On Sunday and Monday Justin Dougherty who is a kicker at the University of Oregon was in Scottsdale, Arizona for an emergency One on One Kicking Lesson. In spring, Justin was fighting for the starting position for field goal and kickoffs.
While his team is practicing in Oregon, Justin is here in Scottsdale trying to improve his kicking and kickoff technique.
He was told a couple of weeks ago that he was not invited back out for practice until after the first game in September.
Some how between last season and this summer, Justin has lost his confidence and is in a major slump!
During the spring Justin enrolled into some type of yearly kicking program that was offered by a kicking instructor. The bottom line is the kicking program and the adjustments that they tried to force him to make have caused him to lose power, consistency and ultimately his confidence.
Justin who is about 6'6 and 220 is one tall kicker. At the start of the first lesson I watched him kick about six balls and asked him to stop.
I had listened to Justin's story about his kicking woes over the phone and I knew I had to do something quickly and dramatically. He gave me permission to do whatever I thought would help him improve and get his confidence back.
To make a long story short, I started from ground zero and built a good foundation. I introduced him to the One Step Drill.
We video taped the entire lesson from start to finish. I asked him to try a couple of things so we could document the kicks and his technique on video tape.
We ended the first One on One Kicking Lesson with Justin hitting a couple of 55 yard field goals with a smile on his face.
We went back to the office to review the video. I showed Justin the first couple of balls he kicked. He cringed, seeing how bad his technique looked.
I told him not to worry he was only going to get better. Justin had made the biggest transformation I've seen in a long time in just one kicking lesson. He started the lesson pulling and pushing kicks all over the place to nailing a couple of long field goals right down the middle.
Before the second One on One Lesson started I designed a lesson plan and teaching progression that I knew would help Justin improve his kicking technique even more.
Above, we worked hard and at length on the One Step Drill.
I was trying to get Justin to kick up and through the ball
Before we started to make any changes with Justin's technique, he kicked and fell off to the side with no skip or follow through. He just kicked and rolled his hips over the top and stopped. Many of his field goals hooked to the left.
In the above photo you can see Justin now kicking up and through the ball and firing the hip muscles. He was now kicking upward and skipped through his kicks.
His field goals were now traveling with power and accuracy straight down the field through the goal posts.
Photo below, shows Justin now finishing his kicks on balance and squarer down field.
We finished our One on One Kicking Lessons with some kickoff work. Justin's confidence was coming back. I worked my kickoff progression and he nailed a couple of kickoffs into the end zone.
Justin hit a couple of kickoffs 4 to 5 yards deep into the end zone with 4.1 to 4.2 hang times. He smiled and had a look of relief. He said I knew I couldn't of been that bad. I think I'm back on track. Thanks for the help.
I emphasized to Justin that bad muscle memory doesn't just leave and go away. He needs to practice all the non-kicking and kicking drills I introduced to him so he ingrains the new muscle memory.
After Justin's two One on One Lessons here in Arizona his coaches at Oregon might want to see if Justin is out of his slump and back on track and at least consider him to be their kickoff man.
These two lessons with Justin resulted in probably the Biggest transformations I've ever seen by any individual. My hat is off to Justin for accepting coaching and being the perfect student.
I hope the coaches at the University of Oregon give this young man another chance to compete!
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