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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Braden Shoop One on One Lessons

On Tuesday and Wednesday of this week Braden Shoop was in Scottsdale, Arizona for One on One Kicking Lessons. Braden is a red-shirt freshmen kicker at the University of Wyoming.

Before Braden came to Scottsdale I talked several times to Braden and his father Kirk. I was informed Braden also plays rugby.

Two of the best kickers I coached or consulted with when I was a college coach were also rugby players. Mick Luckhurst, who played at Cal. Berkeley and the Atlanta Falcons and Chris O'Brien who played at San Diego State and the U.S. Rugby Team.

Monday night I picked Braden up at the airport and on the drive to the hotel we talked about many things. We not only talked about rugby, but I also learned that Braden and his family had cruised the world in a 64 foot sail boot for five years.

Braden had many interesting stories. He told me that for a couple of years he received his education through a home schooling program. He lived in New Zealand for a couple of years and that's were he learned to play rugby. Some of the best rugby is played in New Zealand, Australia and South Africa.

He talked about some of the beautiful places in the world where he's been and explored.

I hope Braden doesn't mind that I took a couple of photo's from his Face book album to show accounts of the places he's been and the things he has done that most of use only dream of doing.

It was a very enjoyable two and a half day's of kicking and learning about a young man who has definitely more stories and seen more of the world than I have.Also, I learned a lot about computers and technology from Braden. He is a well rounded young man. His parents did great a job raising this young man.

Braden working on One Step Drill

During the first One on One Kicking Lesson I watched and observed Braden's kicking style. I asked a lot of questions and Braden gave me answers and feedback.

Like most of the high school, college and even NFL kickers that come to Scottsdale for One on One Lessons I learn quickly most are good kickers but do not have a great deal of knowledge of the how and whys of kicking a football.

Braden, like most of the kickers I give One on One Lessons to, do warm up drills they have learned at kicking camps or through so called kicking instructors. Most of the drills are what I call 'gimmick' drills. Somebody thought up a drill and young kickers try to execute it but it has no carry over value to his technique of kicking.

Braden started with the No Step Drill. I dislike this drill because most kickers can't do it correctly and it gives them bad muscle memory. I suggested to Braden he should eliminate this drill from his warm up.

Braden finished his warm up and then started kicking field goals. He kicked in both directions and I continued to watch and try to figure out what we needed to do to improve his technique. I asked Braden to try a couple of things so we could get everything on tape.

After the kicking lesson we went back to my office and reviewed the video tape. Braden had only seen himself on video one other time. The things I had mentioned and talked about on the field were now crystal clear for him. He could see what I had observed. Also, I showed Braden some video of the drills and techniques we were going to work on the next day.

On Wednesday I worked my game plan on how to improve Braden's technique. We started with my One Step Drill and emphasized certain teaching points. Quickly, Braden was making progress.

We moved on to different drills that I thought would get Braden to stop crunching and get up and through the ball down field. I showed Braden the drills and put the teaching points on video. When he goes back home to Colorado this video will be his kicking manual.

As I tell all my students, in two to three weeks you will definitely get better if you do the drills religiously and as you have been taught.

Braden ended the second kicking lesson with much better technique and more power. He kicked two field goals from 50 yards. I believe Braden was happy with his improvement and learned several things to take back home and work on.

Braden was a prize student for me. He tried things and gave me great feedback. Good feedback helps me to be a better coach. In my opinion Braden made unbelievable progress in just two days of kicking.

Like most college kickers, training camp opens in a couple of weeks and Braden will be competing with other kickers for the starting job.

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