An NFL Kicking Coach always aim to help out kickers. The only problem is, there are so few of them.
For years, kickers improve season to season in their performance. However, every season there is a game that brings up the question, “How are they getting paid to do that?” While kickers do not have a traditional hit and run as hard as you can mentality, they still have a unique skill that no one on the team knows how to do. Having an NFL kicking coach has become a topic of discussion for many teams. In this post we will highlight what they would do and how it benefits the teams.
Kicking a football is hard, it becomes easier when a coach can help the player. Quarterbacks, running backs, Lineman, Receivers, and anyone else on the field have a coach for them. This also bring up another question, why do kickers not have coaches? Well sit back cowboy, we shall address these concerns shortly.
Kicking Coach Responsibilities
A Kicking Coach has many different ways to improve the talent of a kicker. Coaches constantly work on Drills, pressure kicks, Ball Contact, Stretching routines, nutrition advice, and improving Consistency to help kickers become better. It is a coaches job to look for ways to better each kicker that starts to work with him or her. A proper coach has the ability to develop a kicker from an Undrafted one, into a top prospect for NFL teams.
While being a coach has its ups and downs, not having a good coach can damage the kicker’s ability to perform. In comparison, not having a coach at all is still worse than having a coach that only knows a few things. Essentially, a coach that knows how to asses weaknesses on film and help the kicker is all that is needed. Each coach has his or her own style of coaching, however, there does not have to be a perfect method to coach.
Having a coach becomes a true advantage when they have the kickers best interests at heart. It does come at a cost, the kicker must put their pride aside when some one else starts to instruct them how to do their job.
Kicking Coaches in The NFL
Collectively, the Teams in the NFL have absolutely taken advantage of adding kicking coaches to their teams. (Sarcasm) With 1 out of 32 teams having an NFL kicking coach on the staff, that begs the question what is going on? 3% of the teams in the NFL have a kicking coach, and they are the highest performing specialist group in the NFL.
Randy Brown, a former politician for New Jersey, part-times as a kicking consultant for a few NFL teams until staying with the Ravens a few years after starting part-time. At first, Brown helped the Philadelphia Eagles, and the Chicago Bears with their kicking game.
Eventually, The Baltimore Ravens welcomed Randy Brown to their team in 2008. Since then, he has molded multiple kickers, punters, and snappers into elite level players. Over the years, David Akers, Billy Cundiff, Sam Koch (punter), Morgan Cox, and Justin Tucker all became pro bowlers with the help of brown. Brown has been one of if not the only coaches in history to help guide the kicker, punter, and deep snapper all to the pro bowl together. Not only that, but brown is the only recorded coach in history to be there to specifically help out the kickers.
Clearly, Brown has helped the Ravens develop into elite status. Justin Tucker has gone 237/263 (90.1%) under Brown’s supervision. Likewise, Koch, went 43 yards per punt in 2006, 2007 he went 43.6, in 2008-2018, Koch averaged 45.8 yards per punt since Brown joined. That is not to say a kicking coach is needed but……. c’mon.
Randy Brown Continued
Mr. Brown has most definitely transformed the entire platform of the skill set. Not only are the raven’s specialists consistently performing head and shoulders above other teams in the league, the Ravens “Wolf Pack” has created an electric dynamic duo. Tucker almost always scores points when he steps on the field. Koch puts the ball within the 10…. A LOT, and Cox, he just snaps the ball beautifully. That special team’s combo has become match made in heaven. Most if not all of it would not be possible without the incredible, Randy Brown.
Becoming an NFL Kicking Coach
Now there are many hoops, hurdles, jumps, and obstacles in the way of getting noticed, let alone coaching in the NFL. In comparison, the league needs to search for ways of improvement. The main complaint for a lot of fans in the NFL is that kickers need to improve. If kicking was such an easy thing to do, it would be an easily obtained role.
That being said, kickers need coaches and coaches need kickers. Another argument would be if a coach did not help, then quarterback, receivers, lineman, and defensive backs do not need a coach. Likewise, a comparison should be done on a team with no coaches and a team full of coaches. Over the course of 16 games, there will be a clear difference between the coached, and non coached teams.
A well-coached team means the players take responsibility for their own actions. While a good coach can make their players hold themselves responsible, a great coach unites everyone towards the same goal. Great coaches bring out the best in their players so they reach unimaginable feats.
Becoming an NFL Kicking Coach Continued
Having an NFL coach as covered earlier, develops underperforming teams into an elite one with the right strategy. The same thing goes for a kicking coach. When a kicking coach starts to train a kicker, they look for both the strengths and weaknesses. come up with a game plan, and develop a kicker. It is essentially no different than a regular position coach.
So for the coaches who in the future, who will be a professional need to focus on the aspect of bettering their kickers and punters consistently. In the end, coaches want to see improvement. While that could mean many things, data is a great way to provide a coach with a better understanding of how to help their kickers and punters. Drills tracked by data provide a great bang for their buck in terms of progress.
Developing a Kicker
While there are many forms of ways to help kickers develop, becoming a coach that helps out in a unique way is important. The best coaches understand that there is no one size fits all approach to helping someone develop. Every person has their own way of learning, so understanding that is essential for helping them progress.
The development of a player can happen in many ways. The first way is the player completely falls in love with the process. They become so obsessed with their progression that they have no option but to prosper.
The second way a player develops is by allowing his or her failures to propel him or her forward into a gained skill. The main way people learn is by failure so when a kicker adopts the idea that failure leads to growth, good things happen.
Developing a Kicker Continued
The third way a kicker develops is when they do not believe in limitations. The human body typically reaches 40% of its potential. This is in relation to work ethic. I am not saying that if the max field goal a kicker can hit is 40 yards, that does not mean they can hit a 64 yarder (60% more of 40 yards) on that same day by trying harder. Development takes time, patience, and the willingness to keep going, no matter the obstacle.
The fourth way to develop a kicker is to demand excellence from them. People stop short of what they are capable of far too often. When the standard to excel becomes almost beyond the reach of human capabilities, compounded growth happens. People get soft thinking of relaxing on the couch after doing 50 push-ups. A dream becomes reality when that person works for it. That being said, a kicking coach can absolutely help take kickers to the next level.
Payment Structure for a Kicking Coach
As imagined, a kicking coach may not make heaps of money compared to a head coach. Therefore, kicking coaches should be satisfied making the same if not less than the averages of the other coaches on the team. While in the grand scope of things, they have fewer players to manage, their job is just as important.
Also, if kickers, punters, and snappers are not performing up to standard, they get let go. Being a kicking coach in the NFL could be a very real possibility in the near future. However, it is a matter of the league getting out of their own way to realize the value of kickers on their team.
Recently, the Chicago Bears performed the stunt where they brought in 9 different kickers. Then they measured nearly every metric imaginable. Right down to the velocity of the ball off the foot. While that is absurd to think about, some of it makes sense while also partially wild. Not many know what to think since that has most likely never been done before. Granted Cody Parkey made the Bears go a little overboard looking for someone who would not double doink. The sad thing is, Parkey is an incredible kicker, he just happened to have a bad game on a big stage. I guess that is professional football for you.
Probability of Kicking Coaches in The NFL
Quicker than one might imagine, the NFL might begin to bring in professional kicking coaches. However, most of the best ones do better on their own than they would do with a team. Also, they do not have to worry about getting fired when they are on their own. But to be perfectly clear, kicking coaches are long overdue to become staff members on every team in the NFL.
Are They Necessary?
A kicking is similar to a caddy for golf, or Yoda the mentor. Either way, they are there to help the kicker. Most kickers have developed their own style and perfected it over the years. But even then, the most elite players in the world are there to help them work out the kinks so when game time shows up, they are ready.
Now if you were to ask a group of NFL Kickers what their thoughts on having a designated coach there to help out, a majority would agree. Now the important take away has to be each coach has a different style. Since every coach does it differently, there would most likely be a screening process in order to find the best candidates for the job.
After screening, a final interview would be done with each coach in a practice with the kickers. Then the coaches would assess the teaching style. After the coaches come together and decide which one seems like the best fit for the position, they can proceed with hiring that specific coach.
Are They Necessary? Continued
The kicker can either become better or worse depending on a coach. Almost all kicking coaches that have a big name are good in some way. However, their method may not match the style of that kicker. Likewise, a good fit would be when a kicker develops and progresses into a more consistent kicker, both mentally and physically. A great coach brings out the best traits in their players and that should be an area of exploration for the professional football leagues.
Pros and Cons Of Kicking Coaches
- They Bring a second pair of eyes
- The skill set brings specific experience
- Their methods could bring a new ceiling for their kickers
- Potentially lower costs than traditional coach
- There is not a one size fits all coach
- That coach might not a good fit for that kicker
- limited to the amount of work they can provide to their kickers
A kicking coach could and should be the next greatest addition to an NFL team. Therefore, the future of the league and its ratings might improve by applying better and even more consistent kickers into the teams. Any advantage a team can have to help them win more games should be highly taken advantage of. For example, the Baltimore Ravens have an astounding special teams. That is possible not only because of Randy Brown but because of the already impressive players on the team. All randy did was take good kickers and made them great through small adjustments. If you enjoyed reading this article, please share this so we can continue to grow! Also, if you have any suggestions for what we should write about next, let us know!
Thanks for reading and stay amazing!
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