What this article made clear to me was that Kicking was not simply a physical endeavor and that to be the best you have to understand and train for the Mental side of the game as well. This whole concept of Mental preparation fascinated me and I quickly focused a great deal on making this a strength of my own.
For me, what makes Kicking so challenging is what makes it fun. You have to be a complete athlete in your physical characteristics and in your Mental make up. You can't just "try harder" when things are not going well. You need to find it from within yourself.
Going forward with the Koepplin Kicking Blog I plan to continue to delve into "The Mental Game" and share what I learn from the newest books, research and findings in the fields of Sports Psychology and Neuroscience. There is still so much that we are learning right now about the brain and what we are truly capable of. The search to find what facilitates optimal human performance, as well as learning how to tap into it, will never end.
I look forward to talking about the important elements of Strength, Flexibility & Balance Training as well as the nuances of "The Mental Game." The power of a Positive Mindset, Staying Present, Visualization and Meditation can all be valuable assets. It is critical to train your Mind to work for you instead of allowing negative thoughts and doubts to get in your way. If you learn how to use the Mind & Body together in harmony you can unlock your true potential.
These are qualities of a Placekicker.
Read more about John and The Kicking System at www.KickingSystem.com
Click to listen to an interview I did with John on Kicking System Radio in 2011
We talked briefly about my career and my thoughts on Kicking technique & training.
I have quoted the article by John Matich below.
"The qualities of a top-notch place-kicker can be broken down into both physical and mental preparation. Without these attributes, a kicker will have difficulty developing their kicking game and coping under pressure.
A good place kicker possesses the following physical characteristics: flexibility, leg speed, balance, coordination and consistency. Let’s talk about why each characteristic is important.
Flexibility enables the kicker exceptional range of motion and follow through as he attempts field goals and kickoffs. With a greater range of motion, the kicker will increase their efficiency in their kicks. Flexibility is also important especially during a long football season to help prevent muscular and joint injuries.
Speed of their leg snap is another essential factor because it determines the power and distance of their kick. With proper guidance a kicker can transfer their leg strength into a quick, explosive force.
Overall balance is vital for good results. When a kicker is about to make initial contact on a football they are balancing on one foot. Balance and coordination are key to achieving a perfect kick. If a kicker does not start in good balance he will have a difficult time finishing on balance. It will also determine how consistent a kicker will become.
The kicker must also have the ability to control their body during the kick. Along with timing and direction, this is referred to as coordination. Coordination of the arms and legs, leg speed, upper body and balance, all play an important role in kicking. Again, this will help determine how consistent a place-kicker will perform.
Not only does a place-kicker need to have these desirable physical qualities but they also need the following personality traits. A principal quality of any player is the ability to be coached. Listening and following a coaches’ instructions and responding positively to feedback can help any football player improve their game. Each athlete must have the desire to master the basic fundamentals. Along with their desire, the athlete must be dedicated. Can they sharpen their techniques on the everyday basis? Can they push themselves to reach new goals?
Most importantly a place-kicker must be able to perform under pressure. For instance, Adam Vinatieri of the New England Patriots, recently won two super bowls on last minute field goals. His performance under pressure has earned him the respect and recognition as the best place-kicker in the NFL. Adam Vinatieri’s success is due to his nerves of steal and overwhelming self-confidence. Kickers need to exude confidence every time they go on the field without hesitation or fear. Projecting self-confidence involves visualization, positive approach and mental toughness. For example, if a kicker can first visualize in his mind that he can make a kick before he attempts it, he will more than likely make that kick. A positive approach and mental focus are also two essential qualities because as a kicker, you cannot be distracted by your past performance. A kicker must live for your next kick. Even if you have won the last game on a game-winning kick, missing the next extra point does not help your team. If you miss a field goal you cannot beat yourself up, you need to focus at the task that lies ahead.
Establishing a strong physical and mental foundation is essential for kickers and punters. This type of foundation can differentiate a kicker over his competitors. By differentiating yourself, you can take your kicking game to the next level. Focus on your goals and instill a system that will work for you."
- John Matich