the study of the kicking components within sports

Friday, September 30, 2011

Fred Mitchell Award September 2011 Recognizees, part 2

The Fred Mitchell Award recognizes 42 place-kickers for their excellence on the football field and in the community during the month of September.

The breakdown of the 42 place-kickers is as follows:
  • Collegiate Division – 11 FCS, 18 Division II, 8 Division III, 2 NAIA and 3 NJCAA
  • State – the place-kickers play at schools located in 25 different states with five place-kickers at schools in Pennsylvania
  • Year – 21 Seniors, 10 Juniors, 9 Sophomores, 2 Freshmen
  • Included on the Preseason Watch List for the 2011 Fred Mitchell Award - 25
In alphabetical order, the second third of the Fred Mitchell Award honorees for September 2011 are listed below.

TAYLOR GROFF, East Stroudsburg University (Pennsylvania) – Division II
Sophomore from Manheim, PA….scored 8 points against West Chester on September 24 in season debut from 2 of 2 FG’s and 2 of 2 PAT’s….tied career-long with 48-yard FG against West Chester….missed first three games of the season due to injury….set school record as a freshman last season by making 16 of 21 FG’s including making all 12 FG’s from under 40 yards…volunteer for children’s programs at local church….participates in school’s Breakfast with the Warriors during preseason camp…volunteers at Kohl’s Kicking Camps and Special Teams Solutions Camps

CHRISTOPHER HAZELTON, Southern Connecticut State University – Division II
Senior from Bristol, CT…3rd on the Owls in scoring with 28 points from 3 of 4 FG’s and 19 of 22 PAT’s….ranked 2nd in school history with 111 career PAT’s, just 4 shy of the record….tied career-high by scoring 13 points including career-long 44-yard FG in 61-0 win over Pace on September 23….scored 11 points in 59-34 win over St. Anselm on September 17….only FG miss was from 49 yards….averaging 56 yards per kickoff….participated in the school’s annual Big Event community service project…campus community Orientation Ambassador

NOAH HEIMER, Lock Haven University (Pennsylvania) – Division II
Senior from Lock Haven, PA….leads the team in scoring with 17 points from 5 of 7 FG’s and 2 of 2 PAT’s….ranks 9th in PSAC scoring….ranks 10th in Division II and 4th in the Conference with 1.67 FG’s per game….scored 8 points against Millersville on September 10….volunteer at Robbie Gould’s “Good as Gould” kicking camp…Lock Haven summer football camp volunteer

AARON JAMIESON, University of Central Missouri – Division II
Junior from Cassville, MO….2nd on the 19th ranked Mules in scoring with 31 points from 4 of 4 FG’s and 19 of 19 PAT’s…. named MIAA Special Teams Player of the Week on September 12 after making school-record 53-yard FG against Missouri Western….scored 9 points in come-from-behind win at Emporia State on September 17….scored 10 points in 54-30 win over Truman State on September 24….moved into 2nd place in school history with 124 made PAT’s….ranks 5th in school history with 25 made FG’s….199 career points ranks 5th among UCM kickers and 9th for all players. Literacy Team volunteer where student-athletes read to local elementary school students….Veteran’s Home volunteer in Warrensburg….Fellowship of Christian Athletes…leads worship services…collaborated with his father at his high school alma mater to start The Character Project where students participate in regular community service

BILLY JANSSEN, Drake University (Iowa) – FCS
Senior from Round Lake Beach, IL….2nd on the Bulldogs in scoring with 17 points from 3 of 5 FG’s and 8 of 9 PAT’s ….scored 9 points in 27-23 win over Missouri S&T on September 17….averaging 56 yards on 17 kickoffs….instrumental leader on the team’s May 2011 trip to Tanzania, Africa to perform service projects and climb Mt. Kilimanjaro as extensions of the Bulldogs’ Global Kilimanjaro Bowl game…helped build an addition on a school and make significant repairs to orphanages and schools in Moshi and Arusha…helped organize his teammates for their participation in the program’s annual Youth Day where area school children are invited to come to Drake Stadium for an afternoon of football-related fun and games…visited youth at the Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines….packed meals for “Meals from the Heartland”

RYAN JASTRAM, North Dakota State University – FCS
Senior from Sioux Falls, SD….2nd on the Bison in scoring with 21 points from 1 of 2 FG’s and 18 of 18 PAT’s….has made 60 straight PAT’s dating to last season….made 49-yard FG in 8th ranked NDSU’s 37-24 win at Minnesota on September 24….averaging 63 yards on 22 kickoffs....Kohl’s Kicking Camp Counselor….Fargo Parks & Recreation work during summer months….reads to local elementary school students

TONY KEBEDE, North Park University (Illinois) – Division III
Junior from Fort Wayne, IN….leads the Vikings in scoring from 25 points from 5 of 6 FG’s and 10 of 10 PAT’s….CCIW Special Teams Player of the Week on September 6 and September 26….scored 8 points in 13-10 win over Washington University-St. Louis….averaging 55 yards on 17 kickoffs….youth football league athletic trainer….North Park University youth football camp volunteer

FRANK KEENAN, Fairmont State University (West Virginia) – Division II
Senior from Byfleet, England....Team Captain….2nd on the Fighting Falcons in scoring with 37 points from 7 of 10 FG’s and 16 of 17 PAT’s….54 career PAT’s is tied for 7th in school history …leads Conference in FG’s made….made career-long 46-yard FG against West Liberty on September 24 which is also the longest this season for any WVIAC kicker and earned Conference Special Teams Player of the Week honors….scored 10 points against Glenville State on September 17 thanks to a Conference-high 3 FG’s in the game….averaged 56 yards on 27 kickoffs….played rugby at a university in England before attending Fairmont State….President of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee….organized a Faculty Appreciation Tailgate prior to a football game including recruiting faculty and student-athletes to attend....raises funds for Make-A-Wish….reads at local elementary schools….coordinated the Community Read & Feed program where fans brought food and books to a FSU football game to the student-athletes who distributed these items to libraries, food shelters and schools…was instrumental in involving the school’s student-athletes in the “Paint the Town Maroon” initiative where the teams put up school-themed scarecrows on local light posts…organized events for Pancreatic Cancer Month and Breast Cancer Awareness Month

NICK KINNEY, Newberry College (South Carolina) – Division II
Senior from Goose Creek, SC….leads team in scoring with 19 points from 3 of 3 FG’s and 10 of 10 PAT’s….first season as starting kicker…volunteers for multiple charity fundraisers…participated in Lock Up program to raise $30,000 for the Muscular Dystrophy Association….raised money for a family affected by a house fire….helping plan the second Breast Cancer Breakfast to raise money for the Susan G. Komen Foundation….regular volunteer in local highway clean-up efforts

SHAWN LEO, West Chester University (Pennsylvania) – Division II
Sophomore from Harleysville, PA….leads the Golden Rams in scoring with 40 points from 10 of 12 FG’s and 10 of 10 PAT’s….ranks 3rd in PSAC and 23rd nationally with 10 points per game….has scored more points and made more FG’s than any kicker in the Conference….2nd in Division II with 2.5 FG’s per game….set school record with 4 FG’s against New Haven on September 3….made 3 FG’s in win over Slippery Rock on September 20….needs 2 FG’s to tie school’s single-season record….Autism Walk volunteer for past two years….Relay for Life participant on campus for past two years….volunteer little league umpire in hometown for past two years

WILL LOCKWOOD, Bentley University (Massachusetts) – Division II
Junior from Menlo Park, CA….leads the Falcons in scoring with 29 points from 4 of 5 FG’s and 17 of 17 PAT’s….leads Conference kickers in scoring and 5th overall….scored 12 in 50-3 win over SUNY Maritime on September 2….scored 5 points including 44-yard FG against West Virginia Wesleyan on September 10….scored 7 points in 31-12 win at Stonehill on September 16….scored 5 points in 43-15 win over Saint Anselm on September 23….helped incoming freshmen move into dorms along with the rest of the football team…service trips to Mexico, Costa Rica and Honduras

TOM LYNCH, Saint Xavier University (Illinois) - NAIA
Senior from Frankfort, IL….tied for 1st on the #1 ranked Cougars with 36 points from 4 of 4 FG’s and 24 of 24 PAT’s…ranks 2nd in school history in career scoring by place-kickers with 267 points….scored 13 points in season-opening 55-10 win over Olivet Nazarene on September 3….scored 10 points in 34-30 win over St. Francis on September 10 including a 45-yard FG in the third quarter to take the lead….scored 6 points in 55-30 win over Walsh on September 17….scored 7 points in 49-14 win over Trinity International on September 24….averaging 62 yards on 19 kickoffs….participated in the school’s annual Service Day where students do community service projects….volunteers at Misericordia in Chicago which is a community of care that maximizes potential for persons with mild to profound developmental disabilities….Vice President of school’s Criminal Justice Club….South Bridge Community Church summer day camp volunteer and provides complimentary maintenance and lawn care….place-kicker tutor to kicker at his high school alma mater

KYLE MAJOR, Colorado State University-Pueblo – Division II
Senior from Littleton, CO….leads the 14th ranked ThunderWolves in scoring with 47 points from 12 of 13 FG’s and 11 of 11 PAT’s….only missed FG was from 61 yards….6 of 6 FG’s from 40+ yards including 2 of 2 from 50+ yards….leads Division II in made FG’s…. two-time Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Special Teams Player of the Week….scored 14 points including the game-winning FG in 26-24 win over then-19th ranked West Texas A&M….school’s all-time leader in FG and points….speaks to local elementary and middle schools about sportsmanship and motivation….visits the St. Mary-Corwin Hospital during the football season to lift the spirits of sick children

ADRIAN MORA, Georgia Southern University - FCS
Senior from Dalton, GA….2nd on the Eagles in scoring with 31 points from 4 of 4 FG’s and 19 of 19 PAT’s…. set school record for most consecutive PAT’s (114)….led the team in scoring each of the past three seasons ….49 of 59 career FG’s…. one FG shy of tying the school’s career-best 50 FG’s….has not missed a PAT in his career….scored 7 points in 31-17 win over Samford on September 3….volunteers at the local Boys and Girls Club as mentor, tutor and participant in after-school athletics….reads to local elementary school students as part of the Real Men Read program of the Bulloch Board of Education….Relay for Life volunteer…participates in school’s Little Eagles Camp

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Fred Mitchell Award September 2011 Recognizees, part 1

The Fred Mitchell Award recognized 42 place-kickers for their excellence on the football field and in the community during the month of September. "September had quite a few college football games decided by late scores by place-kickers, long snappers, holders and blockers on special teams. It has been a very exciting start to the college football season. We are pleased to recognize place-kickers that were nominated by their schools for extraordinary performance during the month, even some that were raised as far away as England and China," said Fred Mitchell. The Award’s Selection Committee Chairman Chris Kearney added, "The place-kickers we recognize are having tremendous success on the gridiron so far this season. In addition, their civic and volunteer activities are having a profound and positive impact in their communities. We are delighted to honor this group."

In alphabetical order, the first third of the Fred Mitchell Award honorees for September 2011 are listed below.

TYLER ALMEIDA, University of Mount Union (Ohio) – Division III
Junior from Elyria, OH….leads the #2 ranked Purple Raiders in scoring with 33 points from 4 of 6 FG’s and 21 of 22 PAT’s….scored 11 points in 41-17 win over Wisconsin-Oshkosh on September 10….scored 12 points in 66-7 win over Wilmington on September 24 …Raider Buddy Program volunteer to visit local elementary schools to mentor and tutor students

GREGG BERKSHIRE, Ashland University (Ohio) – Division II
Senior from Ashland, OH….tied for 1st on the team in scoring with 42 points from 9 of 13 FG’s and 15 of 15 PAT’s….owns school kicking records with 133 career PAT’s, 49 FG’s and 280 points….leads the Conference in kick scoring, FG’s and PAT’s….tied for 1st in Division II in FG’s per game….GLIAC Special Teams Player of the Week….scored 15 points in 39-36 four OT win over Indianapolis on September 10….was kicker on summer 2011 United States team that won the Gold Medal at the International Federation of American Football Senior World Championship…. averaged 62 yards in 23 kickoffs…filmed a television spot for Ashland County United Way to promote the United Drive program to collect canned goods from local residents…volunteered for United Drive collection campaign…spoke to Ashland Middle School students about the importance of goal setting and he also read them books….guest speaker at several Sunday School classes at local church….involved in community drive to upgrade Ashland City Schools where he distributed literature, posted signs in the community and sent letters to support the initiative…joined teammates at campus bookstore to read stories to area children

ZACH BROWN, Portland State University (Oregon) – FCS
Junior from Keizer, OR….2nd on the Vikings in scoring with 20 points from 4 of 4 FG’s and 8 of 9 PAT’s…. holds school record for most career FG’s with 40 and with nearly two seasons yet to play….holds school record with 10 consecutive FG’s made dating to last season….has made 4 of the school’s 9 all-time FG’s over 50 yards…tied career record with 44 consecutive PAT’s made….averaged 60 yards on 17 kickoffs….volunteer at McLaren Juvenile Detention Center….participated in Male Involvement Night at River Road Head Start which is a child development program for low-income and special needs children…participated in the Walk to D’Feet ALS

RYAN BULLOCK, Lane College (Tennessee) – Division II
Freshman from Hackleburg, AL….leads the team in scoring with 25 points from 5 of 6 FG’s and10 of 10 PAT’s….chosen as SIAC Honorable Mention Player of the Week in his first week playing college football after 17-10 win over Edward Waters College….SIAC Special Teams Player of the Week after September 17 win over Point University by 48-16….SIAC Honorable Mention Player of the Week after September 24 game against Morehouse College….averaging 51 yards in 20 kickoffs….group leader volunteer in the school’s “Clean Up the Campus” community event

CHASE CARPENTER, Northwest Mississippi Community College – NJCAA
Freshman from Slayden, MS….4th on the team in scoring with 24 points from 1 of 4 FG’s and 21 of 24 PAT’s….on pace to finish in the top 5 in PAT’s made and attempted in single-season school history…averaging 57 yards on 27 kickoffs….exceeded 50 hours in community service….Vacation Bible School volunteer

BILL CRORY, Nichols College (Massachusetts) – Division III
Senior from Townsend, MA…leads team in scoring with 17 points from 4 of 5 FG’s and 5 of 7 PAT’s….ranks 2nd in NEFC in FG’s and FG percentage…scored 7 points at Framingham State on September 9….averaging 46 yards on 14 kickoffs….volunteered with his family to build a walkway at his hometown church….Special Olympics on-campus volunteer each Friday afternoon…helped over 100 youth football players in the school’s first Youth Football Clinic….on-campus tutor for math, accounting, finance and management classes

JASON CUNNINGHAM, Montana State University (Montana) – FCS
Senior from Amarillo, TX….leads the Bobcats and the Big Sky Conference in scoring with 41 points from 9 of 11 FG’s and 14 of 14 PAT’s …owns record for most career points in school history with 282 points…56 career FG’s is most in school history and 6th in Conference history….made all 5 FG attempts in win at Eastern Washington including two 55-yard FG’s…scored 11 points in 43-7 win over Minot State on September 17….6 of 9 FG’s from beyond 50 yards in career….volunteers in the Bozeman public school system

LONG DING, Norwich University (Vermont) – Division III
Senior from Qing Dao, China….2nd on the team in scoring with 18 points from 2 of 4 FG’s and 12 of 12 PAT’s….has made 24 consecutive PAT’s dating back to last season….scored 7 points in 38-20 win over Becker on September 24….averaging 44 yards on 19 kickoffs….nominated for the National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award for excellence on the football field, in the classroom and in the community….volunteer Academic Mentor on campus

DAVE EDEN, University of Northern Colorado - FCS
Sophomore from Westminster, CO….leads the team in scoring with 21 points from 4 of 4 FG’s and 9 of 9 PAT’s….made career-long 42-yard FG at Idaho State on September 17 which is the 4th longest kick since the school was added to the FCS in 2006….averaging 53 yards on 5 kickoffs….volunteers for Bagging with the Bears program where student-athletes help the community by bagging and carting groceries to vehicles

RYAN ESTEP, Norfolk State University (Virginia) – FCS
Senior from Chesapeake, VA…leads the team in scoring with 42 points from 11 of 11 FG’s and 9 of 9 PAT’s….two-time MEAC Special Teams Player of the Week after games against West Virginia on September 10 and Charleston Southern on September 24….tied career-best 3 FG’s in a game three times during September….leads FCS kickers with 2.75 FG’s per game….10.5 points per game is 2nd highest in the Conference and 8th in FCS….Great Bridge High School football camp volunteer

DANIEL FISHER, Bloomsburg University (Pennsylvania) – Division II
Sophomore from Harrisburg, PA….2nd on the Huskies in scoring with 36 points from 7 of 8 FG’s and 15 of 17 PAT’s ….scored 8 points in 20-16 win over Indiana (PA) on September 15….averaging 57 yards on 26 kickoffs….Habitat for Humanity volunteer….helped renew local town park in The Big Event community service program….Ronald McDonald House volunteer

JACOB GAHART, Ripon College (Wisconsin) – Division III
Junior from Elkhorn, WI….2nd on the team in scoring with 25 points from 4 of 5 FG’s and 13 of 14 PAT’s…named Midwest Conference Special Teams Performer of the Week on September 6 and September 19….20 career FG’s ranks 2nd in school history….made 45-yard FG which is his 2nd longest and 6th longest in school history…ranks 2nd in conference scoring by a kicker this season and 10th overall….scored a season-high 10 points in 42-14 win at Wisconsin Lutheran….averaging 52 yards on 23 kickoffs….has one reception for 9 yards this season….career development department volunteer at Ripon College….mentor to students at Ripon Middle School….assisted with research to establish an improved test for freshmen during Summer orientation

JORDAN GAY, Centre College (Kentucky) – Division III
Junior from Danville, KY….2nd on team in scoring with 33 points from 6 of 6 FG’s and 15 of 15 PAT’s….two-time SCAC Special Teams Player of the Week on September 6 and September 26….scored 18 points in 38-21 win over Hanover…named to D3football Team of the Week….made a 51-yard FG in 45-0 win over Austin on September 26….averaging 64 yards on 23 kickoffs…participated in city park clean-up…served as tutor for local high school students….campus tour guide

HERB GLASS, University at Albany - FCS
Senior from Miller Place, NY….leads team in scoring with 19 points from 3 of 4 FG’s and 10 of 10 PAT’s….became the school’s highest-scoring place-kicker on September 3….ranks 5th in career scoring overall with 183 points….set school record for career FG’s made with 29 against Columbia on September 24….96 career PAT’s ranks 3rd in school history…Northeast Conference Special Teams Player of the Week following Colgate game on September 3…one of five school kickers to make two FG’s over 40 yards….tied the 3rd longest FG in school history (48 yards) and made a 41-yard FG on the first possession in overtime….participates in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk….raised funds and walked in the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Walk

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Collingwood or Geelong?

The Australian Rules football season comes to its grand conclusion this weekend with the AFL Grand Final, where the Collingwood Magpies will face the Geelong Cats. We checked in with a few Aussies, who have become associated with American football punting, to get their thoughts on the big game.

Chris Bryan (from Keysborough, Victoria, Australia)
punter for Tampa Bay Bucs last September and the NY Jets this preaseason; also a former Magpie
"I think Collingwood will win and go back to back. They are a well balanced side with a great leader in Nick Maxwell. They will know what the week will entail and will take it in stride. Then go out there on the biggest stage and get it done. Hope it's a cracking game & wish everyone the best of luck. Collingwood by 16 points."
Scott Crough (from Bungaree, Victoria, Australia)
has worked out for several NFL teams, including the Browns after Reggie Hodges was injured
"I am a Geelong fan from way back as my cousin Sean Simpson played in the '94 Grand Final with the Cats, so I have been a mad Geelong supporter since i was a kid. Also my favorite player was Ben Graham for his long kicking when he was at the Cats."
Dave Lonie (from Palm Beach Australia)
former punter for University of California
"A very tough question and an answer that's very hard to give. I would have to give the edge to Collingwood because of the confidence they would have got out of last week's win over Hawthorn. I'd say they would carry that momentum into this week."
Sam Irwin Hill (from Bendigo Australia)
punter for City College of San Francisco
"Geelong, they are going to be too strong of a team with the players they have who are in better form and the margins they have been winning by, also to mention cats beat the pies twice threw the regular season, it shows they are the dominant team and will prove it on the weekend, for me Cats by 7 points."
John Smith (from Leafield England)
former NFL and CFL kicker, now with Prokick Australia
"It should be an incredibly close final. Collingwood for me because the Pies have found a way to win when they have not been at their best. Geelong have more experience but after last year's win Collingwood know how much a win will mean to their coach Mick Malthouse who is stepping down after the Grand Final. Go Pies!"
Jy Bond (from Melbourne Australia)
Punted for UFL's Hartford Colonials last year
"The Aussie grand final is a huge day back home in my home town Melbourne! I will be watching live here in the USA ! I will have to go with the Cats as a lot of my good mates back home root for Geelong."
Brad Wing (from Melbourne Australia)
Punter for Louisiana State University
"Have to say Collingwood! They're more local to my hometown than Geelong. I have been slacking in keeping up with the AFL the past season but I have always liked Collingwood. I grew up supporting the North Melbourne Kangaroos. But Collingwood are a great side. A lot of tradition in that program."
Alexander Kinal (from Adelaide Australia)
punter for Wake Forest University
"To be honest I have not had time to watch a lot of the footy this year. It'll be a solid game I think though, but I will go with Collingwood."
Dan Power (from Brisbane Australia)
has worked out for several NFL teams, including the Broncos recently
"I don't really enjoy the Aussie Rules stuff, I am a Rugby League man myself. If pushed for an answer I would say Geelong as it would be fitting that a team named the "Cats" should win a competition played in by a bunch of cats. Now to the real question, Warriors or Sea Eagles? I hope the Warriors because no one likes Manly. Here is a little taste of the game that the real Australian men play... Amazing Young Rugby Talent - Almost Famous 2011 Highlights"

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Muscular Kicking, part 1

by guest blogger AJ Wells
[editor's note: the following is adapted from a speech given by AJ this past summer]

Hello, I’m AJ Wells, a rising 10th grader at Marion County High School. I started this past season on my High School’s varsity football team as kicker, punter and kick off specialist. Our team won the region championship and I was also named first team all region kicker by a unanimous vote of the 11 coaches throughout the region, and all-area punter according to the local newspaper, Americus Times-Recorder. In individual competition this year I achieved the number one ranking for kickers for the class of 2014 according to Ray Guys’

I would have been unable to accomplish any of this without having a proper stretching routine to get my muscles prepared for practice and games. This stretching routine had me ready before the whistle, and I came out of the gates at the top of my game. The idea of a warm up is to prepare your muscles for strenuous activity without wearing out your body in the process. Warming up and stretching combines to alert your muscles for use, but warming up mainly awakes your muscles. Stretching releases the tension in the muscles so that they are going to be relaxed and can get in the right position, in a sense, for your activity.

Kicking involves every muscle in the body, but mainly legs. So I will only cover leg muscles. Before we get into how to warm up and stretch for kicking, let me take you through a detailed demonstration of my kicking motion, paying attention to the muscles that I focus on.

My first step is to explode out of the prep position, by taking my right foot from behind my left, all the way out to almost a yard away from my left.
  • This small movement, at full speed requires your left calves muscles to produce an explosion of energy to propel your entire body, from a still motion, to moving forward at your highest speed possible.
  • It also requires your right quadriceps to help propel your right leg from so far behind your left leg, to so far in front.
  • Compared to the rest of the motions, the first step is fairly simple.
Next is the final step before you kick the football. All of your energy generated from the first step, will be doubled. This step is important for getting yourself to your maximum power, and positioning yourself correctly for the kick. Let’s decipher the muscles we use during this last step:
  • Your right calfs and quadriceps must work in sync to continue your energy from your first step to this one.
  • Your abductor muscles for both legs must work in sync to pull your left leg from behind your right to beside it, then to in front of it.
  • Your quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves must be conditioned to support the rest of your body during this high speed motion.
Now is the kick. The past two steps have been producing the energy and acceleration to get you to this point. Let’s examine what muscle are used from the beginning of this final motion, to the end.
  • When I landed with my left foot in my plant spot, I landed on my heel with my toe stretched in the air. This is the beginning of what will become much like a rocking motion to propel me through my kick.
  • Mmy foot went, from my heel, to being flat, to on my toe for a split second, to being in the air in the follow through. My calves must be warmed up for this kind of support it is giving the body.
  • My right leg is back, prepared to sweep through the kick. My left adductors are going to pull my right leg through the kick, at tremendous speed. My right quadriceps is going to guide my leg to the ball, as my knee is almost above the ball, my leg is going to begin to straighten. This requires my abductors to be warmed up and stretched, so that this quick acceleration of the use of the muscles in that area aren’t injured during the process. As my leg straightens completely and snaps through the ball, my foot must become extended.
  • My leg is propelling through the ball, and I have entered the follow through of the kick. Much like any other sport, the follow through of the kick is as important as any other part of the kick. Your hamstring must be warmed up, and stretched properly to withstand this kind of extension. This is probably the part of the kick most prone to injury. As my right foot is going higher in the air, my left foot, as shown earlier, is in the air moving with my right foot. As my left foot lands, my right leg is going to descend from its peak, and once it lands, I will walk forward to slow down the motion of my body. This serves as a simple cool down for the kick. A cool down, is a simple relaxation of the muscles after a strenuous activity. Much like deep breathing, or jogging.
Editor's note:  Part 2 will discuss how warming up affects the various muscle groups.

Monday, September 26, 2011

NFL Week Three: Kickers to the Rescue

Detroit had lost their last 13 games played at Minnesota. Yesterday they were well on their way to a 14th, having fallen behind 20-0 by halftime. In the second half however, they battled back and took the lead. Vikings kicker Ryan Longwell tied it up with 49 yard field goal with 1:11 left in regulation, sending the game to overtime. Less than two minutes into the extra period, Lions kicker Jason Hanson won the game with a 32 yarder.
"Twenty (points) down, it doesn't matter how good you are, that's pushing impossible. They're at home and playing good, and they were good on defense. That was amazing....

I thank them every day for inviting me back. Last year, they started showing they were pretty good, and I knew that we were going to have a chance to be good, and I really wanted to play. ... That's a good 3-0, (but) it doesn't win anything yet."
Buffalo had lost their last 15 games against New England. Yesterday they were well on their way to a 16th, having fallen behind 21-0 six minutes into the second quarter. Thereafter however they battled back and even took the lead early in the fourth quarter. A Patriots touchdown tied it with 3:25 left in the game. Bills kicker Rian Lindell would break the tie on the final play of the game, with a 28 yard field goal to win it.
"It's kind of like a horror movie when you don't see the bad guy and finally when he comes out you relax because you can start fighting him. Maybe I shouldn't equate it to a horror film, but it's kind of how it is, that anticipation of driving. But once they get into field-goal range, I kind of get into my routine.

They're all big to me because you're trying to keep a job. Once I get out there and I look at [holder Brian Moorman's] fingers, it's kind of calming.

It's kind of like, 'We're going to get this, take a deep breath and get ready,'" Lindell said. "When I go out on the field, they're all big."

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Big Kickers on Campus, 2011 week 4

A summary of notable kicking during the fourth week of the 2011 college football season:

Senior kicker Jason Cunningham hit five field goals (55, 55, 32, 32 & 43 yards) in Montana State's 36-21 win over Eastern Washington.
"The adrenaline was rushing through my veins, and honestly, I'm just to the point where I'm having fun. If we are winning, I'm having fun. There's not pressure on me with those long field goals. It's big, it's huge, I can't even describe what this win is like to come in here and win on the red turf. Anything I can do to help the team win is what I'm here for."
Freshman DB/kicker Cesar Vaca-Hurtado hit a 34 yard field goal with seven seconds remaining to give American International a 37-34 win over Stonehill College.

Senior kicker Derek Dimke's 21 yard field goal with 8:14 remaining proved to be the game winner in Illinois' 23-20 win over Western Michigan.
"That's part of the process of the field goal unit doing its job. Everyone was blocking real well. (Zak) Pedersen was giving great snaps. Tim (Russell) was holding great. They made my job easier."
Freshman kicker Hillman Tabi hit a 26 yard field goal to give Livingstone a 24-21 overtime win over Lynchburg and to end a 28 game losing streak.

Freshman kicker Chris Rogers hit a 22 yard field goal with 1:00 left in the game to give Sacred Heart a 24-21 win over Dartmouth.

Sophomore kicker Ross Krautman's 28 yard field goal, his fourth of the game, gave Syracuse a 33-30 win over Toledo in overtime.
"I just have to forget about every kick [an earlier missed PAT]. Whether you make it or miss it, I have to go on to the next kick. When you start thinking about the one before, you're going to miss them in the long run."
Junior kicker Adam Shreiner made a 33 yard overtime field goal, his fourth of the game, to give Elon and 18-15 victory over Citadel in overtime.
"That was my best kick of the day. No doubt. Right down the middle."
Sophomore kicker Brian Davis kicked six field goals (24, 32, 33, 34, 21 & 33 yards) in Arkansas State's 53-24 win over Central Arkansas.
"It was just kind of clicking. Today I just kind of knew it was my day. I thought the snapping was great."
Sophomore kicker Jackson MacLachlan hit a 27-yard field goal with 50 seconds remaining to give Southern Illinois a 20-18 victory over Missouri State.

Senior kicker Logan Mitseff made a 37 yard field goal with 3:27 remaining to give Adrian a 19-17 win over Concordia (IL).

If we missed someone that should be on the above list, please let us know!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

NFL Week Two: To Kick Or Not To Kick

Every year there are always several coaching decisions regarding potential field goal attempts that are scrutinized in hindsight. This week featured three such occurrences.

Dallas at San Francisco
The situation: David Akers hits a 55 yard field goal to put the 49ers ahead 24-14 with 11:16 remaining in the fourth quarter. There is a 15 yard penalty on the Cowboys during the kick.

The decision and result: rather than accept the penalty and bring the offense back on the field, San Francisco opts to keep the three points on the board and take the 15 yard on the ensuing kickoff. Dallas would go on to tie the game and then win it on a field goal in overtime.

49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh said:
“The thinking about it at the time was, had the two-score advantage at that point, felt that we would be able to get off the field and that would lead to a victory."
Cincinnati at Denver
The situation: The Bengals trailed 22-24 with 3:09 remaining in the game. They have the ball, 4th down and 1 yard to go on the Broncos 36 yard line.

The decision and result: Instead of a 54 yard field goal attempt by Mike Nugent, the offense runs a passing play which is incomplete. The score holds and the Broncos win the game.

Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said:
"You had a big wind. I don’t know if you noticed the wind yesterday, but it changed seven or eight times during the game. It changed at halftime from when we came on the field to when they kicked off. There were a lot of big changes (in the wind). We had a lot of confidence that we could make the first down on offense. We went for two because I felt like we could make it. You can sit here in hindsight and (second guess).
If we would’ve made the first down, would you have asked me if why I didn’t kick the field goal? I didn’t think so. That’s kind of petty to come back and ask questions like that afterward. I thought only people there did that. But we had a lot of confidence in making it, and we didn’t make it. Looking at it now, the best thing to do would’ve been to punt it."
Baltimore at Tennessee
The situation: the Ravens trailed 10-23 with 7:03 remaining in the game. They have the ball 4th down and goal at the 11 yard line.

The decision and result: rather than trying for a touchdown to pull within a score, they opt for a 29 yard field goal, which Billy Cundiff makes. The Titans subsequently score a field goal and win 26-13.

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said:
"It was fourth-and-what from the what? The percentages aren’t really good. So I figured, let’s get the three [points] right here. We’ve got about seven minutes left, we have all our timeouts. [We can] kick it down there, try to get a stop, and we’ve got enough time. If it had been fourth-and-six at the goal, then you’re going for it. My thought was to go for it, but it got to be fourth and 11. That was a little too desperate. You can probably make a case the other way, but I don’t know how better a case it would be."

Monday, September 19, 2011

NFL Week Two: 55ers & Redeemed

The second week of the 2011 NFL season saw a pair of established veteran kickers each nail a 55 yard field goal, albeit in a losing cause, and a pair of younger kickers redeemed themselves by hitting clutch winning field goals after having previously missed shorter kicks.

The first of the 55 yarders came off the foot of Jacksonville kicker Josh Scobee. Unfortunately for the Jaguars it was one of the few bright spots in their 32-3 loss to the Jets. The second 55 yarder is still being discussed. When David Akers hit it early in the fourth quarter, it gave the 49ers a 10 point lead over the Cowboys. There was a 15 yard penalty during the play, however San Francisco opted to decline the penalty and keep the three points on the board. Dallas went on to tie the game, and then win it in overtime, as we shall discuss in further detail below. Regardless, here at Kickology we're always in favor of field goals over touchdowns. Aker's kick ranks as follows among some previous long balls:
David Akers' 55-yard field goal in the fourth quarter was the third-longest in 49ers history, behind two 56-yarders by Joe Nedney in 2005 and Mike Cofer in 1990. But those both came on the road, in domes. Akers' kick is the longest by a 49er outdoors and at Candlestick. The longest of his career was a 57-yarder against New England in 2003.
After a perfect preseason, Washington kicker Graham Gano got off to a slow start in the regular season, with a missed 39 yard attempt last week against the Giants and a blocked 30 yard attempt late in the first half of this week's game against the Cardinals. Nonetheless, he was successful on three other field goals this week, including a 34 yarder with 1:45 remaning in the game to give the Redskins a 22-21 victory.
“After the block, I went up to [special teams coach Danny Smith] and I told him we were going to have a chance to win on a field goal. I had a feeling it was going to come down to that at the end....
I was pretty pumped up; I’ve been there before. I’m just excited for those opportunities. The biggest thing is you try not to think about it too much. You just go back to what you’ve done in practice and let your instincts take over. That’s what I try to do and hope that everything goes well and put the ball through the uprights.”
Although this week's game at San Francisco didn't begin well for Dallas kicker Dan Bailey, as he missed a 21 yard field goal attempt on the opening possession, it ended in storybook fashion. On the final play of regulation his 48 yard field goal tied the game. His 19 yarder in overtime gave the Cowboys a 27-24 win over the 49ers.
"It was definitely a roller coaster for me. I'd like to have that first one back, but that's OK. You've got to take it one kick at a time. Luckily, I got a couple of opportunities to redeem myself and went out there and put them through....
I just left [the first kick] out there. It was one of those kicks you need to make. You need to make all your kicks. I'm not going to make any excuses. You've got to do your job. Luckily, I got a chance to redeem myself."

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Big Kickers on Campus, 2011 week 3

A summary of notable kicking during the third week of the 2011 college football season:

Senior kicker Logan Mitseff hit a 45 yard field goal as time expired to give Adrian a 17-14 win over Augustana (IL).

Junior kicker Drew Alleman hit four fields goals (21, 42, 41 & 29 yards) in LSU's 19-6 win over Mississippi State.
"There's pressure, but as a kicker, you have to block that out. Just going out there and doing my job for the team is what I'm here to do."
Freshman kicker Spencer Hotaling made a 19 yard field goal with one second remaining to give Susquehanna a 20-18 win over Dickinson.
"I could see [the University president] out there setting up behind the [goal posts]. I thought if he has that kind of confidence in me, I'm just going to kick it right to him."
Junior kicker Drake Nahrwold's 27 yard field goal with 6.23 left in the fourth quarter proved to be the game winner in LaGrange's 13-10 win over Maryville (TN).

Senior kicker Blair Walsh hit a 56 yard field goal during Georgia's 59-0 shutout of Coastal Carolina.
"I was just thinking I had to hit it, give it a ride and at least get it there."
Freshman kicker Blake Penix 32 yard field goal with 4:26 remaining gave The Apprentice School a 9-7 win over Greensboro College.

Sophomore kicker Cameron Starke hit a 40 yard field goal as time expired to give James Madison a 27-24 win over Liberty.
"As I was lining up, all I was thinking about was that we do this every single day in practice. I knew [long snapper Chris] Beaver was going to do his job, so I had to do my job. I had to just put my head down and follow through."
Junior kicker Caleb Sturgis made four field goals (28, 30, 46 & 42 yards) in Florida's 33-23 win over Tennessee.
"I'm just hitting the ball pretty good right now. It's as good as I've felt since 2009. Obviously, that one off the crossbar you want to clean up that a little bit."
Sophomore kicker Drake Kuhn hit a 28 yard field goal with 5:28 remaining to give William & Mary a 13-10 win over New Haven.

Junior kicker Daniel Anderson made a 43 yard field goal with 3:15 remaining to give Valdosta State a 30-27 win over Albany State.

If we missed someone that should be on the above list, please let us know!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

UFL 2011 Specialists

The 2011 United Football League regular season kicks off this evening. With four teams, that means jobs for four kickers, four punters and four long snappers.

Las Vegas Locomotives
K Aaron Pettrey (Ohio State)
"It's a little nerve-wracking. Me and Brandon [Coutu] are just trying to get better. It's been very competitive, but it's been friendly. He's a good guy."
P Danny Baugher (Arizona)
LS Rigo Morales (Texas A&M Kingsville)

Omaha Nighthawks
K Jeff Wolfert (Missouri)
"I could have sat out and waited for an NFL team to maybe call me, or I could come play football. I have a team that wants me, I can play for the next seven weeks and I can stay sharp. There could be some movement early in the season, but those chances are probably going to go to some of the veteran kickers that are free agents now. I probably would have waited anyway, so I decided I'd rather be here. Who wants to sit around unemployed waiting for the phone to ring?... Some people in the Browns organization told me that I'm an NFL kicker and I have what it takes. I think I've proven that, and now it's just a matter of right time, right place. There could be a chance to be in Cleveland next year. There might be a chance to be somewhere else. But for now, I'm happy to be here."
P Thomas Mante (Yale)
LS Matt Overton (Tracy)

Sacramento Mountain Lions
K Fabrizio Scaccia (no college)
"It's been a fun ride. Especially for a guy who didn't go to a major college, really any college."
P Tom Malone (USC)
LS Aaron King (UTEP)

Virginia Destroyers
K Delbert Alvarado (South Florida)
"It's awesome, especially for a guy like myself.  It's the first time I made the [final] cut. I was with the Cowboys last year and I bounced around and did some arena work and different things like that. Matt Henry, my holder, and Senser are great guys to be able to work with."
P Matthew Henry (New Hampshire)
LS Ryan Senser (Ohio)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

NFL Week One: The Punters

Several punters were in the news during the first week of the 2011 NFL season, and in many cases it wasn't just for punting. Raven's punter Sam Koch also servers as the holder on placekicks. On an extra point attempt following a third quarter touchdown during Baltimore's 35-7 win over Pittsburgh he turned into a runner and scored a two-point conversion:
"You’ve got the Steelers and the Ravens, which is such a bitter rivalry year-in and year-out. Rubbing it in their faces is definitely not the answer because you never know what can happen. You never when a game can change or the momentum, especially in a game against the Steelers. It was just a way to add more points and give us a more comfortable lead....
It was just something where the time arose, and we could do it, and we thought that was the time to do it. So we called it, and it went in. It was a great play and a great call.... To be honest with you, to see that hole open up in the game was a lot better than what we were seeing in practice. In practice, I had never seen that hole open up so big. It opened up nice and clean, and like [long snapper] Morgan [Cox] said, I could have stood up and walked in."
Facing one of the leagues top returners in Josh Cribbs, Bengals punter Kevin Huber was focused on directional placement rather than long distance punts during Cincinnati's 27-17 win over Cleveland.
"The focus all week was to get the ball into good position with good hang time. You saw on my poorer punts he had good returns. I think in the first half I had a great ball but it went right down the middle of the field. It might have gone 56 yards but he got a 20-yard return on it. I still have to work on that this week because in the next three or four weeks we have a lot of great returners. It doesn't stop with Cribbs."
On the other side of the field, things went from bad to worse to worst for Brown's punter Richmond McGee. During pregame warm-ups he injured his back. That manifested itself in several short punts during the game. Further examination following the game revealed a herniated disc. He was subsequently placed on IR and the team signed veteran Brad Maynard. McGee's agent David Canter commented:
"Soon as the game was over, I called him after seeing the numbers and hearing that fans were booing. He's devastated by it. He said, 'You don't know what it's like to try to punt without feeling your left.' Everybody in Cleveland wants to hang the guy. He gave it everything he had.... Hopefully, he'll have the opportunity to come back and punt again."
Another season ending injury lead to a dual role for Chargers punter Mike Scifres. When kicker Nate Kaeding was injured on the opening kickoff during San Diego's 24-17 win over Minnesota, Scifres had to handle all the kicking for the remainder of the game. That comprised three extra points and a 40 yard field goal (all successful), and four kickoffs (two of which went for touchbacks). He'll go back to just punting next week, as the team signed Nick Navak and placed Kaeding on IR. Scifres discussed his first and last placekicking experiences from his college days at Western Illinois:
"It was my sophomore year in college, and we were tied with seven seconds left. If we beat Northern Iowa, we'd win the conference, and if we lost, we would have gotten the second seed in our conference. I was able to make [a 56 yarder] with no time left. But that was another situation where I hadn't kicked a field goal with the team or in practice, and if I would have missed, we still would've gone into overtime and still had a chance. So I went out there and took a swing at it....
The extra point was actually the first time I had been behind a line with a snap and a hold since college. And that last field goal I kicked in college wasn't pretty. It was a 61-yard, just desperation (kick) and never got 10 feet off the ground. I don't like to remember that one."

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

NFL Week One: The Kickers

The first week of the 2011 NFL season saw some big kicks, especially in the evening games. On Sunday night, Nick Folk hit a 50 yard field goal with 27 seconds remaining in the game to give his current team, the Jets, a 27-24 win over his former team, the Cowboys. He began preparing for the kick with 49 seconds remaining in the game:
"As soon as [Darrelle Revis] started returning [the interception], I think I kicked two balls in the net, and I was already ready. I just said, 'Let's go'.... I hit it really well. I hit it just about as good as I could. I just trusted myself tonight, made sure it looked just like an extra point and just put it down the middle."
In the Giants 28-14 loss to Washington, kicker Lawrence Tynes returned to action after having missed the last few preseason games with a bruised thigh He saw his only field goal attempt blocked:
"I thought I hit it pretty good. I felt like I hit it like I hit all my kicks, they're not always going to be real, real high. [Holder] Steve [Weatherford] said I hit it good, it sounded good to him. Either way you look at it, it's a miss.... I got some work to do. My endurance is awful, after pregame I was gassed. It's going to take time, going to take another couple of weeks to get back in kicking shape."
David Akers got off to a good start in his new home. He was good on all four of his field goal attempts (27, 24, 31 & 18 yards) in the 49ers 33-17 win over the Seahawks.
"Just to win for Coach Harbaugh for the first and to know the family so well over the years, to be part of it is really something special. This is a franchise with great history and, obviously, the last some years have been a little on the down side. We are trying our best to change that. It takes time, but today was a good start.''
The biggest kick came at the end of the first half of the late game on Monday night. Just in case we had forgotten, Sebastian Janikowski reminded us that he has one of the strongest legs in the NFL, when he hit a record tying 63 yarder. He joins Tom Dempsey and Jason Elam atop the list for the longest field goal in NFL history. He commented afterward:
“"I had a dream I broke the record, and it was here in Denver. The ball really carries here. I didn't hit it really good, but that's no excuse. (The altitude) really helped it. ... It cleared by like one yard only....
It means a lot. I'm not big on setting goals, but I wanted to be 10 years in the league, break the record or tie the record and win the Super Bowl. Those were my three goals, and I've got two out of three. Hopefully, this year I get the third one.”

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Big Kickers on Campus, 2011 week 2

A summary of notable kicking during the second week of the 2011 college football season:

Senior kicker Robert Randolph made a 23 yard field goal, his fourth FG of the day, on the final play of the game to give Virginia a 34-31 win over Indiana.
"It was a big kick. I just try to make every kick the same."
 Senior kicker Brian Blumberg hit a 27 yard field goal with two seconds remaining to give Humboldt State a 38-36 win over Central Washington.
"It was super clear. They tried to freeze me with that timeout but they can't. I'm in the zone."
Senior kicker Nick Allison made a 35 yard field goal on the final play of the game to give Malone University a 30-27 win over McKendree.

Freshman kicker Chris McClearn’s 37 yard field goal gave Notre Dame College a 20-17 overtime victory over Walsh.

Sophomore kicker Carey Spear hit a 31 yard field goal with 2:56 left in the game as Vanderbilt won 24-21 over Connecticut.

Senior kicker Ali Mourtada's 27 yard field goal in overtime gave Pace University a 23-20 victory over Stonehill College.

Freshman kicker Christopher Barrick made a 36 yard field goal with four seconds remaining to give Prairie View A&M a 37-34 win over Texas Southern.

Freshman kicker Austin Clark hit an 18 yard field goal in overtime to lift Brevard College to a 38-35 win over Johnson C. Smith.

Senior kicker Gregg Berkshire made four field goals, including a 38 yarder with three seconds left in regulation to tie the game, in Ashland's 39-36 four-overtime win over Indianapolis.

Junior kicker Colin McGreevy hit a 30 yard field goal with nine seconds remaining to give Hillsdale College a 34-31 upset win over fourth-ranked Grand Valley State.

Freshman kicker Will Oliver made four field goals, including a 52 yarder and a game tying 32 yarder with 30 seconds left in regulation, in Colorado's 36-33 overtime loss to California.
"Coach Embree didn't know I had that 52-yard range, either. But you get out there on game day, you're feeling it, so you give it a shot."
If we missed someone that should be on the above list, please let us know!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Unslumpification, part 2

Last week we began our look at the process of getting out of a slump, or what most people refer to as unslumpification. This week we continue with more responses to the following questions:
If a player is in a kicking, punting or snapping "slump", what in your opinion is the most important thing to do to get out of the slump? And, what is the one thing they should not do?
Dan Lundy, One on One Kicking
"Short term memories, kickers must have them. Never dwell on the last bad rep, and never live off the last good one. Treat every rep as if it was your last game winning field goal. When we find ourselves paying attention to consecutive PAT's or field goals, we get lost in what others need to focus on and do not pay attention to what really matters. Focus on the now, whether it is practice or a game, and be the best you can be in everything you do. Nothing tomorrow or ten minutes from now is guaranteed."

"Go back to the basics. I tell my guys to go back to their drill work and not swing their leg much. Most punting slumps are 95% in your hands and missed kicks tend to be caused by little things. Basic drill work will cure most."

"During training camps and spring football it's common for players to develop problems or slump either because they are pressing, fatigued, or both. So when my clients tell me or I know they are slumping I like to revisit the basics of technique and develop perspective. This all the way to the NFL All-Pro level. First realize you are not alone in this. I had one of my biggest clients, Sebastian Janikowski, the Oakland Raiders all-time scorer and perhaps, one of the NFL's best, certainly, richest specialists, call me a few years back from the locker room before a pre-season game vs the 49ers to ask if I could come to the stadium. 'I am kicking grounders Paul, I don't know what the heck is going on'. This is not the time to over think but to help the player relax and develop his feel for the kick again. So we had a brief conversation about finishing position and timing and we'll start with that hoping it triggers his memory for the movement to come back and build on that after the game."

Mike McCabe, One on One Kicking
"Drill work muscle memory. Start from basics, work your way back. Don't nit pic everything and stop changing everything. Film work is they key."

Filip Filipovic, The Kicking Coach
"There are 3 things that cause slumps: 1. Unrealistic expectations, 2. Time traveling and 3. Focusing on things that a kicker cannot control. So, to prevent slumps: 1. Do not go into a game with any expectations. You are not in full control of your statistics. It is a team game where many circumstances are out of your control. 2. Do not think about the consequences of made or missed kicks. Whether you are picturing being carried off on your teammates' shoulders or being booed for missing a big kick, you are day-dreaming. It negatively affects your performance. Being over confident is as damaging as being anxious. It is a precision skill. You need a consistency with your mind set and mental arousal level. 3. Worrying about weather, your coach, your parents, fans, etc. takes the control out of our hands. Every kick is unique because of the weather, game situation and your ability.

You will be in a good mental place if you always do the best that you can on the next kick that you are about to take."

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Rackers, Nugent, Crosby & Akers Get Unreal

Several years ago, the NFL began marketing fantasy football with a series of promotional clips. In case you missed them, following are those featuring the key position in both real and fantasy games.

Mason Crosby

Mike Nugent

David Akers

Neil Rackers