How Did I Begin?
What makes a good field goal Kicker? It takes some time but Consistency is key. When I was about 12 years old, I found my way into kicking field goals and I was not consistent at first. (not at all) But eventually, through the corny, “hard work and dedication.” I got the opportunity to play at a division 1 level. Even though when I started I had little to no knowledge of how to kick the pigskin.
There are many things that I learned throughout this crazy journey but one thing is for sure; when passion and drive come together, you will find a way to make it happen. I am grateful for the lessons that I learned throughout the years as it made me become the man I am today.
That is an important lesson for all kickers and punters. If you ever wanted to grow, you have to mess up. If you make a lot of mistakes and learn from them, it would benefit you more that way, than never making a mistake. While it is not fun to fail, you need to learn from your experiences no matter the situation. So get up fail fast, fail often, and move forward!
Why Field Goals?
Kicking Field Goals is a much harder task than most people think. As a result, it is really funny to watch the most confident non-kickers essentially kick a ball backward. Partially because they have never done it before or they are wearing football cleats that are not designed to hit a ball before. It is a blast to watch the lineman kick during practice. They would line up for a 35-yard field goal, and to my surprise, hit it to the sideline. But dang do they look hilarious in the moment. Many other reasons factor into why it is so difficult but there are some certainties; confidence is key, Stretching is quite helpful, and water tastes good.
Now by no means is there a one-stop-shop for all of your kicking requirements. Everyone is different and technique varies from person to person. I am in no way telling you to do everything I am saying. I am simply recommending methods that are going to benefit you. If you are ever feeling like you are in the same spot for months in a row, I hope that I can be of some assistance to you. There are some great tips that could apply to anybody out there at no matter the age or experience level. I hope this channel will bridge that gap to become an overall better player.
Visualization is a key concept to improve consistency and effectiveness for field goal kicking, punting or life in general. Taking a moment to dial into what you want to happen and how it is pictured in order to achieve it is an immensely underrated skill set.
This is because a lot of people (including myself) think that just pure raw talent will get you far without any extra preparation required. The greatest kickers that have ever played say time and time again that they are successful because of their preparation.
They spend hours in the day simply mentally visualizing the ball going through the uprights. Before you even lace up your football kicking cleats, that should put you in a mode of positive visualization. So when the actual moment happens, you are more than ready! Check out the article on our recommendation for the best football kicking cleats. The best cleats for football kickers will help you be more comfortable on the field. Again, check out our recommendation for the best cleats for kickers.
We all know that there are so many footballs that we can kick before our legs turn into noodles. Visualization requires 0 physical effort and complete focus. That is why it is important for us to mentally prepare, it is just us and our thoughts in these moments. When the real moment comes to knock that pigskin through the yellow things, your body is ready. It also helps you focus on the actual moment because you spent so much time focused on what it would feel like in your head. Whenever the actual moment shows up, you have put in the work, just swing and watch the ball fly.
Your team is tied 36-36 in the national championship and you have already made 5 field goals in the game. Naturally, you already feel like you can walk on water. I mean at this point you feel like you can make an 85 yarder with 15 yards to spare. Your leg feels good and you do not feel like any other preparation is needed since you have already had a great game up until this point.
Your coach asks you to go out and seal the deal on a 32 yard left hash chip shot. The snap is perfect, hold, perfect but you got complacent and left your hips open and missed wide. Then the opposing team marches down and makes their kick right down the middle from 32 left hash. (Not Fun For You) Now let us assume we can travel back in time and redo that kick, would you be a bit more focused this time around? The answer is obvious.
Imagine This Continued
The reason for this happening is you may have lost focus on the moment and you were riding the high of having a record game. We all get complacent sometimes, that is a completely normal thing to do. However, what is not okay to do is know that you are doing it and continue to allow it to happen.
Discipline is such an important skill set to have so when you are on the field, it will translate into your performance. Remaining disciplined is in your stretching routine, kicking when your offense crosses the 50, not skipping any Core Workouts, (especially not Leg Workouts For Kickers) or not over-kicking.
Kicker workouts are definitely overlooked so do everything you can to keep your body in peak physical condition and maximize distance! There are so many things we can get complacent with in football so if we are not careful, it can bleed into our performance. Be careful about what you focus on and just keep it simple!
Simplifying Field Goals
So when we say use visualization, we mean picture what you want to happen, how it feels to do that, then simply let it happen. A great example of this is before you get out on the field for a kick, visualize the ball going right down the middle. Along with having plenty of height and distance going through the uprights. Keep things simple and try not to overthink things or you might suffer from analysis paralysis. (When you think about something so much when the moment comes, you freeze up) Keep it simple and you will be perfectly fine.
2. Have a Routine
I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.Bruce Lee
Consistency = Predictable Results. It has been proven time and time again that the highest performers in any field have incredible attention to detail. They practice in every condition thinkable in order to prepare them for any situation. When training, do not do what is easy, do what you know will prepare you for any situation.
Adam Vinatieri, the greatest kicker in NFL History has an extremely consistent swing. That’s why the Adam Vinatieri Salary is so high. He uses the right kicker workouts to be the best version of himself.
For example; try to kick field goals into the wind whenever you get a chance. You really have to hit a clean ball with good contact in order to drive a ball through the wind. And if there is a crosswind, play the wind a bit. Never try to aim outside the uprights because if the wind stops and you are aimed way out, That is a recipe for disaster AKA, No Bueno.
Whatever your routine is, make it consistent. Make sure you are in the same spot each time you are in a set position. Make it a point to look exactly the same on camera each time you kick from line up to kick. When you get to the point that you are doing all of the little things right, you will see a huge jump in your consistency.
Using The Breath To Your Advantage
We all have moments of stress but learning to adapt to stress and use it as fuel will propel you forward. When there is a moment when you feel like your heart is starting to beat, breathe deeply. When you get to a point where your thoughts are running around like a hamster on a wheel, breathe deeply. There is so much power in our breath but learning to use it as a weapon can calm you in even the most stressful environments. The type of breath should be a hearty 5-second breath, hold for 5, and release for 5. You can do this as many times as you want but the recommended amount is at least 3 times.
After a while, you may notice that you are more relaxed in the small moments. When you are mad because you missed a kick, breathe. When you get frustrated when you have to kick from the 20 after a safety, breathe. Likewise, when you get upset when your favorite kicking shoes get dirty, just breeeeaaaatheeee.
3. Do The Little Things Right
How often are you Punting or Kicking and it is just not your day? Sometimes it is just one of those times where mother nature is like Dikembe Mutombo. The wind constantly blocking your ball from passing through the uprights is the most fun thing ever! (Sarcasm) No matter the weather conditions, a strong mentality is needed in order to conquer these times. Establish a set of principles of simple, attainable warm-ups, Stretches, and guidelines so you will see your consistency for field goals to increase.
Before You Start Kicking Full Field Goals
When doing warm-ups for field goals, it is best to start with static long hold poses in order to get all angles of the leg warm. After that, moving into dynamic stretches will get the blood flowing. Following that, you can start hitting no steps which work Ball Contact and leg swing. After that; 1 steps, again, working on moving the body through the kick and hitting a solid ball.
On full approach, a simple fluid motion is the most repeatable, thus, the most consistent. Think in terms of efficiency, when you kick, why would you want to swing around the ball in hopes of hooking it in when you can swing straight through the ball? Consistency is king just as I described in my recent Post.
And leg swing. After that; 1 steps, again, working on moving the body through the kick and hitting a solid ball. On full approach, a simple fluid motion is the most repeatable, thus, the most consistent.
Before You Start Kicking Full Field Goals Continued
Think in terms of efficiency, when you kick, why would you want to swing around the ball in hopes of hooking it in when you can swing straight through the ball?
When you focus on the process and not the end result, you will see your percentage of makes increase over time. This means to focus on hitting no more than 40 field goals a day. Simply focus on 2 main things to do every kick in order to know if you did everything you could to make it a good kick.
Did I swing through my approach line? Check. Did I keep my eyes on the contact point and keep them down just a bit longer to make sure I did not rush the kick? Check. Then whenever you can finish the rep knowing that you accomplished the things you wanted to do, it is a good rep. Your goal is to have 40 consistent reps in a row just by simply accomplishing the two things you can repeat.
Putting It All Together
Now the next time you step out on the field, you will be much more prepared. Develop a good stretching routine, do not be lazy through your stretching or you could get injured. Stretch in the morning and night for at least 20 minutes to ensure recovery and flexibility. This Muscle Roller is fantastic for getting out any lactic acid in the body. I aim to roll each part of my leg 15 times. This way my legs feel like Jell-O when done.
After proper stretching, move on to a warm-up consisting of no steps with a ball and without a ball, one steps with and without a ball, and full approach with and without a ball.
After warm-up, aim to keep your form simple and effective at the same time. You are in control so do not let the forces outside of your control become an excuse. Simply breathe, visualize the ball going through the uprights, out of the end zone, or above a 5.0 second hang time punt, and dominate the field. Again, your mindset dictates your performance.
Put forth the effort, do your due diligence, work your a** off and great things will happen. Just trust the process and things will happen as they should! Happy Kicking.
Utilizing our nutrition is essential to peak performance, check out one of the previous posts on the best calorie counter app to use.
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Thanks for reading and stay amazing!