the study of the kicking components within sports

Monday, May 6, 2013

Drop Kicks, part 3

Game winning kicks don't happen every day.

Game winning drop kicks definitely don't happen every day.

That's what made Jonny Linehan's game winner on Saturday doubly notable. His drop goal at the end of the match gave BYU a 27-24 win over Cal, and gave them another national championship.
It was a bit of improvising. We were in front of the post. I thought, '100 percent of the time in practice I put this through. But maybe when it comes down to the big moment, I'll shank it.' But I was fortunate enough to put it through the post. I wouldn't like to do it again....
After the kick, I celebrated but I was making sure the ref called time so we could really celebrate. We did this as a team and we celebrated as a team. As soon as the ref blew the final whistle, my life was in danger. They came running at me. It was surreal, a wonderful experience. … It was quite scary. I was scared for my life. Everyone was jumping on me. I was like, 'I can't breathe.' But it was so loud they couldn't hear me."
In the first two parts of this series, we discussed the rarity of drop kicks (including in the NFL) and we spoke with several players who've been keeping the drop kick alive in American indoor football. A current proponent of the technique, Geoff Boyer put the drop kick to use during his time with the Albany Panthers of the PIFL:
"I have been looking forward to using the drop kick this upcoming season and being able to outscore traditional style kickers. Once I heard about how the points had been changed from 2 to 1 on a drop kick extra point, and then from 4 to 3 on a field goal, I was disappointed. In my opinion, it is very difficult to execute on a consistent basis for the majority of people or even kickers for that matter. I feel it should be awarded with more points like it is in the AFL. Although the points may have changed, my coach still believes in my ability to drop kick as do I, so look forward to seeing many this upcoming season."
Taylor Rowan provided the most recent drop kick in the AFL:



But if we want want to find more frequent drop kicking, we need to switch back to rugby. And we need to shift our focus away from North America, and head far south of the equator to the tip of another continent:
"The drop goal is seen by some as an abomination, something that belongs to another era, another dimension and sacrilege to be used in the modern game of rugby, and yet it is an effective weapon of choice by a select few. In New Zealand it is frowned upon by many. Something that caused quite the debate when there were talks of Dan Carter practicing the dreaded drop, preparing to unleash it onto unsuspecting opponents during the 2011 Rugby World Cup. The Aussies are torn between wanting to showcase their talent with ball in hand and their ever increasing desire to win at all costs. They seem not to have made up their minds on which side of the fence they sit. In the meantime the South Africans, oblivious to the mental torment going on across the Indian ocean, happily slot the necessary drop when required. Of the seven drop goals that have been scored in the Super Rugby season thus far, only one has been scored by a non-South African player."

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