Improve Your Kicking In 3 Steps - Quality over Quantity
Being a kicker may seem like a simple job. To truly be an elite or excellent kicker, the things you do outside of practicing kicks can take you to the next level. I have written before about how the psychological and physical aspects are important in preparation for game day, but how you practice can have an explosive effect on your on-field performance.
Here are three steps to immediately improve your kicking:
1. Understand the mistakes
You cannot fix your mistakes if you do not understand what you did wrong. The best way to understand your mistakes is to film your practice with a phone or camera. During or after practice, watch the film and see what you did. Was your footwork too slow? Did you plant your foot in a position that made you off balance? Film does not lie. Another suggestion is to have a kicking buddy. Someone with a greater or similar level of expertise in kicking can be a great influence on your performance in practice.
2. Practice the undervalued aspects of kicking and special teams
If you are the kicker at your school, odds are you fulfill kickoff and/or punting roles as well. Kicking field goals is without a doubt the most glamorous part of kicking, but working on different kickoffs (squibs) or punts (pooch) can drastically improve your versatility in the kicking game. Outside of kicking, work on your role as a tackler on punt and kick returns. Oftentimes, you’ll be the last line of defense against a speedy returner. You don’t want to become the next viral sensation by getting stiff armed into next week by a 5’9” speedster.
3. Practice the undervalued aspects of kicking and special teams
Every kicker loves to kick for distance. But practicing 50 yard field goals over and over is just going to burn out your leg. Working on extra points and 30-39 yard field goals can dramatically up your field goal percentage. In a close game, an extra point or a chip shot field goal can mean the difference between winning and losing.
Lastly, one extra piece of advice not just for kicking and football, but for life, is to break bad admits. Ron Coluzzi, co-founder of Coluzzi Kicking and former punter at Iowa, works with athletes and uses non-kicking drills to improve footwork and balance.
“When bad habits form, it’s hard to break them,” said Coluzzi.
The best way to avoid bad habits and therefore poor mechanics is working on the fundamentals. Non-kicking drills such as the bench drill, line drill and contact drill can improve your form and kicking mechanics. At the end, kickers and punters get fewer plays than other positions to make a difference. You never know what drill or skill you work at will end up paying off.
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