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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

James Wilhoit One on One Lessons

James Wilhoit kicking at the University of Tennessee

Former University of Tennessee Kicker James Wilhoit was in Scottsdale, Arizona the past three days for a One on One Kicking Lesson. James was signed as a free agent after last years draft by the Baltimore Ravens. James called me about a month ago inquiring about

One on One Lessons plus getting an evaluation of his potential to be an NFL kicker.

In his first One on One Kicking Lesson James did a variety of warm up drills and explained their importance. He kicked and I listened, observed and analyzed his technique. I also was evaluating his mind set.

James was very knowledgeable about his kicking technique. Later he told me that he works with some young kickers and gives lessons back home in Tennessee.

Like most kickers passing through Scottsdale they all think they know kicking, however, after they leave here they know a lot more.

James had a couple of drills that I thought gave him bad muscle memory, so I suggested he remove them from his warm up routine. In the above photo James worked my version of the One Step Drill that doesn't allow a kicker to cheat.

When James was kicking I saw that he had good pop on his leg but at times he seemed jammed or confined on some of his kicks. He just wasn't letting it go. He told me the Ravens Special Teams Coach changed his approach last year when he was in camp. Say no more!

Many college and NFL coaches don't know much about kicking and sometimes make adjustments that might not be good for their particular kicker. The adjustment the coach made in Baltimore was not a very good adjustment for James.

In the first session I like to try certain things, and get as much video of each kicker then analyze and make the proper corrections and adjustments. At the end of the first lesson we moved James back to a longer approach. He was at 100 inches and we moved him back to 115 inches. He started kicking the ball with more power and said he liked it!

In the photo below James was working on his target line. During the video review I pointed out that he aimed most of his kicks middle left and that was exactly where kicked the ball. James worked on drawing a better target line down the middle or one yard right to allow for the slight draw he had on his kick.

In the second One on One Lesson we made corrections from the previous day. We progressed and worked field goals from the left and right hashes. I basically put James through a NFL Combine field goal work out!

We started at the 30 yard line and kicked field goals from the left and right hashes and moved back in five yard increments back to 50 yards. James was 10 for 10 on these high school goal posts. We then took three bonus kicks from 52, 55 and 57 and James made all three kicks. He had an impressive day of kicking!

We finished the second day just like the first, working on kickoffs. Again someone changed James's step and he was not kicking the ball with authority. We worked on his approach. I like kickers that have a smooth and rhythmical approach. He now has a good approach and he showed it by nailing a couple of kicks 5, 6 and 8 yards deep into the end zone.

We ended the work out and I believe James was very happy with the results. After the kicking lesson we went back for the video review. While James was in my office a representative from the Buffalo Bills called and inquired about some punting and kicking personnel for a work out they were having next week in Buffalo.

James had an impressive day of kicking.

As they say, being in the right place at the right time is important. James will be flying to Buffalo next week for a workout.

Below is short clip of Coach Zauner and James working on his kickoff approach and technique plus, James Wilhoit's testimonial:

Stay tuned for more of Coach Zauner's Blog!