As we arrived at the practice field, Jamie's first question to me was, "Coach, how many kickers do you know, that are good, kick, fall back and off to the side when they kick field goals? My answer was "None".
Jamie, is a very bright young man with a good leg! He wanted to make adjustments in his style of kicking a couple of years ago, but didn't know how or who to go to.
Before the lesson even started, Jamie in his own mind, already knew he had to make some major changes in his technique if he was going to have a chance to get to the next level.
Normally, I don't change a kickers or punters style, I usually try to just refine it.
After first listening to Jamie and then watching him kick, I agreed to try to help him with a major overhaul in his kicking technique. We went to work, and work we did!
In each lesson Jamie picked up drills and executed them to perfection at first. One factor is executing a drill, but the hardest thing is consistency with perfect repetition. It's very hard for any athlete to erase learned muscle memory, good or bad.
Jamie was up for the task and attacked this mission with patients and understanding.
When we first started kicking Jamie would kick his field goals, then fall off to the side and sometimes backwards with no follow through. Below, during this drill, you can see Jamie finally kicking and transferring his weight forward through the kick and not falling backwards.
After each lesson, we watched video and Jamie, who is a real student of the kicking game understood what we were trying to achieve. We also watched video of many of the NFL finest kickers and Jamie knew we were progressing in the right direction.
Jamie worked in his hotel room between sessions on the drills we designed for him to get the correct muscle memory.
In the beginning of each new session Jamie would start off, hitting a bunch of kicks directly down the middle using his new technique. He would smile and say "that feels great"! However, every so often his old technique would return, and he would immediately feel himself going back to his old form.
I just kept telling him, repetition, repetition and more repetition.
Jamie was dedicated to getting better, knowing how good his best kicks felt when he hit them correctly. He showed great patience during the process.
In the final lesson Jamie started hot and was on fire. He hit a bunch of kicks right down the middle with perfect form. He smiled and was happy. He thought all the practice and repetitions in his hotel room had gotten ride of his old form and muscle memory.
Then, out of the blue, his old form reared its ugly head one more time and Jamie for the first time looked frustrated! I really felt bad for him.
We took a small break for him to clear his head and relax. He was trying so hard to be perfect.
I told Jamie, he had made remarkable progress in just two days transforming his kicking style. The good news, he knows what to do and what to work on. However, he must practice these drills when he returns home, and in two or three weeks everything will be so much more natural for him. The repetition and muscle memory will be more natural and he won't have to think about anything but, just kicking the ball.
It was a real pleasure meeting and working with such a nice young man! Jamie is graduating from Alabama with a double major. After watching him these last couple days, I'm confident Jamie will be very successful in life.
Stay tuned to more of Coach Zauner's Blog!