the study of the kicking components within sports

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


What kicker and holder duo have worked together the longest? By far it is Charlie Brown and Lucy van Pelt, whose 59th work anniversary is coming up next month. Despite their longevity, success has eluded them:
Perhaps Lucy's most famous gimmick in her long existence as a character is the one in which she pulls the football away from Charlie Brown right as he is about to kick it.
The first occasion on which she did this was November 16, 1952, taking over for Violet, who had previously (yet unintentionally) subjected Charlie Brown to this trick on November 14, 1951, for fear that Charlie Brown would accidentally kick her instead of the ball. Afterward, Lucy would always intentionally pull the football away from Charlie Brown to trick him. The most infamous example of this is the animated special "It's Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown", where her actions cost the football team the Homecoming game, yet Charlie Brown is blamed even though he is clearly not at fault.
What do live specialists think of this animated pair? Last year at this time, we asked kickers, punters and coaches the following:
A. What was your gut reaction or initial thought when you first saw the above image just now?
B. After at least an hour later, any additional comments you’d like to add?

My first thought when I saw this picture was that this would definitely be me if the ball was taken from me that late in the kick. However, and unfortunately, there are many kickers out there that would not even fall backwards because of how much they bend over at the ball! Too many "crunchers" out there!

A. I thought it was upside down and needed to be rotated, but his follow through is good and his leg is locked, however his head is up. Had he kept his head down, he would have seen her take the ball away.
B. It's still funny. He needs to skip forward when kicking so he doesn't fall on his butt.

Filip Filipovic, The Kicking Coach
I had a holder in high school who did this to me as a joke. I almost injured myself trying to stop/slow down my leg swing in mid kick. This cartoon gives dumb holders bad ideas. Maybe media does affect kids negatively.

Chris Husby, Special Teams Football Academy
I always loved this photo. Always one of those "back of the mind" fears when you are kicking a field goal. Not that the holder would do it, but slipping as I'm about to kick the ball.

Lucy must have taken the other team (-2.5)!!


Nathan Chapman, ProKick Australia
I know this is a big American cartoon and I read it as a youngster, but not this one. Makes me laugh and I think 'yeah, like always, kicker gets the short straw'.

John Matich, The Kicking System
A. I think of all the offensive lineman trying to kick field goals before practice starts. Almost every walk-thru in college all the lineman would try to kick and occasional Charlie Brown would occur. Sometimes they didn’t even need to move the ball away.
B. Pop Warner players trying to do the same thing... 

Chris Kluwe, Minnesota Vikings punter 2005-2012
A: That's gotta be a torn ACL.
B: Man, Lucy is such a b#%$&. Charlie Brown should kick her right in the head.

Girls can kick too! 
A. You are only as good as your holder! Learn proper holding technique and work with your holder to perfect their skills. They can make or break you!
B. The kicker is often the butt of every football player's joke; it gets old, so don't be that weird kicker that makes the rest of us look bad!

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