Listen, we need to have an honest and truthful conversation about kicking field goals -- they're not easy and you can either win or lose the game on a single kick. Undoubtedly, these are incredibly high pressure situations, but for those with nerves of steel, kicker may just be the right position for you. So, for those that are beginning to learn the fundamentals of kicking, or for those athletes that are trying to simply improve, we've put together a handy guide to help you out in the process.
To many, kicking shouldn't be an entirely difficult concept to grasp -- an athlete just needs to kick the ball as hard as possible, right? Wrong! Kickers with powerful legs may have a tiny advantage distance-wise, but the mechanics, fundamentals, and steps are something that can only be practiced. It would be unwise to step onto the gridiron and expect to knock in 40-yard field goals, but with diligent effort and training, such attempts become much more feasible.
The cliff-notes version of the CoachUp Training Center article on the subject highlights seven important high-level ideals to keep in mind throughout the kick, they are: Be calm, be brave, the approach, the footwork, the kick, the follow-through, and your overall mental health. As always: we've grabbed a quick anecdote from the article as a teaser, but the entire article can be found here!
Make sure you point your planted foot towards the target before kicking, it’s crucially important for accurate kicking! For many teams at lower levels, they use a soccer player as their field goal kicker, as they’ve learned the intricate details of kicking and practice it everyday. If you want a straight, accurate kick, making sure your feet are planted and pointed in the right direction is a great start.
Additionally, your plant foot should be as close to the ball as possible. Too far in front and your body won’t be able to get enough power behind the kick before striking it. Too far behind and you’re far more likely to pull the ball across your body. Practicing great muscle memory is the best way to avoid this!
Now, get out there and get kicking! If you take these sentiments to heart, you'll start improving in no time. Being able to reliably nail those high-pressure attempts will make you a team hero instantly. Remember, you can find the whole article here
and it's never too late to get better -- good luck!