the study of the kicking components within sports

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Long Road from Australia to the NFL, part 3

Another year, and another wave of Australian punters have either landed roster spots at U.S. colleges, with their eye ultimately on the NFL, or are looking to directly tryout for the NFL.

Sam Irwin-Hill,

City College of San Francisco
Australia experience: Bendigo Pioneer, Eaglehawk Football Club
"It’s a fairly different sport to AFL. It’s a different technique and it took a while to get used to it, but once I started training I adjusted to it pretty well....

I won’t be able to play division one straight away because of my academic situation, but that is something I can improve on. The only reason I missed out is because I didn’t complete two core subjects during year 12, because they base it on your results from year nine to year 12 and I didn’t have the necessary core subjects. I’ve got to do a certain amount of core units to be eligible to go to division one after that, so that will be my focus. It means that if I want to get on the track I have to perform in my studies as well....

We started doing plyometric training, which is basically speeding up from a short start and building up your exclusivity and acceleration. It involves a lot of jumping and a lot of squat jumps, and things I haven’t really had to do before. I know that if I want to get the best out of myself before I go this is the right sort of thing to do."
Alex Kinal, Wake Forest
Australia experience: Sturt and West Adelaid
"I saw (American football) on TV and thought I’d try it. I gave it a crack and I guess it paid dividends. I’m the new kid on the block. I’m learning the game slowly. We start summer camp in August and I have to prove myself....

Playing NFL is always in the back of your mind, it’s the ultimate goal. Each time when I kick the ball, that’s the only thing I think about. For the first year I just want to get over there, get into it, do the job and do it well and then start ramping it up once I get used to the environment and get bigger and stronger."
Australia experience: Bungaree and 2001 Central Highlands senior league
“Ever since I was a kid, people have always commented on the long kick I have.  I have heard many stories about my dad, Leo, being a big kick – he taught me how to kick so I think that’s where I got it from. Punting is not just about distance, it is about hang time as well, so you have to have the power in your leg to get both....

I arrived in the USA at the end of May and spent one month training and attending kicking and punting camps in New Orleans and Orlando. For the last month, I have been based in Green Bay, Wisconsin, training with [Chris] Bryan and Josh Bartel and waiting for the lockout to end so I can attend workouts with interested teams....

Obviously, it would be amazing to get an NFL contract, especially being a country footballer who has never played professional AFL. My short-term goals are to get signed to an NFL team, get through the pre-season competition, perform well and make it on to the regular roster. It’s a cut-throat business and every day you are competing for your spot. Long-term, my goals are to establish myself as a competitive punter in the NFL, as well as keep learning and improving my skills.”

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