the study of the kicking components within sports

Friday, November 16, 2012

D2 Conditioner for Kickers & Punters, part 1


Today's installment in our on-going college Q&A series gets physical (as opposed to the recent cerebral offering). 

Checking in this time at NCAA Division II schools, we asked senior kickers and punters the following question:
What's the most important thing you've learned during your college career regarding training & conditioning for specialists?
Following is the first half of the many responses...

Sam Marcotte,  Lake Erie College
"A couple things that I learned in college are that a taking a small number of focused kicks is more important than kicking all day. This will keep your leg fresh and help you be mentally ready for game day. I also make sure to stay flexible throughout the year not just during the season... it kept me healthy. I didn't miss a start in four years. Also do more work early in the week so your leg is fresh for game day. Get more kicks in during practice on Tuesday and Wednesday. This takes some time to get used to. And the last thing I discovered was taking ice baths. They helped me keep soreness away after a big day of kicking."

Morgan Lineberry, Abilene Christian
"Hands down, the most important thing is core stability/strength. Without a strong core, we (kickers & punters) expose ourselves to all kinds of injuries."

Todd Adolf, Northwest Missouri State
"The most important thing that I have learned is to lay off the heavy weight and work on a more dynamic, speed of movement type workout. Working speed ladder, aerobic step, and dot drills have really helped my leg speed, giving me more distance on my kickoffs. Early in my career I was so focused on how much weight I was squatting. Now almost all of my leg movements involve resistance from a jump stretch band with lower weight. It has kept my legs feeling fresh, and has added significant distance on field goals and kickoffs."

Matt Sierk, Wingate
"Find your routine and stick with it. When it comes time to perform in a game muscle memory will take over and you won't have to think about anything."

Tanner Collins, Glenville State
"Work hard, and continue working hard even when you feel down. The hard work ethic will pay off in games. Always condition with the team, and even after practice. You never know when you might have to run a fake for the first down, or when you'll have to run a guy down after he blocked a PAT."
  
Zach Neumann, Lenoir-Rhyne
"Training is not just a during the season or off-season thing with the team, it's a year round task. Strength training is key, but lifting heavy weights isn't the answer. It falls down to running everyday, building muscular endurance, and maintaining good muscle memory. Many players go out and kick and kick and kick. Soon the find themselves injured and are behind on a training regiment. You need to realize when to stop even on a bad day... everyone has bad days. The key is to stay focused on fundamentals."

Rockne Belmonte, Northern Michigan
"Creating a fast and explosive knee snap is the number one thing to make the ball go farther. So I do jump squats, heavy explosive squats, single leg squats, and knee extensions. All heavy weight low reps and explosive controlled movements."

Stephen Velasquez, Virginia Union
"What's stuck with me all through college is that you don't necessarily need a strong leg to be a good kicker, it's mostly about technique and flexibility."

Colton Rainey, Southwestern Oklahoma State
"One of the major things I learned when it comes to training and conditioning during the season is to not overdo it. If you go out and kick hundreds of balls you're just going to end up straining your legs. Also you should make training as game-like as possible, so when it comes to the game you'll be ready."
  
Ryne Smith, West Alabama
"At the Division 2 level we don't really have a kicking coach so we have to do everything on our own. But being around coaches that are willing to find out what it takes for us to be able to perform at a high level is awesome. The biggest thing I have learned has been you can't just kick and kick and kick. You have to know how much your leg can handle. You have to put in the work in the summer and off-season on the field and in the weight room so at the end of the year you have something left. You have to know what you need to work on as far as distance, height, ball striking in order to be able to get better instead of kicking just to kick. During the season you have to make sure you stay loose and keep your leg fresh, even if that means you have to back off kicking as much during the week."

1 comment:

Nick Wallace said...

Like what Belmonte said big time. Lifting heavy weight quickly and in a controlled manner, paired with plyometrics trains anaerobic power output which is exactly what you're doing during a kick. Personally (and I am currently a kicker also), I believe Olympic lifts provide the most sound way of training for all athletes, especially kickers/punters in this case; specifically for the CNS benefits, plus it incorporates core stability and kinesthetic awareness at a maximal level. If K/P's aren't O lifting, they're missing out!

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