the study of the kicking components within sports

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Advice to Aspiring Punters, 2014

Our annual Q&A series with college specialists continues with punters. We asked seniors in the FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision) the following question:
If you could give one piece of advice to aspiring high school punters, what would it be?
Following are their responses:

Daniel Cadona, Louisiana-Lafayette
"Work on and master the basic fundamentals of punting. This is grip of the ball, drop and drop angle, steps and leg swing. Having a smooth rhythm and mastering the basic fundamental steps and movements will help you transition into punting a good ball every time. Another piece of advice is to punt relaxed, as opposed to uptight. Punting relaxed allows your body to work in sync. Remembering you can't do anything to change a ball that you have already punted, focus on the next punt."

Jed Barnett, Oklahoma
"You can never do too much drill work. Your drop is the most important part of your punting mechanics. Developing a consistent drop takes time and practice, but will lead to increased confidence and consistency in your punting no matter the conditions. It's not always about how many balls you hit in a session but focusing on the mechanics of the punt will bring you success."

Justin DuVernois, Illinois
"Make sure to train in whatever conditions (wind, snow, rain), and to just work on consistency. That's what coaches want to see."

Darragh O'Neill, Colorado
"Work hard and demand respect for what you do. Don't be a stereotypical specialist, outwork the rest of the players in the weight room and in conditioning and you'll get recognized."

Owen Dubiel, Eastern Michigan
"Prepare yourself for the change in tempo. Nearly every punter that came through here was too slow on get offs. Work on decreasing the time from catch to punt." 

Joel Alesi, San Diego State
"Overall the one thing I have to say is to believe in yourself. Believe that you are good, that your technique is good, and that you are the best guy for the job. At the same time, stay humble and be thankful for the gift that you have. And always remember to have fun."

Ryan Johnson, Louisville
"Never stop practicing. Put in the extra work outside of football. I also would say do not let negativity get into your head, since kicking and punting is a mental game already."

Keith Kostol, Oregon State
"Get some kind of training. Most people don't pick up punting naturally, so having an instructor is a huge help."

Sam Irwin-Hill, Arkansas
"First off, get better each day at becoming disciplined with the smaller things. Success doesn't come from luck, it comes from hard work and repeating it, that's how I look at it. Most importantly, enjoy what you do!" 

Kip Smith, Oklahoma State
"Be patient. Kicking and punting is a repetition based success. The more you kick in the offseason and practice your drops, steps, and flexibility you will better your craft with time. It is not an over night success, so don't be frustrated. The amount of time you put in reflects your success."

Erich Toth, Indiana
"Do something everyday that will benefit you leading into your season and in the long run. This could include running and stretching, doing muscle memory work, or even just doing some drops at home. My biggest thing I try to emphasize is muscle memory because when you are thrown into the fire during a game you always revert back to what you have been taught and practiced over and over again. If you have taught yourself bad habits, you won't be a consistent punter. Now on the other hand, if you have taught yourself good, consistent habits, you will have set yourself up for success. Muscle memory drills can include a number of things. For me I mainly focus on drops and my steps. Once I have done a number of those drills I will put it all together and try to perfect my steps along with catching molding and dropping. If you can become consistent at that, then you will see much more consistency in your punting."

Mike Sadler, Michigan State
"Never abandon the fundamentals. These need to be drilled into your head. The best punters are their own coaches. At all levels of football, there is rarely a coach on staff that understands how to kick or punt a football properly. By knowing and practicing the proper fundamentals, you will be able to sort through the meaningful advice and the garbage that they tell you. Everyone is going to have bad days, but the best specialists are the ones that are able to correct mistakes quickly. The beautiful thing about technique work is that you can do it anywhere and it is not harmful to your body. If you take the time to do this, it will pay off when the lights are on you. Otherwise you will be exposed eventually."

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