I wanted to make this article to describe how to find your kickoff steps and the basics of getting it down in your tempo. Basically, even if you do have your kickoff steps down, maybe this gives you some more guidance and reassurance on something you can do a little bit better to improve your kickoffs.
In terms of finding your kickoff steps, maybe a lot of you just kinda wandered back to a random spot and just went. For me, what I was finally taught later in my high school career is to line up facing away from the tee, going to where you’re normally going to plant.
A good rule of thumb is to aim your body, hips, shoulders, and feet, about 45 degrees between the tee and the sideline. Right in between is where you should face.
What should your kickoff tempo be?
Now, the tempo is 1-2-3, 1-2-3-4-5. Or 1-2, 1-2-3-4-5. You could do a million other ways, but that is a very good and consistent way to get it down. Personally, I know I take a jab with my right, and then a left foot step, and then I get into the 1-2-3-4-5.
If you do a jab, it will be a 1-2, then 1-2-3-4-5, where you’ll land on your plant foot. Otherwise, if you don’t take a jab, it will be 1-2-3, 1-2-3-4-5.
It depends on what you prefer. Typically, I like to jab because it’s a smooth transition into a field goal. It feels the same because I don’t kick a field goal where I skip the jab step. But, that’s just me though. You can do whatever.
What’s it going to look like is feet, shoulders, everything pointing about 45 degrees. I take my first step, 1-2, 1-2-3-4-5.
The trick is I’m not speeding up super fast at the end. You should keep a smooth tempo, and try not to blast through the ball. We’ll do it one more time. 1-2, 1-2-3-4-5.
So, from here, I will take my side steps, 1-2-3-4. Then, I go up, 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9. Imagine that? My kickoff steps are 9 and 4; I’ve always done that, and that is what is natural for me. (Watch the video for reference)
After you find your kickoff steps
Now that you’ve found your kickoff steps, you go back to your spot, and you are ready to roll. Just do the exact same thing you did, practicing, going to where you’d actually be kicking from.
Tempo is key. Don’t try to run full speed at the last second. Keep everything nice and smooth.
Stay low with your kickoff steps
Another thing to note is to go in in low, like an airplane, and when you make contact, come up through the ball. So, again, stay low and explode up through the ball like an airplane taking off. It’s a good thing to think about for both field goal and kickoff.
Just because you’re farther back doesn’t mean you need to run much faster. It’s just a longer field goal technique. Everything stays the same. The only thing that changes is your swing; hurdle through because you want to transfer that momentum and carry you further downfield.
No more of this “I’m farther back, I’ve got the wind in my back, too. Let me just freaking rip it.” Keep it smooth. Keep it controlled. Trust your swing, and let it rip.
So, I hope you liked this article. If you did please share it with someone else!
If you haven’t already, check out the resources page for more tools to help you on your kicking/punting journey. Also, I made an E-book Called “The Art Of Kicking” That will cut your learning curve in half if you take everything you’ve learned from it and apply it!
Until next time!