Today we’re going to talk about ball contact and where specifically you should hit on the ball.
Ball contact. First thing, a lot of guys are asking, “Where do I need to hit the ball with my foot and what part of the ball?”
Now, divide the ball into three sections – the top third, middle third, and the bottom third. You want to hit it in the bottom third of the football.
I’ve seen guys that hit dead-center on the football. That’s perfectly fine as long as you’re hitting it off of the kickoff tee. If you’re hitting it off the kickoff tee, you’re totally golden; no issue there. But, a lot of guys, whether they’re in a 1-inch or 2-inch, can get away with it, too, just because it’s raised up and you have more room for error if you are hitting it off of an actual tee.
The other thing to note is if you’re hitting off the ground, you don’t want to hit it dead-center because if you’re hitting it dead-center, you’re losing a lot of height. So, you want to hit a little bit lower than that.
Not too low where you’re getting a lot of spin. So it’s a happy medium between way-too-low and way-too-high. Way too high is when you’re hitting dead-center. Way too low is where you’re getting one of those high spins – it just keeps spinning but doesn’t actually have a distance.
Unless you have a crazy, big leg, you want to make sure you’re hitting it just at the bottom third of the football.
Hit the inside panel
Now, the other thing to note is if I’m a left-footed kicker, I want to hit the inside panel. We have four panels. The inside panel for me is the right quadrant facing me as i’m in my ready stance. If I’m a left-footed kicker and I come in to swing, I want to make sure I’m making contact on the inside part of the ball and driving through to the outside left panel. Swinging inside panel, finishing outside panel. It’s simply the opposite for right-footed kickers.
Now, I don’t wanna be hitting on the seam or way outside that because if I ever so slightly mess up my ankle or twist too much, the ball is gonna go way off to the right.
If I’m very disciplined in my approach and I’m hitting it in the right way like I should, this shouldn’t be an issue. I need to make sure that I’m focusing on the inside panel, just inside the seam. Even the seam I don’t want to hit because it isn’t a clean surface. If you hit it there, it’s technically hitting two different areas and will give you an X-ball
The cleanest part of the football is the inside panel and just under center. Same thing with punting, you don’t want to hit the seam. You turn it a little bit to hit that flat surface. For field goals, you want to hit just under center which is the bottom third of the football, on the inside panel. For righties, it’s the opposite panel.
Making ball contact easy
The easiest way to do this in practice is with every single field goal you have, make a spit mark. For me, I’m gonna make a spit mark just inside the panel, and that’s my target. Every single kick, I’m gonna focus on the spit mark and just drive up through that, through the outside left panel.
I’m just trusting that over and over again. I’m gonna make the spit mark every single time I can while I’m kicking. Same thing with kickoffs. I’m gonna have this exact point to focus on. So, whenever I’m kicking on the sticks, whenever I’m off the tee or holder, I’m able to look at that spot and visualize my target where I want to hit.
Trust your swing
Trust the inside panel. Swing through it. You’re gonna be golden. You’re gonna hit that X rotation because often, you get that X rotation when you hit outside the seam. Because, physically, if I hit on the outside part of the ball, it has to go the way it’s hit. At the very least, hitting the seam or outside panel leads to inconsistencies since it’s either a varying surface or around the ball. There’s less room for error when you hit the ball outside.
You’re gonna wanna hit almost dead-center, but not the seam. Just inside the seam so that you give yourself the best chance for a good foot-to-ball contact and a good pop.
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