the study of the kicking components within sports

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

D2 Advice to Aspiring Kickers & Punters, part 1

Next stop in our annual college Q&A series is Division II. We asked senior kickers and punters the following question:
What lesser known kicking and/or punting item did you learn during your college career that you'd like to pass along to aspiring high school specialists?
Following is the first batch of responses:

Puma Nuredini, Charleston
"Practice practice practice. Stay on top of all your tasks, whether it's schoolwork or kicking/punting. Make your highlight tape early and record as many workouts as you can and post them on YouTube. Go out of your way and reach out to coaches yourself, nobody wants it as bad as you do. Once you're in college, take many mental reps every day and night. Learn from your mistakes and never quit through hard times, that's the easiest thing to do. So work hard step by step and stay positive!"

Derek Koon, Truman State
"Eliminate any doubt they have as early in their careers as possible. Never go out for a kick thinking there is a possibility you will miss. And not to get frustrated with themselves when they do miss. It happens and lingering on the last kick just increases the chances of missing the next one. That was my biggest issue throughout my career."

Cameron Frosch, Texas A&M Commerce
"The main thing I have learned would be to work hard at everything you do. The way you practice will reflect in the game. Also keep your legs fresh as possible, don't over kick during the week but make sure you are getting the right number of reps with team so that you feel ready once its game time."

Tony Mendoza, Oklahoma Panhandle State
"Make stretching a priority. Also work on your technique day in and day out!"

Sean McClure, Wayne State
"Practice isn't the only time to work on things! Especially for punting its crucial to work on your drop and perfecting it even while just sitting on your floor watching TV. And you don't get better just by simply punting or kicking a ball 40 times in practice."

Drew Newcomer, Shippensburg
"This may not be a lesser known thing but its a huge part that many kickers need to work on. The follow through of a kick is the most important part and I learned during my college years how to improve my follow through and therefore my swing and hit on the ball improved."

Tad Beuchert, Assumption College
"Get out there and use any tool you can to become the best. Talk to other kickers, watch videos, attend camps and stay out there longer than anyone else. Kicking is an art and it takes time to master. You gotta have fun and love what you do. Be ready for anything because you won't know when your name will be called and when it was my turn I had to produce. You need to know ever kick you take is going in. I had a great season but I also had to compete with someone who was trying take my spot but I learned a lot from him and we became friends and that was the great part about my season. He pushed me to breaking points but he gave me tips to improve from his experiences and I was able to translate that to the field. Everyday I gave 110% at something I loved and I'm excited to see where kicking will take me in the future."

Scottie Gallardo, Fort Lewis College
"It is really hard to say because I have worked with great coaches like John L. Smith and my personal kicking coach Matthew Thompson out of Boulder, Colorado which has presented me with, it seems, unlimited knowledge. For me, it was not what I didn't" know, it was what I already knew. I'm talking about the Basics. It was week 3 of our season and I was shanking balls left and right while frustration and negativity took over. This was the worst week I have ever had in my whole kicking career so I called my personal coach Matt Thompson for some tips and all he said was, 'See ball-hit ball, follow through, and most importantly have fun'. That's when it hit me. Ever since, if I found my routine getting sloppy I would work on my form and approach, then I would make it a point to do the simple things like getting the ball out there so I don't jam myself, dropping the ball on that imaginary table making sure it's at the correct angle to hit that 'sweet spot', and getting my leg up there on my follow through. So if you're ever in a slump put the balls away for a few days and work on your fundamentals. Most import, have fun because you only get one chance."

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