the study of the kicking components within sports

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Advice to Aspiring Long Snappers, 2014

It all begins here. Every under-appreciated extra point. Every action-packed punt. Every awe-inspiring field goal. They all begin with the snap of the ball. Our annual Q&A series with college senior specialists begins with Division I long snappers, who answered the following question:
If you could give one piece of advice to aspiring high school long snappers, what would it be?
Nate Boyer, Texas
"Work harder than any other position group on the team at your craft. Take your job seriously and pay attention to details, especially the little things. Just because it's not the most sought after position doesn't mean it isn't extremely important that you execute as close to perfection as possible. Get your butt in the weight room. If you aren't strong, there's no way you can play at the next level, especially D-1."

Sam Rodgers, Syracuse
"Lead with your actions not so much your words. If you make it to a college program do not come in out of shape. Make sure you run twice as much as you think you would need too and be involved in some sort of intense weight training before you show up on campus."

Alan D' Appollonio, Arkansas
"One piece of advice, don't lose hope. I graduated high school with zero Division I scholarship offers. I could've gone to a small school with a partial scholarship but that wouldn't have fulfilled my dream of playing on the biggest stage in college football and one day playing in the NFL. Instead, I walked on at Arkansas, beat out my competition, and played in every game of my career. Had I given up hope on that D1 dream, none of this would've happened. Don't lose hope."

Andrew East, Vanderbilt
"Make sure you enjoy every opportunity you get to play the game."

Chase Gorham, Arizona
"Snapping is a great position to get into in high school because it could earn you a scholarship to college. Maybe you're not the biggest, strongest, or the fastest, but if you can perfect long snapping it can earn you a free education at a University."

Dallas Noriega, UAB
"Keep doing the right things and snap hard! Everything will fall into place."

Tanyan Farley, Rice
"Work on something specific everyday in your technique so that it becomes muscle memory. The less you have to worry about your mechanics, the faster you can snap."

Drew Ferris, Florida
"Stay patient with recruiting. Form is key. If you don't have the right form you won't be very successful. And be confident and don't think."

Alex Freeman, Texas A&M
"Long snapping is about 90% confidence in yourself. It's near impossible to make a great snap if you are not confident in your abilities. Confidence is built through practice. Then more practice. Then through visualization. Then more practice. Being confident in yourself is crucial because when you're a long snapper in college, you receive quite a bit of complaints about being a specialist. Other people don't think your that important. So its up to you to know that your job is important and to remain confident in yourself to make that great snap."

Harrison Elliott, Air Force
"Don't limit yourself. The options are endless. A lot of people doubted me and said that I couldn't play division 1 football, but look, here I am. If you have faith in yourself, you can determine your own future. I would also say make the most of your high school experience. Do not be in any hurry to rush out of high school to be that cool kid playing college football. There isn't much that beats Friday night lights with your best friends."

Joe Cardona, Navy
"First and foremost perfect the craft of long snapping. Snap every day and put as much effort into it as a receiver puts into running routes and catching the ball. To perfect something you have to focus on it. After that, be the best football player you can be. As snappers, we are football players who happen to be specialists so putting work into your tackling technique, quickness and speed, and strength weight room will only make you a better long snapper. Lastly, embrace your role, yet remain hungry. Once you fall into a starting job as a snapper you can't get complacent even though the likelihood of you getting replaced is unlikely as long as you aren't throwing back terrible snaps. Always strive to get better at what you do, and strive to make everyone else better by being the best at what you do."

Austin Cole, South Alabama
"I would recommend individual practice to enhance muscle memory which will increase speed and accuracy. Film study is crucial for long snappers, no one knows their own body better than themselves. It's good to critique yourself from all angles and compare your form and yourself to other elite long snappers. In the long run it will pay off. With that being said, mental visualization is huge. If you close your eyes and see yourself approach the ball, see the punter between your legs, see your hands grab the ball and get set, and finally visualize the perfect snap you over and over multiple times it will benefit your success as much as physical practice. To beginner snappers I would recommend seeking out instruction on long snapping for basic concepts, technique, form, and recruiting. To be the best you have to train and compete with the best. In our line of skill, long snapping, the best specialists in high school attend kicking and long snapping camps such as Chris Sailer Kicking/Rubio Long Snapping. I use them for example because they had an impact on my success and helped the recruiting process for me. These camps instruct, film, and compete. The instructors have a large network of college connections and years of experience in recruiting specialists to college, something an aspiring high school long snapper would know nothing about. Practice, mentally visualize, and workout and work on your agility/footwork, just because you snap a ball doesn't mean you don't need to be an athlete. Remember you can lose the game just like quarterbacks and receivers can."

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