A kicking net for kickers and punters are such a massive help. They can be one of the essential items every kicker needs in their journey. With the right tools in place, you can become a much more developed kicker who can develop faster since you can practice any time of day.
Simply put, a kicking net allows you to punt a ball into the net and keeps it there so you don’t have to run 50 yards to grab it and back each time you want to punt again. It maximizes your time so you can work only on your form and technique which is the most important part of kicking/punting anyway. Since you’re practicing and focusing only on your technique and drills, you get better a lot faster.
How does a kicking net help you?
A kicking net can either be a huge resource to improve, or just something that collects dust the second you get it. I view a kicking net as a massive resource for a kicker or punter wanting to take their game to the next level. Let’s just draw out a scenario to better explain the power of a kicking net.
Imagine you’re about to go to school in an hour and you know your day is about to be busy and won’t be done until night time.
Rather than rush to the high school field and get maybe ten minutes of kicking practicing, you can go out into your backyard and work on 50% power kicking and puncting drills, no step, one step drills and any other form of low-intensity drills that will improve your game.
So just in the commute time alone which can be anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes, you’ve already gotten all of your drill work in and have 40 minutes to spare. So for the athlete that drive all the way to the high school field, the total working time is 10 minutes of rushed non-technique focused work, not including the time it takes to go grab the footballs after they are kicked.
In comparison to the kicker who gets in four times the amount of reps in half the time while not having to chase footballs, or get upset because it was a bad kick, The kickers and punters who use a kicking net are solely focused on their technique and the feeling of the ball as it leaves their foot. It starts to become clear why using a kicking net is such a valuable resource.
While there are a wide range of what a kicking net can do for you, we will focus on the biggest advantages of having one.
It’s rather compact and can be practiced on even indoors
A kicking net for kickers and punters does not have to be used outside only, I’ve seen plenty of kickers including myself put it in the garage or inside their house. If you’re able to, consider getting a slab of turf or some type of non-slip surface so that you can give yourself the closest feeling to a real football field. Preferably you should get indoor kicking cleats, or you could simply kick barefoot.
For those of you that have trouble hitting the ball with the right part of your foot, kicking barefoot will help out tremendously with that. Your kicking sessions become purely ball contact focused which is about one of the most important ways for you to improve. If you hit it with anything less than the proper part of your foot (which is that big bone called navicular bone), you will know immediately when you feel it come off your foot.
Also, if you’re going at about 50% power by kicking indoors, You shouldn’t have to worry about slipping because if you do, that tells you you’re landing too hard and you should be gliding into your plant foot instead of jumping and landing into it. Graham Gano has a video he posted of him kicking indoors into his kicking net, I highly recommend you check that out for reference.
A Kicking Net for Kickers and Punters gives you the edge for time efficiency
One of my favorite things about a kicking net for kickers and punters is it’s really easy to set up if you need to tear it down and put it back up again, personally I always just kept mine set up and just put it off to the side in a part of the house where no one really went to so it wasn’t in the way of anyone. You could also put it in your room with blankets and pillows behind it so it minimizes impact.
Or like mentioned earlier, just simply put it in the garage if applicable. But there’s really no excuse for not using a kicking net for kickers and punters. It’s a minimal investment for a huge upside return. Let’s draw out another scenario.
Let’s say you just got done with a kicking session with your kicking coach, they give you some homework to do before your next time you see them, rather than go out to a field that same day or the next day to work on it, focus on those technical adjustments into your kicking net and just make sure you’re doing that one thing better. The goal from before you starting your session and after is to just improve the one thing you set up to do better.
For example, if I know my toe comes up as I may contact making the ball flight has an x pattern, for every single kick that I do into the kicking net, I will swing at 50% power just making sure that I lock my toe out, and or flex my calf which serves the same purpose. By the time the session is over, I will make a mental note in my head if I made effective progress or if I was just kicking to kick.
So again, having the net will help you so much and just working your Technique than going out to the field and spending half your time grabbing the footballs. Think of basketball players whenever they practice shooting, why do you think they have that ball catcher? It makes their practice more efficient and effective. Rather than shoot a basket and have to go chase the ball, the ball comes right back to them so they can double, triple, or quadruple their shots in a given practice.
While these are just a few of the benefits of a kicking net for kickers and punters, it most definitely will be a great addition to your kicking/punting needs.
Now I’m not saying that this is something you need to spend all your time doing, but it is a fantastic supplement to your kicking and punting schedule. There’s a million different ways you could work this into your day, but you should aim to kick at least 50 footballs into the net per week. Take those sessions onto the football field and apply what you’ve learned and felt.
You’ll be amazed at the progress that you’ll achieve by eliminating the need to focus on the result but rather focusing on the feeling of your body end the ball coming off of your foot. Just like you won’t become bigger and stronger by only taking protein powder and eating a high-protein diet, you need to actually go onto the field and practice kicking footballs to visualize what the ball is doing and why it’s doing that.
It would be a really good idea to kick into the net for 20 to 50% of your total kick count on a weekly basis. If all you do is focus on the result and not the technique, you are heading down a bad path. Good technique and efficient swings will give you the desired result you need anyway.
Look at Jason Myers, he has one of the most efficient swings I’ve ever seen and every single ball he kicks looks completely effortless because he does the little things right. So rather than focusing on making every single kick, focus on making your technique correct, a good kick will follow as a result.
It’s become clear that the most elite-level kickers and punters do much better when all they do to improve on their technique is feel it out rather than think about it all the time. So what that means is instead of trying to think all the time, keep thoughts to a minimum and just let your body naturally take over the swing and do your best to keep your thinking to a minimum. Your best kicking sessions will more than likely be when thoughts are dimmed and your feeling of the kick becomes the bigger focus.
One example is when you kick or punt a ball but felt your body swing across the ball, on the next kick, be more mindful about feeling your leg going straight through the ball so you don’t make the same mistake twice. It won’t be easy but it will be worth it. Once you can separate your mind from the kicking and just be more present into feeling the kick, the more you will progress and learn.
What can you do with kicking nets?
While some of this information has been repeated throughout this blog, we will go a little bit deeper into what a kicking net for kickers and punters can be used for. Often times before practice in high school and college, the team would have a kicking net set up where I would do a few warm-up drills into it to get my leg loose.
Or during a rainy day where it would not be safe to kick outside if there was lightning or heavy rain, the basketball gym would be where we would practice and they would have the kicking net set up where I can work strictly form and technique drills in my sneakers.
What I love about kicking nets is that it takes all the pressure of having to make the kick away from you and you can solely focus on all the little things that go into making your field goals.
If you know that you need to work on keeping your body posture taller, it can help you do that, if you want to leverage your body to get it through the ball more, you can focus on your body position rather than the result of the kick much easier. If you have a tendency to come off to the side after you swing like most soccer players do, the net will really help you work that as well.
The beautiful thing is that you have complete control over your technique. The idea is that exact same mindset will transfer over to the field. After many weeks or months of kicking into a net, you will start to realize that you don’t have to focus on the results to improve. Rather, focusing on doing the little things right will yield the correct result anyway.
How often should you use a kicking net?
To be honest I really don’t feel like there is such a thing as using the kicking net too much. A kicking net for kickers and punters really can be an extremely helpful tool if you allow it to be. So, wouldn’t it make sense to squeeze all of the juice out of it as you can?
Sure we all want to see a nice pretty kick, but that can be developed and worked on in the lab (the net and drill work) I attribute a lot of my success to the early years in my kicking career to a kicking net. There were days where I would not have access to a field for a large majority of the week. I would just go out in my backyard and kick field goals creating 2 ft craters all over the yard. Fun times.
If I can go back and change anything, I would invest in a small patch of turf or non-slip material so I could repeatedly land on that spot and not mess up the ground.
But at the same time, I’m glad that I was comfortable chasing uncomfortable situations so that when I got to a physical field, my kicking confidence improved.
For years I would kick in extremely high grass, or non-ideal playing conditions anytime I got the chance. it wasn’t really easy to make myself work harder to kick a ball that would be much easier to kick on a normal field. It was mainly to get the reps in because I knew if I had to wait until the perfect moment where I can go onto a football field or soccer field to practice kicking, I would be getting in only 50% of my reps then.
A perfect condition would be I would go to a football field with the kicking net, practice kicking into it, and then once I was warmed up and confident about my intention for the practice and what I was trying to improve, I would line it up right in front of the ball about 4-5 yards aways and try to kick over it.
So they didn’t serve only as a technical adjustment tool, it was also a tool to help me increase my height on my kicks. Soon enough, I got to where I didn’t even notice the net and I was just hitting it like I normally would and the ball was jumping off my foot.
So if there’s anything I can serve as advice, it would be to work with what you got, and please don’t make excuses. I would have no issue kicking in sneakers in between my house and the neighbor’s house across the street as long as I got some reps in.
So rather than saying you can’t make it happen, ask yourself how can you make it happen. Ask yourself that question and it will open up all the possibilities on how to get in the work even when the weather isn’t great, or you forgot your cleats at school, or a wide variety of other things. There’s always work to be done and the rewards are handed to those who earn it.
How I used a kicking net to get a scholarship
For those of you that don’t know already, it wasn’t until my junior summer going into senior year that I really started to get assistance on my technique and form. But prior to that, I was doing everything I could possibly do to learn about how to improve as a kicker and punter.
I would watch as many videos as I could, constantly review my form, study pro kickers, and whatever else I could to give myself a chance to make it to the next level. And again, I attributed so much of my success to having something as simple as a kicking.net.
If you can make it a daily practice for at least 5 minutes every day to work on one tiny thing into the kicking net AND FILM IT, You’ll have an entire Journal of videos to go back on to see what you’re doing good or bad. Because that’s what improvement is all about, getting 1% better every single day.
Where can I get a kicking net for kickers and punters?
There are plenty of resources out there to get a kicking net for kickers and punters. The best bet would be to head over to Amazon and grab one there. This is the one I would recommend to get. The SKLZ 4-1 kicking net has a really low cost, durability and is really lightweight. It’s 1/3 to 1/5 of the price you can find with competitors and holds really well after years of use. It has a lot of different functions and is very easy to collapse to put away. A lot of other kicking nets for kickers and punters are extremely bulky and heavy where you have to lug it around everywhere.
The beauty of the sklz 4-1 kicking net is you can throw it in your car, drive to the field, set it up in about 5 minutes, then get the working. It also doubles as a good resource to work on your height for field goals and punts. Because the worst-case scenario if you hit it with the ball, it’s not going to Skyrocket back at you like a metal soccer goal would. It’s also got a lot more give so if for some reason you do accidentally run into it, you’re not going to risk injury.
While we have covered a lot of information about a kicking net for kickers, the thing I will say is, you now have all the tools necessary to be an elite kicker and punter. If you haven’t already, check out the resources page on my blog to get all the content that might be able to help you out on your kicking/punting journey.
But it comes down to the work you put in on whether you get results or not. If you do decide to get a kicking net, please don’t let it collect dust, it’s a bigger investment than a field goal tee, but it’ll help you many times over if you utilize it using the tips explain throughout this blog post.
I would really recommend using it throughout your entire kicking session for both the warm-up phase and also working on height. It serves as a mental barrier you have to get past because you see it right in front of you and it can mess with your swing because you try to lift the ball up verses trusting your swing and driving up and through the ball. but if you practice kicking with the intention of constantly improving, the value of the net will far exceed the cost.
Just imagine if you could use a tool to help you get better height, get better faster, spend less time walking and more time improving. Just imagine what that would do to you as a kicker and punter.
I have given you all the tools and resources necessary to make a decision on whether or not to get a kicking net for kickers and punters. At this point you have to ask yourself, what is a scholarship worth? What is a starting spot on the team worth? I bet you’d be willing to do whatever it takes as long as it’s ethically right to achieve the goal you have.so what are you waiting for? Put yourself in the position to be THE guy next season. Stay amazing.