Avoid the Mid-season Slide
I never knew this was even a thing. But when I was in college, my mentor, 14-year NFL veteran punter, made me aware of it. He said that in the second half of the season, most kickers and punters tend to relax and coast to the end. If I refocused, recommitted to skill development, increased my drill work, and really demanded more from myself in practices and in games, my performances and statistics will be going up while everyone else's will be sliding down. And that is obviously a double benefit. He was 100% right. If you look at the early season stats, kickers and punters are crushing it. But by the time season ends, numbers are significantly lower. This does not need to happen to you.
Second half of the season should go much smoother. You are probably more comfortable in games - much less nervous. Your snapper and blockers have probably gotten a bit better too. Most coaches scale back on conditioning and practice length. So your legs should be fresher as well. Everything is aligned for you to perform better than you did in September. All you need to do to take advantage of it is...
- Focus more when you kick in practice. Try to be perfect. Put pressure on yourself.
- Do more drills in practice. Really dial everything in. Address weaknesses.
- As weather turns cooler, dress smart for games and practices. Layer up and stay active on the sidelines. Colder weather is not detrimental to your kicking; you not being ready for cold weather is.
- Focus in games and kick well regardless of the score or the importance of the game. If your team is winless through first 7 games and you are getting blown out in game 8, does it really matter if you hit a 20 yard punt or a 35 yard punt? It DEFINITELY does! Stats are not kept only for meaningful games and kicks. So approach every kick the same - as an opportunity to do something great.
Reminder: You are Flying Solo
I have been around kicking for too long. I forget that not everyone knows that there are no kicking coaches on staff in youth football, high school, college or pros. This is the truth that needs to sink in early for athletes and their parents. You can dominate at one level of football because of your natural talents. But then you move up to the next level where expectations and demands are higher, but you are still on your own...and you struggle because you have no clue what you are doing.
You are on your own when you have to figure out why you are missing kicks. You are on your own in practice. You are on your own in games. You are on your own when you are kicking for Lakeview High School. You are on your own when you are missing kicks for Minnesota Vikings. You are on your own when you are kicking in May. You are on your own when you have to talk to your snapper, your holder, your coach, college coach, etc.
Yes, there are people who will help you - parents, outside kicking coaches, thoughtful high school coaches, etc. But their help will not always be at the time that you need it. Your private kicking coach will not be on the sideline of your game, or most of your kicking practices. When you are on the phone with a college coach, you will be on your own to communicate effectively and maturely.
You need to soak up as much information as possible on everything kicking related. Read, ask questions, attend camps, email coaches. Try to do as much as possible by yourself rather than leaning on your parents. You are your own best kicking coach, sport psychologist, or a recruiting coordinator. Don't let yourself down.
Winter Indoor Event Dates are Set
December through March - Small group indoor training in Chicago. Twelve 90-minute sessions on Saturdays at 5:30PM. Attend as many as you wish.
December 15th 2018 - Youngstown State University, OH (eastern Ohio). Last year we had a 60-degree day and kicked at the stadium. (fingers crossed).
December 29th 2018 - Grand Valley State University, MI.
February 18th 2019 (Presidents' Day) - Avantis Dome in Pekin, IL.
March 9th 2019 - Tiffin University, OH (Northwest Ohio)
March 24th 2019 - William Penn Univ.,Oskaloosa, Iowa
Individual training is available in Chicago throughout the winter. Indoor space is available on weekdays. Weekend training is limited to outdoors on mild weather days.
For all event details click below to