the study of the kicking components within sports

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Oh Foul Weather - Adventures in Kicking & Punting

Seeing the first snowfall of the year brings the topic of weather back to the forefront. Of course bad weather comes in many shapes and sizes, and is not limited just to winter months. We asked an array of specialists the following:
What are the worst weather conditions you ever played in and how did it impact the kicking game?
Lee McDonald, Special Teams Solutions
"First day of spring practice at Rutgers one year, kicking as blizzard like conditions set in toward the end of practice.  Hit an extra point that went through the uprights and then blew back onto the field. Coaches looked at each other and said 'everybody inside'."
Adam Tanalski, Hammer Kicking Academy
'I played in Buffalo, so bad weather was a normal occurrence. I remember two times that were just unrealistic. First, my junior year during spring ball, we came out onto the field and their was a layer of ice over the entire surface. We kicked field goals for like five minutes and then coach called practice because it was so bad out. Second was a game my senior year - we played Miami Ohio and had 28 inches of snow and an ice storm in October. The game was canceled and actually pushed back to Sunday. I remember putting the ball 6-7 feet outside the upright just to make extra points in warm ups the wind was so bad."

"As a punter, I hated wind that changed directions throughout the game!  I think in one game I had wind in my face no matter what end zone I was facing."

Rob Maver, Calgary Stampeders punter
"Late August we played a game in Regina, Saskatchewan. Winds were constant and were up to 85kmph. In the 4th I had to punt three times in the last six minutes when it was gusting. 33, 36 & 37 yarders. While I left the game with only a 35 yard average (since 5 of the 6 were into it), I was happy since I felt it was the best game I've played and we won."

Brian Jackson, Team Jackson Kicking
"The worst weather conditions as a Ball State Card was when I played at Bowling Green in October of 2004.  I was playing against current Pittsburgh Steeler Kicker Shaun Suisham and we both were shaking our heads in pregame. Cleveland Browns punter Reggie Hodges, who was my holder and the Ball State punter at the time, was surprised by the wind conditions as it was swirling and changing directions continuously. Shaun and I were both barely tapping the ball going one way and making 60 yarders, but struggling to hit 30 yarders on the other end. This game was held before BGSU had field turf inserted, so the natural grass was pretty sloppy due to heavy rain the day before, as well as during the game. There were also 30 mph gusts of wind. We all managed to still have good games, but it was by far the worst footing and wind conditions I ever had to deal with in a football game. My recommendation for players is to be a little more cognicant of the plant foot, and be sure to still bring your hips at the point of contact, as a less aggressive plant may cause less transportation of the hips."
"Played against Michigan at the big house in 2008. It rained all through warmups and then was in the 20s and snowing the rest of the game. I couldn't feel my hands or feet for most of the game. Our get off time got slower as it got colder until our personal protector got blocked Backwards and they scored on the blocked punt. We left with the victory though."

Luke Gaddis, One on One Kicking
"I was kicking at Stony Brook University as a senior and we were playing Elon. The worst weather conditions I have ever played in was during Hurricane Hanna in 2008. It was a tropical storm by the time it got to Long Island. But the conditions were horrible. The rain was brutal and there were 1-2 inches of rain on the turf. Wind was also very bad 30-40mph winds. The weather impacted the game and our game plan greatly. There was a failed PAT as the holder could not get the snap down because it was bobbled. Instead of kicking deep and going for the toucback we mixed in squib kicks depending on the wind. When kicking the footballs it felt as they were sitting in a pool all day. That is how heavy they were and how soaked they were. It got so bad that on one of our last punts I took the snap and bobbled it. Ended up running it for 40 yards because I could not get the punt off. A game I will always remember."

"I would have to say it's a tie between two different games. One game was up in Wisconsin and it was 15 degrees outside with a 32 mph wind. Talk about a cold and horrible day. The worst part of the game was
that I only kicked off twice and had 1 PAT through 95% of the game. I tried to stay warm, but that was near impossible. They had me attempt a 45 yard field goal with just over a minute left. I would say I got more lucky than anything but the ball was hard as a rock and with the cold wind coming across. I would say that was the most difficult.
The second was more obnoxious than anything. It had rained for three days straight and the ground was just a mud pit. From kick-offs to long field goals, it was hard to get a good plant foot. It was almost as if you had to expect a 3" to 6" slide of your plant foot and just try to hope for the best."

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