I have been wanting to write a blog elaborating on one of the major themes we preach here at TKS, MENTAL PREPARATION for kickers and punters. With the first week of the NFL, specifically the Chargers has presented a perfect example of the importance of being mentally prepared at all times.
With the first play of the game the Chargers lost the most consistent kicker in NFL history, and a potent weapon to their offense. In a moments instance, Mike Scifres went form being a player concerned with field position and limiting anothers offense, to being ready at a moments notice to score points. Without a doubt, Scifres stepped in nearly flawlessly and helped the Chargers overcome a first half deficit and win the first game of the season. While Scifres couldnt have been thinking his involvement in kicking field goals was a likely outcome, his ability at performing so well isnt just a testament to his physical abilities but also his mental preparation.
Prior to kicking in the game against the Vikings, Scifres mentioned the last time he kicked field goals was in practice 2 years before. Since Scifres was prepared well enough he was able to recall how to kick as quickly as he could. Combined with this was Weddles performance in taking upon the responsibilities as a holder. In connection with Kaedings injury was the signing of NIck Novak. Novak didnt just was able to prepare himself for some high pressure kicks in less than 2 days notice. Also the time last he place with a live rush/snapper/holder was during the previous UFL season. Essentially, Novak also deserves praise illustrating incredible mental preparation to perform at such a high level to win the starting job.
Basically, what I am saying is mental preparation is equally if not more important that all of the physical preparation and mechanical work you can do each week. As I said in the offseason, you prepare physically in the offseason and preseason is all maintenance and mental preparation. Regardless of the seriousness of possible outcomes in your potential kicking future, it is important to always be prepared for all outcomes. This is as easy as running any scenario through your mind and relying on muscle memory and routine to deal with the each possible scenario.
Vince Lombardi once said,” The worst thing in the world is wasted talent” You can be have the strongest leg in the world, but without proper mental preparation you will choke under the slightest bit of pressure or less than perfect circumstances, you wont have a chance at making any kicks. And no coaches like excuses.