The field-goal might be one of the most intense four seconds of any player’s career. The reason being, most game-winning Field Goals come down to one person. If they do not make the kick, they will forever be known as the guy who missed the game-winning kick (Cody Parkey Double Doink). Focus needs to be an essential part of any kickers tool belt. Knowing the proper technique, strength, and mindset, The Kicker can then be fully confident with their abilities. This article will highlight what it takes to have incredible focused doing field goals. So sit back is your favorite egg of candy, and enjoy!
We have all been in a situation where I focus was not 100%. Often times, it simply comes down to not being ready for that moment. When you are ready for the moment, your mind shuts out all the noise and distractions. Focus is a muscle, only by stress, dedication, and hardship can the focus muscle grow. Unfortunately, Misses have to happen in order to have a better focus. That being said, if you each miss as getting one step closer to focus mastery.
The elite NFL Kickers have the strongest minds of all specialists. Watching them kick has shown to be an incredible teaching tool for those who are not there yet. For example, many people study Adam Vinatieri and how he approaches each kick. He knows that no matter the situation, he has control over his emotions and feelings. Many new kickers think that they need to absolutely hammer each kick.
This method has shown to be bad not only for that kick but for future kicks as well. Their muscles are in danger when put through extreme stress for very short amounts of time. In comparison to that, the mental stress it puts a kicker through does not help anyone. That kick and everyone following it will be tough for that kicker.
Likewise, The kicker should focus on having a smooth comfortable swing, people will easily over complicate kicking. Smooth is better, smooth is powerful. This concept relates to golf. Any pro golfer, no matter the distance, always seems to drive the ball with the same form and technique on every single sling.
This relates to muscle memory. Muscle memory creates recognized swing patterns for your body. So the next time the Kicker gets nervous, the body remembers how it always swings no matter the situation. We will address muscle memory later in this post.
When speaking of focusing, enjoy the way everything appears in the present moment. This means the way the wind feels when on the field. The way the crowd roars when your team scores, or even when you are about to make contact with the ball. The important thing to note, kicking a football requires tremendous focus. As with any sport, or position, kicking requires the kicker to dial into the present moment. That way, he or she can channel their Power to hit the ball with great Ball Contact. Through proper technique, drills, and mindset, the kicker can then enjoy the fruits of their labor.
A great Kicker embodies the importance of preparation. Preparation for any situation allows the kicker to adapt and overcome challenges easily. By understanding the proper way for the body to adapt and overcome challenges relies in the ability to push past comfort. Enjoy what the present moment brings. The present has so many lessons for us to learn. We just have to sit back and enjoy as they flow in. Kickers become so distracted by all of the glitz and glamour they forget how to focus.
Focus Continued… Again
Having focus not only increases game performance, but it also improves life skills as well. One thing to note, kicking does not have to be so complex. Kicking can be simple. Just by enjoying the process, and what it takes to get there is usually enough to improve dramatically. Many kickers think they have to completely love everything there is about football.
Personally, there are some things that I hate about football. No kicker likes a coach that goes for it on 4th down when they are well within field goal range. They might argue about the statistics proving that going for the conversion, has many benefits, they might still be better off getting the points. The important thing to remember, each Kicker has their own thing that they need to work on.
Moving forward, it is in the Kicker‘s best interest to find their natural swing cover then look for a Kicking Coach. A Kicking mentor has been there, done that, and knows what you need to improve. That being said, every kicker is different and does not always respond the same way to the same exact technique. Well, every kicker should strive to have the same technique as a professional, their body might not be the same body structure as a professional.
However, a Professional kicker knows how to make their kicking motion nice and smooth. So when a kicker lines up to replicate it, it may not be perfect. But, it will definitely be a great starting place for a beginning Kicker. Understanding the importance of simplicity goes a long way for field goals.
Do The Little Things Right
People over complicate Kicking, and often times do not allow their natural abilities to be the majority of their kicking motion. The main thing we want everyone to do, just make sure the momentum of your body gets through the ball efficiently.
Early on in the kicker’s career, they should be working on the big fundamentals and make a cake consistent. Now, as they get older, they already know the basic foundation. Therefore, The Kicker needs to know the small things that make a huge difference. Some of these examples may be, having the core engaged, making sure the hips aim towards the plant and flexing the kicking foot.
There are multiple other things that go into making a good cake, but the point being, kickers need to focus on the little things to make them great. Wednesday already learned how many steps back they should go, how many to the side they should go, they need something more to help them improve.
It might be difficult to boil kickers problems on one specific thing, but we have to start somewhere. One of the best things I learned when starting out, who is knowing what the ball flight meant as a made contact. For years I struggled with keeping my toe down in contact. The ball would come off as an x ball or one of those ugly sideways kicks that you see when someone has a miss-hit.
Do The Little Things Right Continued
It was not until I really started to hone in on my football contact that I was able to make any sort of improvements. For months I was conscious about my foot at ball contact. I would force myself to flex my foot at contacts of practice. Every practice I was kicking, I would focus primarily on that one day. If I did that I’ll practice, it was a good session.
I then took it one step further and found an even easier solution to keeping my foot pointed I contact. By simply repeating the phrase flex the calf, my toe would naturally point. That was when I realized simplicity almost always wins. Now when I need to work on something, I boil that specific thing into one or two words max. For the duration of that problem existing, that is my primary focus. I dial in on what I need to work on, and every practice until it gets fixed, I have laser focus towards that.
For example, I had a tendency to look up at my kick as soon as I make contact. This would force my body to become out of control in the bowl would result from that as well. Once I stepped my eyes back at the point of contact, I saw dramatic improvements in both power and overall Consistency.
Keeping the eyes at the Point of contact even after the ball leaves the foot, make sure the hips are in the ideal position. By doing this one simple thing, I saw how easy it made it for me to kick a field go. From that point on, I only worked on 1 or 2 things per practice. Keep it simple stupid!
How to Focus More
In the world of cooking, it can get easy to overcomplicate even the easiest things. Believe me, I would find ways to over-complicate an extra point. I never had any issues, but I made it harder than ever needed to be. My biggest issue was always being comfortable with live reps. It wasn’t until I really started to get live practicing, that I started to see dramatic improvements.
Just like with anything, the only way to overcome specific challenges, repeatedly put yourself in stressful environments. Pressure makes diamonds for a reason. It definitely was not easy, but I am so glad that I was hard on myself. Then, once you get really confident, kicking becomes even more fun. And then you start doing even better because you are having even more fun, so you perform even better!
How To Focus More Continued
Kicking needs to be fun or else you will quickly burn out, performance will slack, and playing time might be on the line. Enjoy the current moment, and allow the body to go through its natural motion. That could be the beauty of everything. Enjoy what it takes to be an incredible kicker. You are not a kicker, you are an athlete who kicks.
Therefore, enjoy the failures, the mess-ups, the misses. All of these moments provide additional strength moving forward. So next time you miss, do not view it as a bad thing, see it as one kick closer to mastering the craft. If you see your field goals as an opportunity to master the craft, extreme progress can happen.
Learn how to channel the student within and grow from each and every kick. True progress happens once you let go of your ego.
Do Not Be Afraid
Believe me, kicking can be extremely nerve-racking, but it can be beaten. When our nerves get the best of us, our bodies perform in ways that typically hurt us. Learning how to cope with stress can be a huge advantage. In one of my earlier posts, I spoke about the importance of Meditation and its benefits towards you.
When we meditate, our bodies relax and we can accept things for the way they are and our performance improves. There are many ways to relax, meditation might definitely be one of the best ways. But other alternatives; develop a Shark Mindset, having the proper Drills, having a kicking mentor, or even Stretching can relax you. While it might get overwhelming to do so many things, but develop it over time.
Do not allow yourself to become content with the way your performance gets. Content leads to slacking performances. Always strive to be the best version of yourself as possible.
Enjoy The Process!
Far too often, kickers get burnt out by doing the same exact thing over and over again. It definitely gets repetitive for some. But the best way to enjoy what you do is by challenging yourself with a goal. For example, see how many kicks you can make in a row. Or how many times you can repeat that exact same kick.
There are so many ways to develop the focus and make yourself the best version you can. Now finding your focus and how it can push you to develop comes down to you. Everyone has the ability to improve themselves and become better than they were yesterday.
The drive to thrive cannot be found through one video, it lies within. By doing the small things day in and day out. Wake up early, meditate, journal, stretch, visualize, and win the day! Become a master of your craft and the rewards will be plenty! Enjoy the process and win the dang day! 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!