground, as I start to clear my hips and rotate through the ball. My head is down and focused on the contact point, as I look to make strong contact through the ball. Looking closely, you will note that the ball has a slight tilt away from the my body, as this helps to negate the hooking tendency that the soccer-style kick produces because of aerodynamic forces on the ball.
The contact point on your foot should be the hard bone on the top of your instep. The hard surface allows you to transfer the maximum energy possible through the ball, as you look to make contact with a point approximately two inches below the widest point of the ball. Striking below this point will result in a high, rapidly spinning kick with little distance, and striking above this point will result in a low line-drive kick with little height.
As shown below, my foot strikes just below the midpoint of the ball:. The follow through of your kick helps to give it direction and improve accuracy. It is up to you if you want to watch your defense or not. Most NFL punters and kickers are not very involved in the game. You have a job to do, which is to kick the ball consistently. If you get too worked up cheering your team on or too disappointed when things are not going well, your kicks will resemble the performance of your team.
This is especially bad if you are a punter and instead of being a weapon when your team is struggling you end up contributing to the total collapse.
I catch it, take my steps and while holding the ball lower than I usually would I lightly tap it back to them. I try to get a spiral and hit the person in the numbers.
I would do this until it gets to be a third down. During the third down, I will go up to the kicking net and hit 2 punts into the net. Place your plant foot about 4 inches farther back than you would have it on a regular kick.
Have someone stand about 5 yards from you. Without taking any steps, lightly tap the ball and try to hit your partner in the chest while achieving a good ball rotation.
Give yourself few bad holds on purpose — maybe 1 out of 4. You want to be prepared to make a good contact even if laces are in weird place or ball is leaning the wrong way. When your team gets closer to the field goal range take couple full kicks into the net. Throughout the game try to keep your body temperature elevated by moving around. Avoid standing in one place or sitting for two long. If you have a bad kick, give yourself a time period to be upset about it — about a minute is good.
Find a teammate, trainer, visitor, or anyone else who is on the sideline and is willing to hear you out. Tell them how upset you are about that kick and everything else that is going through your head.
As a kicker, your stats are posted after each game. People that were at the game and people that were not will judge you based on your numbers. Even your own coaches, when they look at the cumulative season numbers, will see that you were 8 for whatever on field goals and they will use that number when they talk to college scouts, or media, or all-state team voters, NFL scouts, etc.
What nobody remembers is that snap that bounced in the first game, and the one that was high in the homecoming game, and that time when holder missed a tee completely on a 40 yard attempt during the playoffs. You get my point.
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