The Right Way To Develop a Routine for Kicking and Punting
Golfers need patience, repetition and focus in order to excel. The same can be said about football kickers. The similarities and metaphors between the preparation and routine of golfing and kicking is extensive. For example, you could think of your kicking leg as a golf club. You must choose the correct club for the length of your shot. In terms of kicking, deciding how much power you will kick with is just like choosing the proper club. For a 50 yard field goal, you will need to pull out your driver and let it fly. But the biggest similarity is developing a routine. Kicking and golfing can be repetitive at times, therefore, it is important to maintain your level of intensity from swing to swing or kick to kick.
Players in all sports have routines. Whether it’s retying your batting gloves at the plate or bouncing the ball three times at the free throw, all athletes have little quirks that help them perform better. Ron Coluzzi, former Iowa punter and co-founder of Coluzzi Kicking, had a routine of his own that helped him focus.
Before each punt I would set my feet on a line to my target, then I would lick my fingers and rub my hands together to catch the ball,” said Coluzzi. “Then, I would look at the snapper and the ball, rotate my shoulders in a clockwise motion and in my mind say ‘Eyes down, lock out toe’ and let it rip.”
Finding what works for you is an essential part of being able to focus on the kick and block out distractions. While golf is a much quieter game than football, it still can be tough to focus on the ball and nothing else. As part of your routine, you need to know what do when your not kicking. As you walk the course, it is important to stay in the game while also feeling relaxed. On the sidelines, find whatever keeps you loose and calm. For Coluzzi, that included chewing gum and talking with other players. He also remembered to stay warm for whenever he was called on.
“I would hit a ball whenever I was feeling stiff,” said Coluzzi.
Maintaining a high level of performance while having long periods of downtime is difficult. Only having a few chances per game makes your readiness all the more vital. As a golfer, you do not just practice at the driving range. You practice all types of shots and go to the putting green. As I have mentioned before, a kicker cannot just work on field goals. While kicking field goals is by far the most glorious part of the position, kickoffs and punts are fundamental in their own way. Becoming elite at kickoffs and punts can have a large effect on field position and the game overall. Regardless, build in kickoffs and punts to your kicking routine because they are crucial to your performance on the field. In implementing your practice plan, consider many factors in how you should maximize your workout. Get a routine together that takes into account the amount of reps, workout time, rest time and other drills. Find what works for you and stick to it.
It can be hard to have an individualized routine while trying to learn and imitate from the greats. My advice is learn from the routines of kickers and add your own drills, elements and ideas to maximize your practices and on-field excellence.
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