September 28th, 2010
You just hit a 45 yard field goal in your last high school football game, hit five touchbacks including one that went thru the uprights, and you have not missed an extra point since last year. The good times are rolling…
A college coach contacts you after homecoming and asks the questions, “Do you have any film of you kicking off the ground?” And you think to yourself for a second why he would want that and you answer, “sure I can take some video this week and send it to you, as soon as possible.” After small talk you hang up the phone and are motivated to go out the next day and kick a few field goals off the ground. You line up your first field (of course using your Wizard Kicking Eazy hold) and you try to kick one. And then it dawns on you that you have never tried this before and have been using a one of two inch tee since you can remember. But you stand confident and things are going so well, how hard can it be?
You approach and make contact with the ball, if feels good, but your look up and the ball travels 15 yards left of the uprights and barely gets off the ground. You almost hit you athletic director in the head and your teammates start to question if you were out late last night. You decided to try another. Different result, the ball travels 20 yards right and is in the middle of cheerleading practice. You feel you are making good contact, after further investigation and looking at the ground where you set up the ball and realize you have making more contact with the ground more than the football. If you are the competitive one, you decide to try four to five more kicks, maybe making one of two of them but all looking similar to kicks you used to kick in Pop Warner and now you are starting to make some enemies with cross country runners running around the track. You have hit a wall and ask yourself, “What do you do?”
Unfortunately, you are like most high school kickers utilizing the field goal block to its fullest potential. You are a senior and still using a two-inch field goal block and never really tried to kick off the ground. In fact your head coach never even mentioned it to you that college kickers don’t use a tee. Normally as a junior or senior you should be using a once inch tee and most of your offseason work should have been kicking of the ground. Here are some simple tips to help you improve your field goals off the ground:
1) Look at your plant foot – Depending of the tee you were using, your plant foot needs to be deeper. As a general rule of thumb your ankle will be even or deeper than the ball. There are many kicking coaches out there that like a very deep plant foot, it just depends on what you like. Works what is best.
2) Start kicking off the ground between sophomore and junior year. If you are already a junior, most of off-season will be kicking off the ground. Try a few the first day and build your program to have all your kicks off the ground by mid-spring of junior year. College coaches want to see you kick off the ground in college summer camps. Even though they may allow you to use a tee in the camp they will be more impressed seeing you kick off the ground.
3) Cut down the front two cleats of your kicking shoe. Often times, when you start to kick of the ground, you may actually kick the ground more than the ball., In order to help facilitate the process shave down the front two or three cleats close to you toes. It will allow you more clearance to make contact with the ball.
4) Buy new shoes! All the time I see kickers kicking with shoes that a size or two to big. When you start kicking of the ground you cant make proper contact because your shoe gets in the way. Find some tight, snug shoes – usually a soccer shoe will be best. (Although, Wizard Kicking does have the T3 Kicking shoe that is specifically designed for kickers and punters)
5) Try to kick a few no-step or one-step kicks to get used to the new plant foot. Starting small will help make the process easier, don’t go and try to kick 50+ yard field goals. Short fields will help your confident as you try to prefect your trade.
Remember kicking off the ground is a whole new mechanic for you, don’t expect things to improve overnight. You will loose height and distance when you start but once you get the technique down you’ll ask yourself how you used to kick off a 2” tee.
Lastly, create some video prior to you senior year kicking off the ground, in order to show college coaches and scouts. Showing a college coach that you can kick off the ground prior to you senior year speaks volumes.
The Kicking System