While people often get to see the new kid on the block impress people with his or her talents professionally. Typically, many players deserve that same opportunity. We see the players who have shown that they are worth the chance in the league. They are the 1%. What about all the players who deserve that same opportunity? This post is for 99% of players who never got their chance.
The Heartbreaking Work Ethic
There are endless stories of players who spend their whole lives dreaming of the moment they play for a professional team, just to find out they do not have professional standards. That has become a harsh reality for many players once they get to their senior season.
While some times, this creates a paradigm shift for the pro teams, there are alternatives. Players who get to the last game of their last season have some truths to come to terms with. They might be playing for the last time on that team, who says they cannot join other leagues in football?
There are semi-professional teams who are always looking for a player who still wants to have football in their life. It hurts to have worked so hard for a game you love so much, only to find it does not work out in the end. The important aspect of this game has an emotional attachment to many.
Often times, players spend hours upon hours in the gym perfecting their craft in order to develop themselves into a character of high achievement. Sometimes at the end of the career, the dream never flourished into a professional atmosphere and that is totally okay. There are pros and cons to making it to the NFL.
For The Players That Never Made It
There is nothing wrong with not making it into the next level. Everyone has a moment in their life where they make a decision that changes the outcome of their life. It is up to the player to determine which route they want their life to head towards. Now each opportunity creates another one of equal or greater value to head towards.
For example, if a player does not get the opportunity to play at the next level, they are able to take that lesson for their kids and family members. The other bright side starts with looking at the viewpoint of not having to worry about injuries that are temporary or permanent.
Brain injuries clearly hinder the abilities of the athlete so many years from that point, they may develop problems with speech or memory. Memory loss might be a real possibility for many athletes who play contact sports.
Do not be discouraged, there are many positives to not being the 1% athlete who makes it to the pros.
- More time to spend with family
- Risk-free from injury
- No pressure of being cut at any moment
- No more mental anxiety of bad performance on game day
- Freedom of time
- There is no one coming in every year with a desire to take you from your position
There are definitely pros and cons to both. What matters is that years from now, there should be no more fear of not being able to move around. Proper care can be in place in order to ensure appropriate health for the future.
For The People That Made It
Congratulations! They were able to do what many were not. While it should be clear that they may have put in that 1% extra effort, they earned their spot on the team. A true next-level athlete understands the importance of sacrifice. That remains the reason why many professional athletes do not succeed long term, they fail to see the importance of sacrifice to remain in the pros.
For the time being, those that were able to get a spot on the roster, that is incredible. The real work starts now. The next level becomes a job. They expect you to do what you have to do in order to perform at the highest level.
The top athletes might get a free range of workouts if they show that they can perform at a high level. However, the coaches may assign specific workouts, whether they are leg workouts, core workouts, or anything in between to help that athlete develop. They expect their athletes to train at a high level, so they do not feel like babying the athlete.
Sometimes, people like Eddy Lacy, get complacent with their raw talent and do not push themselves as hard in the weight room. Nothing against the guy, he just was not being pushed as hard as he was at Alabama. As a result, he put on a lot of weight. This all ties back into having discipline and why working even though they have made it to the highest level need to continue to push themselves to improve.
1% Of The Players Found Their Why
One of the reasons why some players continue to get better and better to those who remain stagnant is from their why. Then why is simply the reason why the athlete is even doing what they are doing? Why get out of bed at 5:00 AM, workout for 2 hours, practice at 7, go home, to do it all again at night, all summer?
Some people have a purpose for doing so. For example, some athletes think of the life they were given, they see football as a way out. Or look at their family and want better for themselves and their family. There are many reasons why athletes work as hard as they do.
Because when that tough moment in a game comes and two athletes go next to each other, the one with a clear understanding of where they want to tend to find a way to make it happen. Big-time players make big-time plays.
That all starts with the reason they want to succeed in the first place. When the player finds their reason for succeeding, future success comes quickly. Success leaves clues so look after some kickers who are performing at a high level so that the path becomes fairly simple. Finding the why remains a highly important reason for succeeding in the professional space.
Why So Few Succeed
Many players believe in raw talent as a means of getting to the next level. While this might be partially true, relying on talent alone gets that player to reach a threshold that they do not surpass.
The best kickers understand that while talent is important, work ethic becomes the most important driving force for improvement. Being focused on the task at hand, and being able to accomplish it with confidence should be the focus of any kicker.
The best kickers are able to only focus on their kick, all other thoughts drown out, the result becomes a product of their training. We do not rise to our expectations. We fall to the level of our training. When times get tough, the best players establish their elite level by performing in those tough environments consistently.
So when things start to get tough, do not expect the great kickers to slow down and get sad, they remember all of the times they succeeded even though they should not.
The best players remember how far they have come and do not allow small bumps in the road affect their quality of life. The beauty of being a kicker begins with the fact that we have so few opportunities to prove ourselves, so start thinking like the 1%.
It’s Not Too Late For Most
Many players who did not make a professional team give up far before they should due to some lack of drive. They believe that the end of the road starts right as they finish school. This could not be farther from the truth, the best players understand the importance of having a reason for doing what they are doing.
The 99% of kickers get in their heads about their performance and it takes away from the next kick. Do what the best do, and just forgettttt about itttttt. There are countless stories about a kicker not being able to perform their tasks as they focus on what already happened.
Being in the present moment takes the negative energy away from the situation allowing for mental clarity. The end result usually ends up being a better performance. Most kicking coaches talk about improving consistency begins by having the right mindset. Through meditation, proper focus, or drills all together, a kicker can improve.
It’s Not Too Late For Most Continued
So the next time a kicker decides to better their game, remind him or her that the only thing standing between them and their goals are the excuses they keep telling themselves. Excuses remain one of the biggest reasons that a kicker does not accomplish their goals. Most field goal sessions do not go exactly as planned, remember that all situations have a learning point.
What can you learn from at the end of the session that will benefit you into becoming a better player? Each kicking session needs to be seen as a learning opportunity to improve.
There are no excuses for not improving. So get off the couch, and do something to improve. It should not be too late to give the pro teams a shot. Some of the best kickers in NFL retire at age 40+ so there should still be time!
The 1% effort
The best kickers in the world have stuck by their purpose from the moment they got to the NFL. They were never satisfied with their progress, and remain humble no matter their achievements. 1% of players have extreme attention to detail as they understand the importance of the little things. The little things could be something like stretching, working out, drills, getting a mentor, and etc.
The important part of any kicking training remains a focus on doing what is best for that player. When people train, they work on the things which are weakest. In this case, a kicker must focus on what they need. If the ball has an x rotation, the toe comes up at contact. If the ball flight curves consistently, the kicker should have better ball contact, a straighter swing, keeping the eyes back on the point of contact, etc.
The field goal ball flight tells a story as to what the ball does. A high spin on the ball could mean many things. High spin might mean low contact, drop in the shoulder, hips are back and not neutral, etc. A hook around the ball also means a few things. The plant foot could be too close, the toe came around the ball, or the swing was not straight enough.
The 1% Effort Continued
A 1% kicker understands the importance of technique and form. That is why almost every professional kicker has great form. Even if they look funky after they hit the ball, their approach, plant, and contact are almost identical. Almost every kicker utilizes his body weight to get through the ball. When they make contact with the ball, their hips, plant, and body overall are facing the target. This determines where the ball ends up ultimately.
So if the hips are not in balance, the body is, therefore, working against the kicker. The important thing is to remain square to the target as contact is made. Therefore, the hips may get through the ball as nature intended it to be. The 1% of kickers understand these small technical shifts will give them the most consistent results. Keeping the personality in the kick remains vital for a kicker to become who they are.
The 1% Effort Continued… Again
If you watch Justin Tucker or Jason Myers kick a ball, it could not be any more efficient. When all of their weight gets up and through the ball, it travels as far and high as possible. They both have great understandings of their hips when contact is made, and how to use that to make more kicks. That is why they are among the 1%
Master the body and master the kick! Start practicing so this may become second nature. Keep the form simple and just swing through to your target and get downfield. As time goes on, start to focus on personal weaknesses. If you or a friend have any questions that you would like to ask, please do not hesitate to ask! 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!