This is the first time I've met Rian, and he is big for a kicker! Rian is about 6'3 and 235 pounds.In the 2007 season, Rian was 24 of 27 on field goals for a 88.9 % average.
A couple of months ago at the NFL combine, Bobby April, special teams coach with the Buffalo Bills, (who by the way is a great guy) approached me. He asked if I could help Rian improve his kickoff distance and accuracy.
Now here is a coach, and team, the Buffalo Bills, who in the last 3 or 4 years, have had one of the best special teams units, and their still looking for ways to get better. Rian Lindell is looking to get better and help his team win the battle of field position and win more games!
Here, I'm discussing with Rian, how we're going to help make him a better directional kickoff man, plus, improve his kickoff distance.
When working with a pro, college or high school kicker I start all lessons the same. I have the kickers just kick and show me their style of kicking. Rian's started with two sets of one step kicks then progressed to field goals.
Before Rian came into town, Coach April send me some video of Rian kicking field goals and kicking off so I could familiarize myself with his style of kicking.
Rian is a real student of the kicking game and knows kicking, but admitted that in the last couple of weeks when he was kicking he just didn't feel right!
After viewing his video, then watching him kick in person and listening to him to describe what he thought the problem was, we went to work on trying to make him feel better!
It took a little time, some trial and error but Rian eventually felt better about his form. In the end, he was kicking the ball, right down the middle just like he always does and more importantly, he felt smoother!
We finished the first lesson with kickoffs! We continued video taping and documenting all his kicks so later when we watch his lesson we can analyze his technique and make corrections.
After the first lesson we had a great video session. Rian could now see some of the observations I had made to him. Rian was a sponge. He took out a pad of paper and took notes.
Rian is a true professional and was a pleasure to work with. Tomorrow we will take what we saw on video and try to get better.
For the guys that have come to Fountain Hills for One on One Lessons, several of the kickers love to play golf and so does Rian. We went to my club, FireRock and played a quick 15 holes of golf in the afternoon.
I know Brett Kern (the Toledo punter and Denver Broncos free agent), reads my blog and always wants to know if anyone has beaten me on the golf course yet.
So, to Brett and all the guys that I have beat in a skins game, Rian Lindell was no exception. After 15 holes, Coach Zauner was up 7 skins or seven dollars. The streak goes on!
Tomorrow is lesson two with Rian, plus, Jamie Christensen, the kicker from Alabama is coming to Arizona for the weekend and some One on One Kicking Lessons.
Stay tuned for more of Coach Zauner's Blog!