the study of the kicking components within sports

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Remembering to Forget, part 1

re·mem·ber [ri-mem-ber]
–verb (used with object)
1. to recall to the mind by an act or effort of memory; think of again
2. to retain in the memory; keep in mind; remain aware of
3. to have (something) come into the mind again

for·get [fer-get]
–verb (used with object)
1. to cease or fail to remember; be unable to recall
2. to fail to think of; take no note of

It’s often mentioned that a key to success is the ability to block out, forget about, and move on from a bad snap, hold, kick, or punt. Of course sometimes that is easier said than done. We asked a few experienced guys how did/do they put a bad play or game behind them and move forward?

"I feel that it takes some time to learn how to block out or move on from a bad play. Sometimes it may take a few game experiences to learn what it takes to move on quickly. My first biggest learning experience came my senior year of high school. In our semi-finals playoff game, I missed a field goal by a foot to the left going into half time. It was a tough break, but what hurt most was that we ended up losing the game by two points. For a while I felt terrible and felt responsible for ending our season. But some great teammates, coaches and family of mine made me realize that there were so many other factors that happened in the football game that directly effected the out come of the game, that the fault of the loss wasn't mine. A few less holding penalties and dropped balls would have given us a few more opportunities to score to change the outcome of the game.

By the time I was in college, it was easier to move on past a bad kick or punt. I had played in more games and experienced more game scenarios. In our position it can be tough because we only get a few opportunities and all the eyes are on you. But just remember that there are 40+ plays in every game that can also effect the outcome of the game and it's not all one person's fault, it's a team effort."

"They say forgetting it is the key, but it is usually forgotten once something positive has happened like for instance a made FG or PAT following the prior miss/bad game. Start with fundamentals, keep your head down, ask your coach for his feedback, and relax. The more you worry about it, you'll quickly find yourself in quicksand."

James Wilhoit, James Wilhoit Kicking
"During my career I am known for a situation just like that. In the 2004 game against Florida I missed an extra point with three minutes left that would have tied the game. We had a record crowd in the stands of 109,000 people and everyone was in shock when I missed that kick (including me). Being the competitor that I am, I was determined to make up for my mistake and I used the miss as motivation. I told our head coach that if you get the ball back that I will make the kick no matter what the distance. I was able to use my experience in Sport Psychology to help block out the last kick and to focus on the task at hand. We were able to get the ball back and with six seconds left in the game I kicked a 50 yard field goal to beat Florida. It will go down as one of the best moments of my life."

"I believe the key to success is to learn from each and every experience. Whether it be a bad kick or a perfect kick, the key is to understand and feel the process. I treat every kick as my first kick, which means I start out 100% every time. This forces me to focus on the same exact things every repetition."

"The most important thing to do after a bad snap is to just forget about it. Take the criticism that you will get from your coach and use it to help you in the future. Go on the sidelines, take a few snaps to correct the problem and leave it in the past. If you take it and keep thinking about it, it will only hurt your performance. If you take the incident and use it as a learning experience, it will only make you better."

"It is quite simple... when you have had a bad kick, punt or snap you need to immediately erase it from your mind or trick your mind to believe it never happened! This will allow you to approach your next kick, punt or snap with a positive outlook. It is hard to do, but imperative for success!"

"The thing about miskicks are that they will come, there is no doubt about that one. Whenever I hit one bad I simply analyze what when wrong, whether is was my pre-kick routine or a mechanical error. I then figure out what I will do differently and move on from there. I believe the two things that us kickers do wrong in this type of situation are 1) focus on the outcome too much and end up psyching ourselves out for the next one (e.g. missing one right and then coming back to miss the next one left). We do not need to over-correct or dwell on any outcome. 2) just move on without any sort of correction. This one was my problem. I would think "that one is done and I just need to move forward to my next kick". The major problem with that is I did not reflect on what I did wrong and therefore often made the same mistake twice in a row.

Ultimately, I believe the key mentality is to keep our eyes on the process. I like calling it "stroke focused". I know that if I am focused on my stroke, then outcome will not get a chance to creep into my mind. It is when athletes get so caught up with performance and expectation, that they forget to do what it takes to get the results they desire. In the same way, life is very similar. When we get so caught up with the future, it makes it very difficult to enjoy the process. Frost Westering says "its not about the road to success, but its all about the success road". Meaning that the process is what its all about. We all have heard this but I encourage you to always check back and make sure that your focused more on the road and less on the place you want to be.

Now, do not get me wrong, I am a big believer in having a vision for where you want to go and set goals for you to get there. There is a balance in everything and finding that balance is not an easy task, but very possible if you sit down and get it all out on paper. I encourage you to make sure that you are going through your pre-kick routines, not only in the game but in practice.....That is exactly what practice is for."

"A wise man once told me: As a kicker, you have to forget about the misses quickly and the makes even quicker. You might hit a 50-yarder in the 3rd quarter but don't get too excited, you might be called upon to hit a 28-yarder with two seconds left. Take every kick and every approach with the same focused, calm demeanor as the next one. Sometimes an extra point is just as or more important as a long field. Treat every kick with the same importance and wait until the game is over to evaluate your performance."

Craig Hentrich, LEGacy Kicking
"Always remember, it's just a game!"

1 comment:

Justin Becker said...

Such superb text! I have no clue how you were able to say this post..it’d take me weeks. Well worth it though, I’d assume. Have you considered selling advertising space on your blog? Fantasy Basketball Money Leagues

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