On Monday and Tuesday afternoon I was out in the hot Arizona heat instructing a Kicking Lesson with Billy Cundiff. Billy is a five year veteran kicker who is trying to get better so he can get back into the NFL.
Billy Cundiff played college football at Drake University and was signed as a free agent with the Dallas Cowboys in 2002. Billy played with the Cowboys from 2002 - 2005. In 2006 Billy signed as a free agent with Tampa Bay, Green Bay and the New Orleans Saints. In 2007 he again signed as a free agent with the Atlanta Falcons.
In this 2008 season he was signed by the Kansas City Chiefs and was competing for the starting job, but was release in June after mini camps.
In the first Kicking Lesson I observed, analyzed and took a lot of mental notes. I also asked several questions.
Billy went through his warm up routine. He started with no step kicks then progressed to the One Step Drill. After about 15 kicks he started to kick field goals. We video taped Billy from several different angles to get the best possible angles to analyze his technique.
The eye in the sky never lies. Thank goodness for technology. My Canon XHA1, which is a $4,500.00 video camera, is a real asset breaking down every kicker, punter and snappers technique.
I noticed a couple slight flaws in Billy's technique. As always in the first lesson I asked him to try a couple things that I thought would help and we put them on video.
After the first kicking lesson we went back to my office to review the video. It was a excellent video session. Billy is very knowledgeable about kicking. Matter of fact, he has a couple of kicking camps that he runs around the country.
We agreed on almost everything we observed on tape. Billy mentioned that one thing is knowing kicking but its hard to coach yourself. He followed up that statement saying he was a little hesitant working with me because he and other NFL players have had negative experiences with kicking instructors and coaches who try to change them but have no valid reason to make the change.
I think my common sense approach to kicking instruction impresses most of my clients.
In the first lesson Billy impressed me with his leg! He kicked a couple of long field goals. He has excellent leg strength and power. At the end of practice he boomed a couple of kickoffs into the end zone.
However, when he was kicking field goals he hit a couple of stray bullets. He pushed and pulled a couple of kicks.
We finished the first day and I told Billy I was going to watch more video and come up with a game plan that I thought will help him be a more consistent kicker.
In Tuesday's One on One Lesson the routine, drills and practice progression was designed specifically for Billy to refine his technique. I take a lot of pride in individualizing each clients workouts. The key to my success is analyzing each kickers technique and making the proper corrections.
Above we worked the One Step Drill which is my favorite drill. Billy executed each drill to perfection and gave me excellent feedback.
In the first lesson I mentioned to Billy that he had about three different swings or kicks.
So, as we progressed through the drills and field goal sections of the lesson, I was trying to get Billy to focus on developing One Swing. Kick, Skip and Transfer!
Billy had 12 brand new (K) balls from the K.C. Chiefs to kick with. In the first three sets of kicks he made all 36 kicks. He made every kick, but was not happy. He felt he could have hit them better.
He has high standards.
My practice plan was working. On every kick he was kicking through the ball. I tried to stay focused on one refinement at a time.
Billy is a perfectionist and wanted every kick to be perfect.
I felt we made a lot of progress from the first lesson to the second. The video review made everything crystal clear to me and hopefully to Billy. I pointed out to Billy the two swings or kicks he had in today's lesson. The new swing we worked on, in which he made every kick, he felt a little bit too mechanical. The second or old swing which he kicked and pivoted showed signs of pushing and pulling.
Once again the eye in the sky never lies.
My job as a kicking consultant is to analyze, evaluate and make recommendations. The client makes all the final decisions on what changes or refinements that he is willing to make and are comfortable for his style of kicking.
I believe if Billy works on the kicking drills and progression I gave him, in two to three weeks he will be a more consistent kicker and back on the field with another NFL team.
Below is a Testimonial from Billy Cundiff former Dallas Cowboys Kicker