the study of the kicking components within sports

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Fred Mitchell Award watch list kickers preparing, part 1

Two weeks ago the Fred Mitchell Outstanding Placekicker Award announced its 2015 preseason watch list. This past week we spoke to many of the listees and asked them the following question:
"Is there anything in particular you've been working on during the offseason or this summer in preparation for the upcoming year?"
Following is the first half of their responses.

Steve Crenshaw, Hendrix College (Arkansas)
"This off season I have worked a lot of my flexibility and my follow thru after the kick. Being able to keep your ankle locked and leg locked after making contact with the ball really has helped with my consistency and also my ball flight. Also I have been really particular about making sure my legs are fresh when I kick. I kick a lot during the season so this off season I've really spent a lot of time giving them a rest so that come fall camp I'm fresh and ready to go."

Alexi Johnson, Saint John’s University (Minnesota)
"I have been working on three different things this offseason: 1. leg speed 2. Kickoff distance 3. Accuracy on field goals All of these things I have found to be the main focus of my training sessions this summer."

Jonathan Gonzalez, Portland State University (Oregon)
"One of the main things I have been focusing on this offseason was my follow through. My coaches and I noticed from last season that my follow through was different on a lot of kicks. We slowed things down and now my follow through is more relaxed and in control, but I still have the same power as last year."

Daniel Sobolewski, Albright College (Pennsylvania)
"I've been working on my consistency this offseason. One thing great kickers have are consistency where they can be sent out from anywhere on the field at any point in the game, and they produce the same result every time."

Jesse VerVelde, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
"The thing that I have been working on has been my leg strength. To keep it strong and so I can add more yards to my kick off and field goals."

Avery Llewellyn, Colorado School of Mines
"I have been focusing on getting more consistent with my field goals. Also, in regards to punting, I have been working on getting my drops more consistent."

Reed James, Southwest Mississippi Community College
"This offseason I really worked on getting more height on my field goals and getting more distance on my kickoffs. By focusing on these, I have seen improvements in all aspects of my kicking game."

Lucas Wainman, Augustana College (South Dakota)
"I focused a lot on maintaining my flexibility. Along with that I worked on my mental focus and making good contact on the ball."

Paul Graham, Wayne State University (Michigan)
"I have been putting a lot of time and effort into my punting this offseason. Last season I saw flashes of greatness but I wanted to be more consistent. I believe that I am ready to accomplish that this upcoming year. As far as field goals go, I like to focus on my accuracy. I put majority of my time into field goals inside of 50 yards. I like to practice field goals from as far outside the hashes as the sideline. This narrows the angle of the field goal and teaches me to not think about the length or angle of the kick, and just kick the ball straight. This helps me both mentally and mechanically."

Tyler Hunt, Guilford College (North Carolina)

"I have been working on refining my skills this offseason and summer to become more consistent all around. I have also been working on improving my hang time on punts consistently. Also I have really been focusing on my directional kicking. I want to be able to place the ball anywhere that I want to on the field, and have been working hard to get there. The next biggest thing that I have focused on was working in the weight room to build the extra strength to add a few yards to every kick. Overall this past offseason and this summer have been very productive for me because I have more confidence and feel better about my body and my leg going in to camp than I ever have before and I'm looking forward to a great senior season."

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