December 8th, 2009
By John Matich, Owner The Kicking System
Your season is done… football is long forgotten…you have only the bowl games to keep you interested in college football. BUT — you felt you had a great season. You lead your conference in points, field goal percentage or punt average. You compared yourself to the other kickers you played against and felt that you had an edge on them. Coaches and teammates are telling you that you have what it takes to play pro ball.
Then the questions comes…. How do I get in the NFL?
Let me tell you its not an easy road to make it as a kicker or punter in the NFL. Hopefully you don’t have a serious girlfriend, becuase if you want to make it, you might find yourself moving and playing in Sante Fe, New Mexico, in a low end arena football team making $200 a game just to get some recent game footage.
First, I recommend getting a video together just like you did in high school. If you had a great year lets get it on a DVD or online. If you are a kicker I suggest you put some punting on the film and if you are a punter add some field goal clips. In the NFL they love combo specialist, it saves them a roster spot. If you can only do one well (kick or punt), I highly suggest working on the other technique. Highlight your strengths in the video, if you have strong kickoffs put your best kickoffs in the first 30 seconds. NFL special teams coaches dig the long ball. Also show them some practice film, showing some close-up shots of your kicking or punting.
Depending on your current situation you may or may not need an agent. If you are a highly rated and have had scouts coming to you practice watching you over the fall then there is chance you might get drafted or signed as a free agent. Then I would recommend an agent. But if you have not talked or know that scouts even come to practice than chances are you are in the same boat as most senior year kickers – a part of the kicking race. I would suggest not getting an agent. Your best friend will the video editor of the football team. Get your video online!
Start to gather information, get the special teams coaches addresses and email addresses. (if you need help, feel free to contact me). Find out who will need a kicker, focus on those teams first. Of course those teams may have their short list and could even draft a kicker, but dont worry about that. All you need is a ‘look,’ if you get an opportunity to kick in front of them, then its up to you. I would send them a link to your video with a quick blurb of your strengths and your contact information.
Gear up for your pro day (usually from Feburary to April). From now until your pro day, I would suggest to get on a strict strength and conditioing program. The farther the ball travels the better. You might be able to work with your strength coach at you school or find a personal trainer close to where you are living to take you to the next level. Work on your mechanics. Coches want to see you kicking the same ball over and over again like a machine. Work out any kinks in your game. (Of course I can help you with this as well)
Try not to have an ego and be open to play anywhere. Some Arena leagues get going in their preseason camps as early as Feburary or March. Anywhere you can get some more film the better. Maybe its worth your while to play semi-pro ball for a year to fine-tune your technique. At least you will be around other players who have the same goal as you and it will keep you motivated.
If it does not work the first year dont get to down. I have had many friends including myself have to sit a year or two to latch on to a team. If you keep you focus and are willing to do what it takes it will happen.
There are plenty of kicking coaches and combines out there that I am sure you get mail from them on a weekly basis. Mostly selling you how they have all the connections and want you to pay thousands of dollars for and hours work of time. My suggestion is that you can do that yourself and save money. If you are willing to market yourself and make phone calls on your own behalf then you have the right attidude. Just remember their at thousands of kickers out there trying to do the same thing. I could give you a list of at least 5-8 kickers just in San Diego alone training on a year round basis.
Lastly continue to do you research, look into other leagues, CFL and even the the new UFL. Graham Gano just signed with the Washington Redskins. He played in the first UFL season that included a 53 yard field goal. If you are going to wait till something happens then you might as well find a regular job. Dont wait for your favorite NFL team to call you for a tryout. Go out and take it into you own hands and get it done.