the study of the kicking components within sports

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Mind Over Foot, part 10.1: College Kickers

Once again we head back into the minds of specialists. This time we talked to kickers from FCS schools, with members of 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?
Drew Evangelista, Towson
"Over the course of my college career I have learned to focus on only what I can control: my training and technique. My confidence comes from all of the hard work that I put in throughout the year. My sole focus is on repeating the same leg swing and hitting the sweet spot of the ball, no matter the situation or circumstances."

Jamin Godfrey, Tennessee State
"The mental aspect of kicking definitely plays a big part. You just have to stay positive and tell yourself your going to make the kick. There's no room for negativity. You have to teach yourself to zone out any pressure because as a kicker the pressure isn't going to stop, either from the coaches, or the fans."

Nick Ferrara, Stony Brook
"What you do will only be mental if you let it be. I have practiced and prepared enough to be confident in myself and what I do that's the most important thing."

Tom Alberti, Bryant
"If you miss a kick, it is extremely important to have a short memory and not let it bother you. if you let it get in your head, you are most likely going to miss the next kick. Also, you need to go out there with nothing on your mind. If you go out on the field to attempt a game winning kick with a clear mind, you are most likely going to be calm and nail the kick "

Griffin Thomas, Jacksonville State
"No rep you take is more important than the next one. Keep yourself calm, controlled, and your eyes down on your spot. Remember why you're in the position you're in and kick with all your confidence."

Tyler Sievertsen, Northern Iowa
"The main thing that is important to keep in mind is that every kick should be approached the same and to focus on the task at hand. The one thing that has helped me is to find a routine that can be replicated on every kick. The replication allows the body to go through the motions it’s been trained to do. I like to sing in my head before kicks to clear my mind and keep out distractions. Whatever the routine, it should be practiced over and over again so that games won’t affect the flow. This will help any kicker in any situation from an extra point to a game tying field goal. One quote has been stuck in my mind since freshman year, 'you’re only as good as your next kick.' It’s important to move forward and treat every kick with the same amount of intensity and don’t look back."

Eric Spillane, Monmouth
"It really is true what they say: kicking is 90% mental and 10% physical. For me, learning from my experiences has been the number one thing that has allowed me to mature as a kicker and learn to handle pressure. Pressure is a part of a kicker's job description. On every kick the spotlight is on the kicker and the results are usually placed squarely on the kicker. I think that it is important to understand that at times during your kicking career, you will fail. My most unfortunate miss came against Robert Morris up in Moon Township, PA my freshman year. With a minute left in the 4th quarter I doinked the tying extra point off the left upright and we were down one point. I was devastated, but I then composed myself and hit the onside kick which we recovered. I got one more attempt to win the game from 28 yards out but the kick was tipped, then hit the cross bar and bounced out. It was a devastating moment for me in my football career as I knew I had let my teammates down. However, they were incredibly supportive and I came back better than ever the next week and finished the rest of the season strong. In sum, I believe that it is important that every kicker understand that they can't be perfect and there will be struggles; however, you must maintain your self confidence and work through these challenging moments. This perseverance will allow you to mature into a better and more experienced kicker."

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