the study of the kicking components within sports

Thursday, December 18, 2014

FCS Conditioner for Kickers & Punters, 2014 part 1


Our annual Q&A series with college specialists continues with FCS kickers and punters. We asked seniors in the Football Championship Subdivision the following question:

"What's the most important thing you've learned during your college career regarding training & conditioning for specialists?"
Following is the first third of the responses.

Nick Pollard, Tennessee Chattanooga
"Explosive movements. As a kicker and punter, you don't need to squat hundreds of pounds to be effective. You truly need to work on being explosive in many ways. I would also say that take some time off from kicking and really focus on weightlifting. It really gives you better results if done properly. Also an additional note would be to work on flexibility."

Smith Heath, Sacramento State
"Explosive flexibility. I have learned to increase hip and hamstring flexibility while also increasing power with full flexibility/full range of motion. Also having a strong core is very important along with staying in great running shape. And not jogging, need to be active with quick twitch muscles, in sprinting shape."

Joey Cejudo, Youngstown State
"Quality over quantity. Especially since I did all three this year! Also you must spend time in the weight room! I was big on low weight more reps! Conditioning aspect I focused on keeping my body in shape and legs in shape so it can stay fresh all year. So in the offseason I ran stadium stairs as well as sprints and other plyometrics!"


Thomas Kinney, Southern Illinois
"Deal with the lifts conditioning coaches give you; your body will adapt to it; maintain flexibility & try your best to maintain proper form."

Cherchen Galon, Mississippi Valley State
"Stretch all the time and keep your head down every time you kick."

Chris Barrick, Prairie View A&M
"Flexibility is the most important thing when training. Don't add too much weight until your muscles are flexible enough to handle it. Resistance bands can be more useful than weights to help with flexibility. A long muscle is a strong muscle."

Michael Marando, Fordham
"As a placekicker, the important field goals that I made during the season were actually kicked during the offseason. I did not let a day go by where I wasn't getting better. Despite the fact that some people only view specialists as just a kicker, just a punter or just a snapper, I was able to gain my team's respect through training and conditioning."

Adam Keller, North Dakota State
"Be self motivated. In such a specialized position not many people can tell you how or what it will take for the best results and performance. It is a challenge each and every day to have the right mindset to get better but if you want to be the best you can be you have to do that. Also having the mental toughness to understand that you are only as good as your next kick and to focus on what has allowed me to be successful in the past to effect the way I perform in the future no matter what."

Jamie Ross, Sacred Heart
"Other than the direct delivery from hand to foot, kicking is such a mental thing. If you get one blocked or hit one off the side of your foot you have to come off the field and leave it there. You can't be bringing previous kicks out for the next ones because they will haunt you. I think as far as conditioning for specialists, repetition and giving your legs the proper workouts and recovery is huge. When you're kicking everyday, say in preseason, and you're running and your legs feel like jell-o you need to ice bath and stretch and take the extra time to get your legs back under you. It's a long season and you don't want to peak the first week of the season and progressively get worse from there on out."

Brad Prasky, New Hampshire
"It's important to do exercises specific to kicking when doing your extra lifts, but when lifting with the team you can gain valuable respect from teammates by lifting just as much as them, having the best form, and of course having a great work ethic. Those things will earn the respect and trust of your teammates and coaches because they know you want the same things they want from you. I am in the weight room at least an hour every day doing various things from stretching all the way up to some heavier lifts. That time spent makes me more durable and allows me to be strong late in the season.... Diet is a huge part of progress physically. A lot of carbs and sugars are essential for kickers to not tighten up on sidelines and prevent pulls."

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