If you want to improve as a kicker and punter, there are a few ways to do that. Throughout this post, I will highlight as many ways as possible so you can start getting a lot out of this post. While all of this information is great, it really starts to benefit you after taking action. So while I’m all for sharing information, it would be best if you make a plan on improving and take action on it. If all it took to get six-pack abs was just learning about it, everyone would have a six-pack. It’s through the daily practice of showing up and getting after it that ultimately leads to your personal development. So with all of that in mind, here are 13 ways that you can improve as a kicker and punter.
1. Proper Eating and Water Consumption
While this is a topic covered in one of my other blog posts, Nutrition is and always will be a really beneficial part of your performance as an athlete. To go with proper eating, adequate water consumption will also provide a boost in performance as it improves flexibility, recovery, and overall mental clarity. There are a plethora of benefits that come will both proper eating and water consumption. The easiest thing to do when beginning a switch from traditional junk foods like soda, candy, chips, pizza, and cookies is to find an alternative for that junk food. Instead of soda try flavored or carbonated water, fruit for candy, rice cakes for chips, cauliflower pizza, and protein cookies. These also might not be perfect but it’s a great way to start changing your eating patterns.
Some good rules of thumb for better eating habits is to focus on adding both more veggies and protein to your diet. They are the foundational building blocks of a high-performing athlete. There are benefits to carbs and the best sources/timing to eat them but for the time being, we’ll keep it simple and strictly focus on your veggie and protein intake.
Affordable protein sources could be chicken breast from a wholesale store like Costco or Sams Club, Walmart, or Aldi. In that order, we’ve seen that the bang for your buck works out great since you get a lot for a lower price. Ground turkey beef, tuna, eggs, egg whites, greek yogurt with no added sugar, cottage cheese, ground beef, black beans, and whey protein, are all great sources of protein. Some might be more than others but you can absolutely get a lot of protein for a reasonable price. The frozen section tends to have a little bit better pricing. Convenience is what makes things pricier. The easier it is to make ready, the more pricey it is.
With frozen vegetables, the same principle remains. The frozen section will almost always have a more affordable assortment of frozen veggies. It’s best to get the mixed variety as it adds more flavor to your meals, gives you more options to work with, and doesn’t get boring as fast.
Meditation has been known to bring a sense of calm and serenity to practitioners. Through meditation, you can remove anxiety and stress through a variety of breathing methods. All of which are able to better your mind to perform at a higher level in practice in games. A really effective practice to help improve as a kicker and punter is mindfulness meditation. Essentially, you practice being aware of your thoughts as if you were watching them pass by on a cloud or train. You simply acknowledge them as they pass and let them go. Another way this is referenced is noting. If a thought pops in your head, you can simply make a mental note like “thinking” or “feeling” and immediately after paying attention to the thought, center yourself back to the present. another way mindfulness meditation is practiced is by focusing on your breath. By either focusing on each tiny detail of air going in and out of your lungs or simply placing your hand on your stomach, that is another great way to remove thoughts from the equation. Meditation isn’t about removing thoughts, it’s about being aware of them and knowing you’re thinking. After a few sessions of mindfulness meditation, you will begin to notice the difference. It will start out small like looking at something without judgment or thought of “that cake looks good but I shouldn’t try it because I already ate a lot” Three minutes later you’re thinking about how you always eat more than you should and that’s why nothing works out quite as you planned. The point being, when you simply become mindful of your thoughts that enter your brain and simply acknowledge your environment without judgment, that eventually turns into, “that’s a cool looking cake.” Then you move on without further judgment or thought. Some great apps to try out for meditation are
Another amazing form of meditation (and my personal favorite) is the Wim Hof Method. DISCLAIMER: do not do in a body of water, while driving or any other circumstance where passing out can cause injury. Now that you know, here is the method: The Wim Hof Method places a focus on deep breathing to pump your body with oxygen so you can “supercharge” your body and fill it will blood. You start by breathing in fully and letting the breath go. No need to fully exhale, just letting go. After 30 breaths, let all the air out of your lungs and hold for as long as you can. After you feel the need to breathe, take a deep breath in a squeeze your whole body. After 15 seconds let go and begin again, that was one round. Most first-timers have been able to hold their breath for 1:30 or even up to 4 minutes or more after about 4 rounds of 30 breaths. If you want to see a further explanation of this, check out one of my previous blog posts here.
3. Visiting Kicking/Punting Websites
Websites are something that most kickers and punters overlook. While they may take more time to pull information from, websites tend to be more detailed. As each inch of a topic can be dissected where a video might connect with a certain group of viewers, most people want the information quickly. A website allows the reader to skim through the post to find what they need or read the whole article to get all of the information needed from it.
There are a few websites that readers can use to improve as a kicker and punter. While I have never used most of their services, a quick glance at their site it is clear the some of the information is scarce with the ultimate goal of trying to get you to do a private lesson with them or pay them for some type of service. I won’t be able to recommend any websites in this section only because I don’t know the end goal for most of the kicking and punting coaches out there. That said, I aim to be as honest and transparent as possible. Recommending something that I’ve never used goes against my core principles.
Granted there are some absolutely fantastic kicking and punting coaches in the world, but the best ones I know are one’s many of the kicking and punting community have never even heard of. Mainly because they’re both not in it for the fame or the money. They genuinely love helping the kickers and punters improve.
That being said, Kickersofearth.com has almost every topic an athlete can think of in it for the reader to benefit from in their kicking/punting journey. The beauty of it is, it’s all free for you to consume. The tricky part is taking action on the free information that’s put out into the world.
4. Studying The Professionals
There are so many professionals that are on social media now and it is easier than ever to see what they are doing with their form/technique to attempt to replicate it yourself. The main thing is to find a professional that you want to replicate or pick a few things that you like about their technique. Here are a few recommendations of people to follow for professional kickers and punters:
All three of these channels are great in their own way. They all have varying pieces of content around kickers and punters in all ranges of the game. Michael black is a talent spotter for college football games. He has film of just about every talented college kicker in his feed somewhere. On top of that, he has film of every current NFL kicker on his feed as well. Definitely, a guy to follow. Nick Novak is a former NFL kicker who now is a kicking coach out in California. He has proven that he pumps out talent as Jason Myers is one of his clients who has been having record-setting seasons ever since going to Nick. Tristan Vizcaino has been doing exceptionally well under Novak’s wing as well. A large variety of high school through NFL kicking and punting film is on his channel. Give him a follow to see some great content.
Visualization comes in a few different ways but a lot of professional kickers and punters attribute this towards a large portion of their success. Adam Vinatieri has mentioned he would take a football to the hotel room the night before a game and just do kicks with the ball propped up against the bed to work on contact. Visualization can be mental or physical by feeling it. More important than anything is you see it in your mind before it happens. How do you expect something to happen if you haven’t seen it first in your mind? By visualizing something you desire to become a reality, you make it that much more likely to happen simply because you have seen it.
A good practice is to close your eyes for 10 minutes, imagine with as much detail as you can, the perfect kick or punt. When I mention detail I’m talking about crowd noise, the color of the grass, your heartbeat, breath, contact feeling on your foot hitting the ball, your body posture throughout the kick, and the way your teammates cheer when the ball goes through the uprights, all of that and even more if able. It all plays a part because it makes it that much more real. Again, the more detail you can add, the more your brain believes this needs to become your reality.
A really underrated but valuable way to improve as a kicker and punter is to stretch. Stretch when you wake up, stretch when you go to bed, stretch when you don’t feel like it, stretch when you do feel like it. Stretching is something that everyone knows they need to do but doesn’t, why? Why don’t most people do it? It comes down to one thing, they’re lazy. If you’re going to watch Netflix, you might as well stretch while doing it. If you’re short on time, take 10 seconds to stretch both legs out in some way. If it’s important to you, you’ll find a way, if not, you’ll find an excuse. Some stretches to get you going are the side and front splits. To me, those give you about the most bang for your buck. Another one to try is called “the world’s greatest stretch” That one gets a vast majority of the stretches as well. But to be fair, I could give you 100 stretches, and maybe 10% of the readers would do them so let’s just stick with those three for now. Don’t think you need to get parallel with the ground on day one. Just work to get a little deeper each day. Breathing is massively important here as it helps you work through some of the tight muscles you might have. If you feel like you’re unable to go further, take a deep breath, see if you can push yourself a little bit more then relax. Lastly, drink plenty of water. Your muscles are being worked in a new way so no need to make it harder on them to recover. As mentioned earlier, water helps you recover faster and simply makes your body happier.
By putting thoughts on paper, our minds are able to see what was once a problem from a third-person view. When you journal, you are removing yourself from the day-to-day minutiae. That way, you are putting all of your thoughts, feelings, emotions, fears, best moments, and everything else down on paper. After about 10-30 minutes of journaling, you will start to feel inspired, confident, calm, and have a wide variety of other emotions. This is a cool feeling for those that tend to overthink and want to improve as a kicker and punter. Ultimately, a lot of benefits come from journaling but again, it’s best if you grab a pen and paper, go in a room so you won’t be distracted by your phone or other noises, and just write the first thing that comes to mind. After some time, you will find that thing you once saw as a hurdle is now seen in a completely different perspective.
Now you are able to do online journaling but it’s best to do freehand. By doing it on the phone you are essentially disconnected from the material you are writing. You don’t have to think so much when you journal on your phone. Therefore, writing in a journal takes longer since your hand isn’t able to write at the same pace as you can text. While doing freehand, you’ll need to be more selective about what you put on paper so, in essence, your brain works more to decide what to write. Try it now, grab a pen and paper, and see what thoughts pop in your head. Write about where you want to be, what you’re grateful for, what you’re afraid of, and whatever else you want to. At the end of the day, week, month, and year re-read through the entries to see if you can find any common themes or messages. Oftentimes, you may find the answer you’re looking for was right in front of you the whole time. The hardest thing about journaling is to not let anyone read it. This is yours and yours alone.
8. Tracking Your Kicking and Punting Results
By tracking your kicking and punting results, you are able to see what things, if any, need to be worked on so you can sharpen your ax. If your statistics say you struggle from 40 yards right hash, a bulk of your kicks should come from 38-42 yards on the right hash and or side of the field. Leave no stone unturned and be really numbers-driven here. As you look through your results, pick apart anything that looks odd. If you notice you hug the right upright on 70% of your kicks, you might need to either aim a little more left than you think moving forward or clean that up using some accuracy drills. After some time of tracking and reviewing your results, you’ll see your inefficiencies become just as good or better than the rest of your kicks. Soon enough, you’ll be kicking with confidence no matter where you are on the field. When the session is done, simply write down how you felt, what was something you felt like you improved on, and any other notes you wish to include. Now there are about 3 quality ways to track your kicking and punting depending on what you’re looking for. You’ve got:
Each has its own benefits. Kick Tracker is simple and easy to use, Simple kicking is free and allows you to see your performance of kicks throughout the session. Lastly, the art of kicking journal is for those who are really serious about improving as a kicker and punter. This includes a tracking element much like both apps, a journaling section to see how your session went and if your mindset played a role in that. There’s plenty of gold in the journal and it’s also great that it’s a paper version so it’s tangible to walk around with and hold. Simply put it in your kicking bag or put it somewhere you’ll see it each time you kick like your locker and start making great strides in your kicking and punting abilities.
9. Watching Youtube Videos
There are surprisingly quite a few good youtube channels out there to improve as a kicker and punter. Below are some of the recommended youtube channels:
Hangtime for a day in the life and vlogs of a very high-level collegiate punter
Caden Novikoff for kicking/punting tips and the path to the NFL
Proform Kicking for kicking instructional videos
Deestroying For a lot of variety from an athlete who kicks
Kohls Kicking to watch high performing kickers and punters compete
Punt Factory for punting instructional videos
Isaac Parks for punting instructional videos and vlogs
Kickers Of Earth for all things kicking and punting related
Each of these youtube channels are great in their own way. They all have something that is valuable to the kicking and punting community. So feel free to subscribe to each of them as they all have something to give back to the community to help you improve as a kicker and punter.
Unfortunately, there aren’t many books on this topic which is a shame since a lot of kickers and punters simply don’t have the funds or opportunity to get coached consistently. Books are simply my favorite possible investment.
The ability to purchase something someone took years or decades to learn and be able to start taking action on it within days is mind-blowing to me. For less than $1 (if you get it at a thrift store) or still an extremely reasonable price of $20 you can learn massive amounts of information that is oftentimes someone’s life work.
Did you know one of the greatest books of all time, think and grow rich, took over 20 years to write. You can read it in a week. Books should really be priced in the hundreds or thousands of dollars based on how much value they bring. The truth is, only a small percentage of the world will read and an even smaller percentage will take action on it.
A good book that I read when I was in college that changed my perspective on things like nerves and learning to breathe through stress was The Mental Athlete by Kay Porter.
But if I had to recommend a book that isn’t about kicking at all but actually for golf is Zen Golf by Joseph Parent. A great book that is the closest thing to relating to the specific sport of kicking and punting that I’ve ever come across.
The only kicking and punting-specific book that I can put my stamp of approval is The Art Of Kicking. Amazon is also offering a free 30 day trial on Kindle Unlimited so you can read the E-book of The Art Of Kicking entirely free. The art of kicking covers every inch of the material needed to succeed at a high level in kicking and punting. Drills, workouts, the mental side of kicking, technique, there’s even a section covering what the professional kickers and punters have done to improve their game to the next level.
I do want to mention, there are a few other kicking and punting books that I have not read on amazon so by all means give them a look as well if the spirit moves you.
11. Drill Work
This is one I’m sure no kicker or punter was expecting to have mentioned in this article. Drills can be summed up in one sentence, “Drill work is the ladder which allows you to step higher to your goals the more you do them.” In James clears book Atomic habits he talks about goals versus systems. The end goal is simply something that we desire to happen like winning the game, scoring a touchdown, kicking the game-winning field goal. But the system is what allows you to get it to that place. In order to win the game, you have to make sure your offensive line is blocking correctly. But even before that, in order for the line to block correctly, they have to be taught to do the small seemingly unimportant things to perfection.
This goes all the way back to the practices and even pre-practice. Are they tying their shoes the right way so they don’t have to think about them during the practice? Are they getting enough water so they don’t have to sit out for a majority of the practice from a cramp? Have they been stretching in to make sure that they don’t risk injury? Have they been practicing their pass block drills to make sure when game time comes it’s muscle memory? All of the small seemingly unimportant things that are done on a daily basis are actually the most important thing because that’s what ultimately decides who wins when it comes down to the wire.
In the kicking and punting world, drill work refers to no steps, one steps, contact drills, last-second field goal drills, and anything else done to work on a specific aspect of your kicking and punting. And the reason why professional kickers and punters are where they’re at is that they do all of those seemingly boring, unimportant things that many people don’t like to do like drill work. They spend a vast majority of the time doing it because they know when they get nervous in a game they fall back on their habits. And if they’ve spent the months or years building up good habits through their drill work, they have nothing to worry about. Likewise, if all someone does is rely on their talent alone, it can get disastrous pretty quick simply because they neglected all those years of drill work.
12. Private Coaching
There are a lot of private coaches in America and even internationally. And if you live in the vicinity of one and or have the funds to do so, you are very fortunate! Having a private coach is a great way to get live feedback from a credible source who has either played at a high level, or has been taught by someone who has. So one thing to keep in mind when getting coached is, have they played either collegiate/professional football? If not, have they coached players who have? Because the thing some coaches do is watch a few videos somewhere on youtube, start calling young kickers up, and calling themselves a coach. The issue here is they’re going based on opinion and not proven results. It was something that worked for them many moons ago. Now if they start teaching that to hundreds of kids, injuries start to happen. Eventually, surgeries get involved so that coaching session that was $100 starts becoming $5000+ So please be selective about who you want to have coaching you. I am fortunate to work with a kicking coach where we bounce ideas off of each other and tweak our teachings to see what resonates the most with kids and have 5 different ways to say the same things. This goes a long way when coaching as it’s not a one size fits all approach. So, fortunately, we are able to refine the teachings to be more effective for our students to become better while also staying safer.
13. Form Reviews
This is a newer concept that has come around in the kicking and punting Community. The goal of this is to save the kicker and punter a lot of money by offering quick and simple solutions to the things they are working through. Essentially the kicker and or punter will send in film and the coach will respond with a short video providing pointers and critiques on how to improve as a kicker and punter. The price range here varies widely as some coaches charge upwards of $70 for a few minutes of feedback. I recently partnered with someone who has made this whole process extremely easy and cost-effective for kickers and punters. If you or someone you know would like to send in some film to improve as a kicker and punter, just check out this form review link.
So those are 13 ways you can improve as a kicker and punter. if you enjoyed this article, leave a comment below about what part was your favorite. I look forward to hearing from you and let me know if there’s anything I can do to help you on your journey to becoming the best kicker and punter you can possibly be.