On Friday and Saturday Zach Yates of Eastern Illinois University was in Scottsdale, Arizona for One on One Kicking Lessons. Zach lives in Idaho Falls, Idaho but attends college back in Eastern Illinois.
Zach during the first One on One Kicking Lesson expressed to me that he was very serious about getting better. He shared with me his weaknesses and flaws and basically said, "help me get better."
I knew this was going to be a good teaching experience. A student that was eager to listen, learn and would try everything and anything you tell him if he thought it could make him better.
Zach was a very bright young man. He had researched not only my website, all the kicking videos, my background as a College and NFL Coach but my entire career. He knew things about me I had forgotten.
He showed me from the start that he was very knowledgeable about kicking. He had his step or perfect triangle down to a science. He marked off his steps almost perfectly every time.
First of all I could see and hear that Zach had a lively leg. However, his kicking technique needed some work. He kicked, pivoted and fell off to the side after every kick.
As Zach kicked, I observed, analyzed and took mental notes. After about 15 minutes I asked him to try my One Step Drill.
I knew this might not be an easy adjustment for Zach or any kicker. However, Zach had a great attitude. He was patient and kept working hard. He had faith I could help him get better which made him want to succeed even more... confidence in his coach.
Zach in the beginning struggled with my One Step Drill. In the photo below I asked Zach to try to kick up to my hand and that seemed to work. After several kicks he started to kick up and through the ball better.
Finally, I got him to kick, skip and walk down field. He started to kick the ball with more power and he could feel it. He liked what he felt. He smiled from ear to ear and said, I like it!
During Zach's kicking session, Ben Woods who just graduated from the University at Buffalo, was also in town for One on One Punting Lessons, pictured above, Ben holding for Zach on some of the drills.
After Zach's first lesson we had a great video session. He was like a sponge absorbing all the information. He now had a better visual on what he needed to do to get better.
Saturday, we hit the field early and Zach started a little rough on the One Step Drill. Every kicker and punter goes back to his old muscle memory and Zach was no different. After making him aware that he was kicking with his old technique, he focused in on our new teaching points and he started to nail every kick right down the middle.
I told Zach the old muscle memory just doesn't go away. It takes a lot of reps and hard work to acquire the new muscle memory. In two to three weeks if he keeps doing all the drills the way I taught it to him, it will become much easier and second nature for him
I now wanted to see Zach kick with a hold and ball movement. We started another drill to see if his approach would get faster or stay slow and deliberate. The key to consistent kicking is rhythm. With Ben holding, Zach kept splitting the uprights.
Kicking, Punting or Snapping One on One Lessons are video taped and every client receives a copy of the entire lesson on a DVD. Above you can see Shane Phillips video taping Zach's kicks.
Shane is an Australian Rules Football player from Melbourne and a graduate from Alcorn State who is here in the States trying to make it as an NFL punter. Shane is my right hand man. He is working hard on and off the field to get better.
At the end of the two One on One Lessons, Zach thanked me for all the help and said, "I'll be back."
This weekend I had four young men in town doing One on One Kicking and Punting Lessons. Saturday night I invited the guys over to the house for a casual BBQ. Michelle and I both impressed the boys with our One on One grilling and hospitality. At least I think the guys enjoyed the relaxing evening.
The group from left to right: Cole Wilson (Louisiana - Monroe), Zach Yates (Eastern Illinois), Coach Zauner, Shane Phillips (Australia & Alcorn State), Ben Woods (U. at Buffalo) and John Lord (Boston College)
Stay tuned for the more of Coach Zauner's Blog!