Increasing Consistency For Field Goals
There are many variables when it comes to kicking. Be sure to remember that you can’t control the weather, how the snap will be, or what nice things the other team is saying to you. We can only control the controllable. Having consistency needs to be at the forefront of the kicker’s mind.
Having consistency comes down to your flexibility, preparation, and confidence. In time, these things will increase your consistency for Field Goals. And a word to the wise, there is no kick like the present one. No kick before or after matters as much as the one right now.
When we begin to think about how good/bad the last kick was, you are taking your focus away from now. Likewise, when you start to think about the future kicks without kicking the one in front of you, STOP. They haven’t happened yet so relax.
Throughout this post, we will dive deeper into the concepts of what makes kickers consistent. There are many moving parts in kicking so we will try to explain the core points so that you can benefit from the most important things.
Our goal is to help you get a few extra tools that you can use so you are as well equipped as you can be. The worst thing you can do is not be prepared, we will help you become more prepared for any situation on and off the field. Go get some popcorn, this is going to be wild.
Staying Mentally Strong
Consistency for field goals is a difficult task to master. Add in stress to the complications of kicking and it might seem too much. When there are tough times in our daily lives, we feel like we can’t go any farther. How is it that we can continue to keep going? When we get in a moment of high stress, it feels like the world is getting smaller. How do the successful push past these moments? Well friend, keep reading to find out!
It’s fine to visualize positive things when your team is driving down the field so that you’re ready. But please don’t take energy away from the task in front of you. It’s better to dedicate yourself to one task at hand rather than spreading yourself thin by thinking about too much. When this is done correctly, you should see a jump in your consistency. Simply put, visualization is great, in moderation.
It is best to simply visualize the kick/punt going perfectly and then stop there. When we try to imagine the perfect scenario, we almost always become let down.
Try to imagine how you feel when you make the kick going through the center of the uprights and stop there. Do not start to complicate it by thinking about the snap, hold, and the other variables. Focus on your job, visualize what you CAN do, not what you want to happen. Eventually, these small consistent habits will start to become routine.
“Small Things, Done Consistently, Add Up to Big Things in the Long Run.”Laura Vanderkam
Have Small Wins
It’s no secret that the most successful leaders in the world always do the little things right from making their bed, to washing the dishes. They do these things because they know that in order to create the life you want and achieve the success you want, small things must be accomplished. Believe me, these tasks can get tedious.
There are one million things you could do besides making your bed in the morning. However, when you start your day off with a task completed, your brain knows that you already have a win under your belt. This means that throughout the remainder of the day, that small act of making your bed will lead to better decisions throughout the day.
You may start stretching 10 minutes earlier than you usually do, eat an apple instead of apple juice, or start to listen to podcasts instead of the radio. Whatever the case may be, by earning small wins, your life in 1 year will be vastly different.
In the book the Compound Effect by Darren Hardy, he mentions how simply eating 125 extra calories a day from a harmless cookie equals an extra 875 calories in a week, 1 pound in a month, and around 12 pounds in a year. Not a big deal, but in 3 years, that’s 36 pounds. Just from something small as eating a cookie! In comparison, if you were to burn an extra 125 calories a day, just by doing some yoga, running, etc would lose 36 pounds in 3 years.
Another example would just be doing 50 punt drops, and 50 swings on-air each day. This is a very simple and achievable task. At the end of just one week, you would have done 350 more drops and 350 more swings. This is basically making you just a little bit better every day, that is what compounding is all about. You have to make small growth each day, no matter the amount.
When you get to the end of the year and remember when you were content with being average, you will be amazed that you were ever ok with that in the first place. Normal people do normal things which lead to normal results and lives. Likewise, great people do just a little bit more than the average person, daily. Be extraordinary, there is too much potential in you to just sit back and watch it go to waste. Find a use for your talents and you will be glad you did.
Consistency For Field Goals
When you practice/played in a game. Did you ever feel like something was out of the ordinary and you were not hitting the ball the same way? Did you feel as if your kicks just were not what they normally look like? Me too, and often times that is okay. However, we can eliminate these inconsistencies by focusing on doing the small things right in our day to day habits.
This goes back to making your bed, washing the dishes, and anything else that is seen as a pain. When you do the small things, your brain gets a small sense of satisfaction when you complete a task, a checklist of sorts. That’s why when you write something on paper and cross it off when it’s completed, you get a sense of accomplishment.
How Does This Apply To Kicking?
When you kick, stay disciplined during your practice on the things you have to work on. You should feel a sense of accomplishment when you finish those tasks. For example, when you know your ball curves to the left for a right-footed kicker, that typically means you swung across your body. Another thing would be to focus on Ball Contact. Not hitting the sweet spot of the ball leads to slight curves in the kick. Professional NFL kickers practice their Drills in order to get better at this consistently.
When practicing to eliminate a curving kick, your main priority is not to swing across your body. Draw a line straight through the ball for those visual learners (like myself). Whatever your weakness to work on. Spend a practice dedicating yourself to eliminating that one thing as best as you can so when you go home now seeing the improvement, you know that the next practice will be even better. In time, your consistency for field goals will increase as your ball flight is straighter.
Just Breathe Baby
Often times when we are tense and thinking a lot, we tend to breathe in a pattern that is only hurting us. So when the moment to kick clutch field goals arrives, we might not feel ready. One of the most proven methods for avoiding mental chatter is to simply breathe better. When you notice your thoughts starting to wander from a place of mental chatter, take a deep breath in for 5 seconds, hold for 5 and exhale for 5. Repeat as necessary.
There are many ways you can create a habit of relaxation because being tense during a kick will most likely result in 0 points on the board. I’m aware it’s not entirely possible to be completely relaxed all the time. There may be moments that are hard to prepare for. However, there is power in preparation. Being fully prepared let’s your body be ready for any and all circumstances that will arise in front of you. Make sure to breathe so you can increase your consistency for field goals.
Visualize and Attack
“beliefs become your thoughts,Gandhi
thoughts become your words,
words become your actions,
actions become your habits,
habits become your values,
values become your destiny.”
Far too often do we let our minds get in the way of how or what we want to achieve in life. That is why it is important to maintain a mental grasp on what it is that we want to achieve and how to get there. A great way to implement these ideas is when you are on the field, visualize the ball going through the uprights. As I stated in my last blog post, “Visualization is a key concept to improve consistency and effectiveness for field goal kicking, punting or life in general.”
Don’t just visualize the ball going through the uprights. Embrace the visualization, how pretty is the kick? How do you feel? What do you hear? Is the crowd cheering? Or did you just beat the other team at their stadium so it’s quiet? I could go on but you get the idea.
We all have more in us that we can achieve by mastering the mental game. To pair with that, when you pick your target to kick to, visualize the ball going to that exact spot. Not only will this increase your consistency for field goals, it increases your confidence. So, aim small miss small my friend.
Quality Is Better Than Quantity
I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.Bruce Lee
You can kick 100 balls a practice, each one is a prayer that you make it. And by the end of the practice, your legs are noodles……fun. OR, you can hit less than 40 kicks a day. Each kick has to be repeatable. The way we make a kick look the same way is by making our routine the same, and focusing on maybe 1 or 2 things that you are going to do to give you your best kick.
A Routine To Try For Increasing Consistency
Take 3 normal steps back, line up your ball spot with your foot and your target. After that, take a nice deep breathe through your nose and out through your mouth. After that, take 2 nice, normal steps to your side (left if a right, right if a lefty) Align your body with your plant spot. Take another deep breathe in as you “complete the triangle” between your target and ball (this is the second time where you should visualize the ball going through the uprights). Then, lock into the ball as you stay ready.
Routine for Consistency Continued
If you’re on Kicking Sticks, get in the habit of nodding if you don’t already. When the ball is snapped, approach the plant spot while keeping your eyes locked in on the ball. Strike the ball with the meaty part of your foot. Swing straight through the ball target line. Once done, watch as the ball soars through those beautiful yellow things (uprights).
That is a super quick overview of how a kick routine should go. Everyone is different but in order to increase your consistency for field goals, you must get more comfortable with your breath. I’ll take 35 good reps out of 40 rather than 50 out of 100. The reason for this, while you may hit fewer kicks, your consistency (what makes you a good kicker) is the way to keep your job in kicking.
Over the course of time, the Kicker who kicks 100 balls a day will start to change his form. When the session is over he/she might be pretty different than when he/she started. The final kicks in your session should be some of the best, not the worst. A great Kicking Coach mentioned, “Each kick is a live game rep.” As you build these consistent habits of kicking at game pace, that will make the real thing seem like no big deal. Now go forth and do great things, my friend. Just remember, when things get crowded, take a breath and swing. 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!