the study of the kicking components within sports

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."

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