the study of the kicking components within sports

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Mind Over Foot, part 9.2: Collegiate Kickers

In part one, we returned to the topic of the mental side of kicking with specialists from FCS schools. The discussion continues with more kickers from this year's senior class responding to the following question:
What's the most important thing you've learned during your college career regarding dealing with pressure and the mental aspects of kicking?
Cameron Starke, 
James Madison
"The most effective technique I have learned throughout my college kicking career is the use of imagery. By creating or recreating pressure filled situations in my head by using nothing other than my senses, I have been able to gain confidence which then correlates to a more calm feeling when it actually came down to an important kick. The more I used imagery and actually made myself feel pressure even while I was practicing alone in the off-season greatly helped my mental game and overall approach to every kick I have taken the past two seasons."

Rainer Duzan, Morehead State
"I have learned that as a kicker you must be relaxed. If you go out worried about the kick you have already missed the kick. I have always just told myself it is like every other during practice."

Josh Thiel, St. Francis (PA)
"I always tell myself not to over think the next kick, you have made this kick before its not any different. Just do what I came here to do. I would always not try to take the kick so serious and think of it as just another kick. I was 100% when getting frozen because I never let it get to me, and have made ever overtime kick I've ever had, by just keeping calm and doing what I do best." 

Taurean Durham, Hampton
"Remembering and rehearsing your progressions. It's often easy to mess up a simple kick that you would consider easy to make and that's just forgetting the fundamentals, most kickers miss because they 'pick their head up'. Taking your eye off of the ball for that split second will make a world of difference which actually could just be inches left or right of your mark. Psycho cybernetics helps a lot, before I kick I like to close my eyes and imagine myself going through my progressions and sticking to my fundamentals then when I open my eyes back up all I have to do is mimic what I just pictured myself doing."

Jake Peery, Lehigh
"What I have learned about being a kicker in college has been a process throughout my career. While kicking is both mental and physical, I have learned that the majority of kicking is mental. I believe that my mentality is composed of both focus and confidence, which demands a delicate balance that I have learned throughout my career. During my early years kicking, most of my mentality was trained entirely on focusing. It came to the point where I was almost over-focusing, which made it hard for me to rebound from a miss because I was very hard on myself. Therefore, I realized that I needed not only focus, but also confidence in order to be successful. However, just as I went to the extreme with focusing during my first few years, I then turned all my mental attention to confidence. However, I would soon learn that this would not be a sustainable solution. Therefore, by my senior year at Lehigh University I was finally able to find the right balance between focus and confidence that fit me. I had the focus that allowed me to get the job done, and the confidence that allowed me to have fun and believe in myself. This balance between the two most likely varies from person to person but I believe that the two are essential to becoming a successful kicker."

John Shaughnessy, Northwestern State
"In order to handle pressure you have to find something to focus on when kicking the actual field goal. Therefore, in practice find something that you can say to yourself (always positive) that will make you focus on the kick and not the crowd, score, defense, etc. For example, whenever I go to kick any field goal I think about keeping my eyes on the spot I kick and nothing else. You can choose anything that allows you to channel all your mental energy into the one kick you're trying to make. It could be eyes back, see the ball, chest up, anything however you have to be consistent and do it literally every kick (practice or game) that way when the high pressure kicks come up they don't even phase you. In regards to handling any pressure situation always stay positive and take deep breaths (oxygen is great for the body contrary to popular belief). In my career I have had several game deciding kicks, I've always started visualizing the kick before the game starts and even in game time. Whenever the kick is getting close, start taking deep breaths so that you can focus and be relaxed. And always stay positive no matter what. Say things to yourself like 'I'm going to kick it solid', 'I'm going to see a great snap/hold', etc. And no matter what happens only worry about the next kick and not the one before or the one after the next. Just the next kick."

No comments:

Post a Comment