the study of the kicking components within sports

Monday, November 19, 2012

D2 Conditioner for Kickers & Punters, part 2

We continue the physical installment in our on-going college Q&A series (as opposed to the recent cerebral offering). Checking in 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?
Will Lockwood, Bentley
"One of the most important things I have learned while training and conditioning is that the best way to increase leg strength is simply to go out and kick. Weightlifting, running, etc. is helpful but in my opinion the best way to build the muscles needed to kick is to get as many reps as possible either into a net or on the field. Another important thing I have learned is that all injuries/aches/pains need to be given plenty of attention and time to heal. I have seen many fellow kickers rush back from injury only to prolong the pain and sadly in some cases, end their careers early."

Davis Brackett, West Georgia
"Training properly this past off season allowed me to stay healthy throughout this entire 2012 season. I also understand that it is important to effectively train throughout the season in order to maintain strength. Speed training allowed me to increase my leg speed as well which helped me with deeper kicks."

Brad Winters, Lenoir-Rhyne
"As far as conditioning: I did a lot of running and throughout the summer to help develop leg muscle and quick twitch muscle fibers. I did up hill sprints and long distance runs. I did this for about 6 months before camp. Along with a lot of basic drills to help develop good fundamentals. I did only one step punts for about two months 3 times a weeks. Then I switched to full as I neared report date for camp. As far as weight training I did muscle building heavy lifting January thru June. Then I started to do lower weight lifts to help foot speed and quick bursts. Things like lower weight power cleans squats and leg extensions and leg curls. In July I went and worked with Ray Guy and Rick Sang to help tweak anything I wasn't noticing myself. Camps helped me a lot late in July."

Sean Davis, Central Washington
"The most important thing I've learned during my college career regarding training and conditioning for specialists was to always make your conditioning and training a routine. As every kicker knows, each kick is like a routine with the same mechanics. By making everything the same routine it had helped me mature at my position and become a better and more fluent kicker/punter."

Justin Rosenbaum, Fort Valley State
"No matter what position you play, be it kicker, punter, longsnapper, hitting the weights hard and being consistent off the field is just as important as what you do on the field. Knowing you are prepared when you walk on the field builds confidence and at the end of the day every good athlete wants to walk off the game field knowing they have done everything they could to perform at their very best."

Randy Weich, Wayne State
"The most important thing about training as a specialist is attention to detail. As specialists we tend to get complacent and stuck in a routine. Actions that become routine often draw one to lose their attention to detail. As a specialist you have to train in uncomfortable situations that way wind, rain, or snow you are prepared for everything. As far as conditioning is concerned, I have always trained explosively. It doesn't matter if you’re a punter or kicker your job involves a quick explosion which all begins with the correct training. Short sprints, jumping rope, ladders, and assorted cone drills that focus on quickness are my main focus while conditioning. The past three years I have attended Athletes Performance, an elite training facility in Phoenix, Arizona. The trainers and coaches at Athletes Performance are among the best in the country in explosive training. As a specialist you must train to be as explosive as possible while retaining attention to detail."

Felipe Alfaia, Northern State
"My answer might be a little different than most kickers' because of the fact that I learned to kick in college. When I first got to Northern State I had played only one season of football mostly just doing kickoffs and punts. I had no technique at all; I would just kick the ball. Once I walked on the Northern State University football team I realized if I wanted to play I would have to learn how to kick with proper technique or I would never play. I red shirted my first year, and I would work on my field goal technique everyday and I would kick for about 3 hours everyday. I had an upperclassmen kicker help me out and give me some tips and I also researched a lot of videos and information on kicking but ultimately I just went out there and practiced everyday. As far as conditioning, here at Northern State, the kickers have pretty much the same workout as the other players with only a few specialized exercises focusing more on hip flexors and quads. I participated in all of the conditioning practices winter and summer, and all of the weight room sessions which made me stronger and more united with the team which gave me more confidence. One specific exercise that has helped me a lot though, is the kicks on the Vertimax. Vertimax is a platform with bands and pulleys that players connect to a belt around their waist used for jumps and explosive exercises offering resistance. Coach Berner one day told me to tie the band around my ankle and do my regular kicking movement with the resistance of the band and since then I have been using that exercise to give me strength and flexibility. My kicks started to go further, be more explosive, and come out way higher than before so I can definitely say it works."

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