What To Think About When Kicking Field Goals

What are you supposed to think of when you’re kicking field goals or punting? Not really anything, so we’ll touch on that in a second; stay tuned!

Hello, everyone. My name is Eric. For those of you that don’t know me, I was a collegiate athlete that created Kickers of Earth a couple of years ago in order to help educate the kickers and punters of the world because a lot of these camps and coaches are quite expensive. I wanted to help the people that may not have the resources or those who just wanted a different perspective in the kicking and punting game.

So, this will be a pretty simple article, It’s not really anything crazy, nothing groundbreaking, but it will cover a very important topic: What are you supposed to think about when you’re kicking a field goal?

Traditionally, people would say “You need to think about your kicking foot, about your body positioning, about your plant foot, about driving through the ball, about the ball going through the uprights,” and all that stuff. It clouds your head especially when you’re kicking because you’re trying to think about the things that you need to do, as opposed to the things that you have already done and trusting in those.

The difference here is that the normal, everyday kicker is thinking about the things that they need to do – technique-wise, form-wise – just the standard stuff that they would need to do in order to get the result of making the field goal or hitting a good punt.

Likewise, the professional kicker has done it thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of times now. He already has a very solid baseline of how he needs to perform. It’s all subconscious at this point. For him, he is already at the point where he can let his mind go and he just lets it happen.

So, you might be saying, “Well, Eric, I’m not really at that point yet. I’m not at the point where I can subconsciously do that.” Yes, you can. You are at the point where you can let go, and you can just trust your swing. There are a lot of kickers on this earth (haha get it?😅), but there’s a very small percentage of them that understand that simple tweak, that simple adjustment in your thinking. 

Adjust your thinking

That simple adjustment is, realistically, just knowing that you’ve put in the work, you’ve practiced it enough times, and you’ve already done enough things related to kicking and punting. You just need to have fun. You just need to go out and play the game. Once you’re out in the field, you’ve already put in the hours beforehand to learn how to do it. You just need to wipe your mind clean, go, and have fun.

Realistically, the nerves, the pressure, the fear of not performing only come when you’re not prepared. If you are prepared, it is fair to say that you will be fine as long as you learn how to shut the negative thoughts out, especially when you’ve done it so many times. It really is as simple as trusting it, and believing in the fact that you will make it happen.

Now, I get it. You are likely still thinking about stuff even when you’re on the field, even though you’ve gone through this whole talk, even though I’ve given you some pointers on what really should happen, but it doesn’t always happen like that, and I understand.

Again, when you’re on the field, all you’re thinking about is the positive feeling of the ball going through the uprights or the punt being perfect in every sense of the way. You see yourself from a third-person point-of-view and a first-person point-of-view doing it. You might visualize yourself doing it first-person, and also as if you’re watching yourself do it as a third-person – just to give yourself different perspectives of what it would look like and feel like to have that end result of a perfect kick or punt.

The Power Of Positive Thinking

I already touched on this a little bit earlier, but the really cool part is you are able to have a positive game simply by having positive thoughts. You can have the greatest practice all week, but come game time, if you are in a position where you’re constantly telling yourself negative things, it’s no wonder that you’re probably not performing as well as you could, or should, just because you’re letting your mind influence yourself with thoughts that aren’t actually real. Because thoughts are just thoughts – they’re not real until you act on them, and that becomes the reality.

You have the ability to change the outcome, completely independent of your thoughts. Those are not the reasons why we mess up. It’s more about what we believe in the heart to be true, that is what actually happens.

All that being said, it’s all great in theory, but there are still probably going to be times when you’re feeling not-so-positive or you’re still down on yourself or you’re talking negatively. 

So, what we’re going to do is say you’re actually in a game, about to kick or punt a football. You’ll get set, come up to your positioner or holder, you walk up, take a deep breath through your nose. You get set, take your steps back, line your steps up, another deep breath. Then, you take your steps out to the side, line your target up, take another deep breath, and then you’re ready to go.

Think about that. You’ve got three (3) different points where you will take a deep breath – long inhales and exhales – which is going to help you completely calm your nerves. It isn’t perfect. It’s about as perfect as it can be because it’s better than letting your mind race. You take three (3) deep breaths. 

Once you’re back lining up the kick position and you’re taking your side steps, or you’re set in your punter stance and your ready stance, there really shouldn’t be any thoughts at that point. What are you gonna do now? Are you gonna practice? No. You’re in the moment. Whatever is going to happen is what is going to happen. That’s why you need to just trust it. You come back, you set yourself, and now your mind is completely blank. You’re not really thinking about anything at this point, so why not put good thoughts and do good things. That will give you the best chance to succeed. 

Thank you so much for reading and keep crushing it!

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