So, today’s article is actually going to be about how to transition from a 2-inch field goal tee to a 1-inch to a ¼-inch field goal tee off the ground.
The first thing to note is that kicking is all about timing and momentum. If you’re in a position where your body is past the ball too much, and the ball is in a sub-optimal position where it’s raised up, you’re essentially doing yourself a disservice.
You’re going to hear me translate a lot of things to golf or boxing today, and there’s a good reason for it – there’s a lot of similarity between the three sports. You may not think about it in boxing, but most sports have some similarities to one another, and I’ll try to translate that over into the kicking world.
We’ll start with the 2-inch field goal tee. Traditionally, when you come in on a 2-inch field goal tee, you want your toe to be right about equal with the middle or the seam of the football. Essentially, that gets you in position. Whenever you come in and lock your foot down, it’s right where it needs to be.
It’s right in line with the seam. Now, say you cut the ball into horizontal thirds – the top third, middle third, and bottom third. Ideally, you want to hit the football on the bottom third. To recap, you want your toe equal to the seam, so that you’re catching right where it needs to be.
As you transition to a 1-inch, you’ll simply just go up a little bit more toward the ball of your foot. You would then scoot up your foot a little bit more. Now that it lowers, you want to go a little bit deeper upfield so that timing is still there.
Let’s say we go back to a 2-inch field goal tee and we’re up here where the heel or middle of our foot is even with the football. If we have our heel to the seam and we come in like we would off the ground, by the time we make contact, our whole body would be past the ball and the ball is raised up on a tee.
Do you think you’re going to hit the middle of the football? Probably not, unless you do some type of crunch motion where you’re throwing your whole body down. You might get lucky and get a half-decent football. But it’s most likely that you’re going to get under it if everything’s the way it would be off the ground.
A Professional Kicking a 2 Inch field goal tee?
So, if you’re taking a pro kicker, putting them on a 2-inch field goaltee and having them plant the exact same way they normally would, based on body mechanics, you are going to get under the football and chip it. Same thing with golf – let’s say the ball is right here, but I’m here way past the ball. If I swing my club, with the ball raised up on a tee, I’m going to hit down, chip under it, and it’s likely to go very high, but nowhere. In sand traps, they stand in front of the ball, and they swing down on it so that they scoop it and get under it.
Same thing here where you’re on a tee, you do not want to plant too deep because you’re very likely going to get a lot of spin on the ball. When you get a lot of spin on your kick off a tee, and you’re just not sure what’s going on, and it’s going really high but not very far, that’s a very good indicator that you might want to go down a level on the tees. So, if you’re on a 2-inch, you might go to a 1-inch. If you’re on a 1-inch, you might go to a ½-inch or ¼-inch, if you can find one.
So, the heel on a 2-inch is a no-go. The middle of your foot is a no-go. The toe is ideal – that’s where we typically want to be. That’s where everything will line up with the kick.
So, if we transition to a 1-inch, we will have the ball of our foot aligned with the seam of the football. That will replicate the same motion as if we’re on a 2-inch. Now, taking away the 1-inch field goal tee, we’re on the ground. We want to have the middle to heel of our foot even with the football, a foot away from the ball. That will replicate the same thing as if we were on a 2-inch at toe level and a 1-inch at the ball of our foot level. Continue to replicate that same exact timing.
If you can get away with it like most guys can, Justin Tucker is a good example, it just depends on how you can time everything. Don’t beat yourself up about the heel or the middle of the foot. Just making a mental note of it is the first thing.
Drills to get a more consistent plant foot
Next, we’re actually going to cover how to do a drill to help you transition effortlessly. So, stay tuned.
So, here’s a really cool drill that you can do in order to make sure that your foot is in the right position whenever you’re kicking. The easiest way to do this is line up the ball on a line, or on some visual marker that you can see. In this case, for a 2-inch field goal tee, because we want our toe to be even with the seam of the ball, we want to make sure that our toe does not go past the top of the line. Or to make it simpler, we align the seam of the ball with the back of the line and I want my toe to hit no further than that line.
Either way, my preference is not to go past the line just because it’s easier not to go past the line versus not touching the line at all. In this case, the seam is even with the back of the line and your toe should not go past the line, and that replicates the form for a 2-inch field goal tee.
For a 1-inch field goal tee, where the seam of the ball is even with the back of the line, we do not want our toe to cross the line because, now, the ball of our foot is even with the seam of the football. If we move the football up to align the seam with the top of the line, we can now place the ball of our foot on the top of the line, but no farther. Either way works.
Same thing off the ground. You can use that as a reference here. We now have the middle of our foot even with the line, or we can have the heel of our foot on the line if we want to go a little bit deeper.
So, there’s a lot of cool ways to use the line as a drill in order to give yourself a visual reference on transitioning from one tee to the next.
That’s the bulk of it, guys! I appreciate you reading this article. If you have any questions, leave me a comment below. If you haven’t yet, check out The Art of Kicking. That’s a book I wrote on everything I’ve ever learned in kicking! Also, My Newsletter is a great resource as I share more in depth tips and tricks on kicking/punting! Leave a comment below on your thoughts with this article! I look forward to hearing from you!