NFL Kicking Tip #2

It is a long game - what do I do in between kicks?

 

 

 

            Unless you play other positions you are going to have a lot of free time in between your game kicks. The big question is what can you do to stay loose and warmed up but not wear yourself out kicking too much into the net.

    When the other team has the ball, the chance of your team scoring is low. So use this time to relax. Loosen up your shoe laces, have a sit, chat with a friend, etc. If there is an interception that gets returned for touchdown and you have to kick an extra point, it is only an extra point. You should be able to put it through without warming up. And there will be a time for you to jog out on the field and take one or two practice swings on the way to the extra point spot.

    It is up to you if you want to watch your defense or not. Most NFL punters and kickers are not very involved in the game. You have a job to do, which is to kick the ball consistently. If you get too worked up cheering your team on or too disappointed when things are not going well, your kicks will resemble the performance of your team. This is especially bad if you are a punter and instead of being a weapon when your team is struggling you end up contributing to the total collapse. So here is my  advice, watch the game if you want but don't get too emotionally involved in it

    When your offense has the ball there is a chance that there will be a punt or a field goal.

       As a punter my favorite thing to do is the tap drill...

...somebody tosses me the ball underhand from about 7 yards away. I catch it, take my steps and while holding the ball lower than I usually would I lightly tap it back to them. I try to get a spiral and hit the person in the numbers. I would do this until it gets to be a third down. During the third down, I will go up to the kicking net and hit 2 punts into the net. 

    As a kicker, no-step taps are good...

...place the ball on a tee that is the same height as your kicking block. Place your plant foot about 4 inches farther back than you would have it on a regular kick. Have someone stand about 5 yards from you. Without taking any steps, lightly tap the ball and try to hit your partner in the chest while achieving a good ball rotation. Give yourself few bad holds on purpose - maybe 1 out of 4. You want to be prepared to make a good contact even if laces are in weird place or ball is leaning the wrong way. When your team gets closer to the field goal range take couple full kicks into the net.

    Throughout the game try to keep your body temperature elevated by moving around. Avoid standing in one place or sitting for two long. Keep your mind focused on positive things like making a solid contact with a ball and visualizing the ball "jumping" off your foot and going straight.

    If you have a bad kick, give yourself a time period to be upset about it - about a minute is good. Let's call it a "cleansing minute". Find a teammate, trainer, visitor, or anyone else who is on the sideline and is willing to hear you out. Tell them how upset you are about that kick and everything else that is going through your head. Once your "cleansing minute" is done, your thoughts and emotions about that kick are done as well.