Life is full of ups and downs, and unfortunately sometimes we get stuck in the down cycle. How does one get out of a slump? While our focus here obviously pertains to kicking, punting and snapping, some of the responses from our guest experts can be applied to other areas of life.
"Mentally: Breath. Most often when we are under stressful situations, we hold our breath. Walk away from the kicking, punting or long snapping, take a break for the rest of the day and find your confidence again.
Physically: If you have access to video of when you were kicking well, compare that to video of yourself during your slump. Is your technique the same? If so, then it is mental. If not, make the adjustment.
What not to do? Stay out there without identifying the issue and kick, punt or snap a ton of footballs. You will only reinforce your slump."
Juan Gamboa, San Jose SaberCats kicker
"The most important thing to do is just relax and go back to the basics. Put an emphasis and drill work that will reinforce and refresh proper mechanics. Watching film of previous sessions and comparing them with present technique is also very helpful in diagnosing the problem. All in all when it comes down to it, we just have to relax and have fun. When we over-analyze and stress ourselves out, the outcome is not going to be what we wanted. Just trust yourself and perform."
Kyle Stelter, Special Teams University
"I would suggest filming yourself and taking a look to see what your doing wrong. Sometimes just taking a break can help a ton as well. If both of those do not work find a kicking/snapping coach. Another set of eyes never hurt!"
Carlos Ojeda, Erie Explosion kicker
"When in a slump there is only one thing you can do.. and that is to KEEP KICKING!! (punting/snapping) Trust in your abilities, stay true to fundamentals, have confidence in your kicks and believe/envision success. What you do NOT want to do is to over-analyze, think too much, try too hard to make the kicks or snaps perfect, and have doubt your skill. Anyone and everyone is susceptible to a slump and as an athlete that has to be understood. It's how you get out of it and bounce back that separates the greats from the average."
Chris Husby, Special Teams Football Academy
"I've been in punting slumps before. The best thing for me was to go back to the basic fundamentals. A lot of the time for me it was working on and improving my drops and making sure I wasn't over striding. It also helps if you have access to have another kicking coach to evaluate you too in person or by sending a short video for them to get a second opinion."
Chris Kluwe, Minnesota Vikings punter
"I usually flagellate myself with a cod, or possibly a haddock depending how deep the slump is. You definitely don't want to use a tuna, they're way too big to swing effectively."