Emphasizing ‘A Natural Style of Kicking and Punting’®, Coach Zauner’s teaching philosophy facilitates an environment where kicking specialists develop the skills, technique, and confidence to achieve their maximum physical and mental potential. At an amateur and professional level, Coach Zauner, LLC programs and events provide a kicker, punter or snapper ‘A Specialist’s Path to PRO Football'®...Coach Zauner, LLC Mission Statement

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Tom and Huw Collins Keep Kicking

On Monday and Tuesday Tom and Huw Collins were back in Scottsdale, Arizona for more One on One Kicking Lessons. The two mates are former professional rugby players from England.

I have blogged on two other occasions about the two young men working One on One Kicking Lessons here in Scottsdale.

The boys are training and kicking in Southern California. They come back to Scottsdale every couple weeks for me to see their progress. The two train hard and are very dedicated.

At the conclusion of each lesson they are kicking well and they like the results of the One on One lessons.

However, in my opinion when the two leave they seem to slip back into old habits.

For all the kickers and punters that come for One on One Lessons there must be follow up on drills and technique work. Video taping yourself and watching the Instructional DVD's I give to all my clients is a great way to stay on track.

Training and working out is great, but drills and technique work is the key to the correct muscle memory. I'm a firm believer in drills, drills and more drills for kickers trying to make a swing change. If there are no drills to emphasize technique it seems that most kicking specialists go back to their old habits.

Rugby players get one minute to prepare for a kick. An NFL kicker gets 1.25 to 1.35 seconds from snap to kick. This is usually they biggest adjustment for soccer and rugby players to make to be place kickers. Timing, rhythm and getting use to a rush!

At the end of our second lesson both kickers, kicked extremely well when we used a snap and hold.

Each session we try to keep progressing to their final goal! The boys will be back again in a couple of weeks for another update.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Cory Paterson Aussie Rugby (PK)

Cory Paterson is a 21 year old Professional Rugby League Star Player for the Australian NewCastle Knights. Cory is big man at 6'5 and 235 pounds.

Australian Rugby and Aussie Football players have a reputation for not only being big but have strong kicking and punting legs. Examples of Australian Punters that have made it in the NFL in the last 15 years are Darren Bennett (Chargers), Saverio Rocco (Eagles), Ben Graham (Jets) and Matt McBriar (Cowboys). I don't believe there have been any Australian Rugby Kickers make it into the league to date.

Cory arrived in Dallas about a week ago. He has stopped here in Phoenix and will be traveling to San Francisco and Los Angles.

Cory is traveling with Cameron McGillivray who is the owner of OzPunt. Cameron is training and trying to help Australian Rugby and Aussie Rules Football kickers and punters make the transition of kicking a Rugby ball to kicking or punting a football.

Also, my assistant Shane Phillips who is an Australian punter felt more at home with Cameron and Cory in town. When we went out to dinner Tuesday night I had a little trouble translating their conversations. Boy, they talk funny!

In the photo below you can see that Australian punters and kickers are big guys, Shane is about 6'2 225 and Cory is about 6'5 and 235 pounds.

Cameron McGillivray (OzPunt) had heard about my Kicking Consulting Services and me through Shane. They were kicking mates back in Australia. Cameron decided that during his stop in Phoenix he wanted Cory to meet me and have a One on One Kicking Lesson..

Normally, I want everyone to take a minimum of two lessons but because of our schedules we could only fit in one lesson.

So, basically in the one lesson we kept it simple. Cory has had limited football kicking instruction. He mentioned he has watched a couple of NFL kickers instructional kicking videos.

I watched this big good looking athlete warm up and start kicking. He took three steps back and two steps over and go kick the stuffing's out of the ball. I could tell immediately that this young man had power but lacked fundamentals.

In the photo below, you see me talking basic fundamentals. Since we had only one lesson I wanted to stay very basic and simple with Cory. Also, in the photo you can see how big and strong Cory is compared to me.

While Cory was showing me his style of kicking I noticed his steps, starting position and approach distances were very erratic. Therefore, his kicking was a little erratic.

In the photo below we are going over basic information to resolve his problem with his steps and starting position.

Later in the lesson I introduced Cory to the One Step Drill. He struggled early because he tried to just mash the ball. I explained how the One Step Drill is a Technique Drill.

We emphasized and worked on technique and he quickly made a couple of adjustments. He nailed a couple of kicks down the middle. The Big Guy Smiled! He was catching on.

The next thing I noticed, Cory was kicking the ball a little different from various distances. He was kind of punching or guiding some of his kicks.

I wanted Cory kicking the ball exactly the same on every kick. I told him the best kickers and golfers have one smooth and consistent stroke and wanted him to try to kick the ball the same on every kick.

In the photo below we are trying to get Cory to kick up through the ball to my hand just like we did in the One Step Drill.

Once again Cory was a quick study and did it exactly like I wanted him to and he nailed another kick right down the middle. However, this kick had better elevation and a better rotation. The Big Guy Smiled Again!

In the photo below we are working on Cory's 'Perfect Plant'.

During the lesson I kept trying to get Cory to kick in rhythm and under control. At the end of the lesson I had Cory kick with a simulated snap and hold. He immediately attacked the ball and tried to kill it.

I told the Big Guy to slow down and kick in rhythm. We worked on slowing down his approach and letting his leg do the work rather than kicking with momentum.

Finally, at the end of the lesson he kicked a couple of field goal right down the middle and with good technique. He ended up down field and on balance. In the photo below you can see the Big Guy under control.

The One Day kicking lesson ended and I believe Cory was happy with what he learned.

After the lesson we took Cory to down town Fountain Hills and showed him the one of highest fountains in the world. Cory Paterson and the Fountain Hills Fountain have one thing in common, their both Big!

Next, Shane and I took Cory to one of the higher peeks in the Fountain Hills area and showed him another site. Off to the left of these two Australian mates you can see 'Red Mountian'.

It was a pleasure meeting Cameron McGillivary (OzPunt) and Cory Paterson (NewCastle Knights Star Rugby Player). I will stay in touch with both these gentlemen and I wish Cory the best in his Rugby career back in Australia.

I believe what Cory learned kicking a football will also help him kick a rugby ball.

Listen to Cory's Paterson's Testimonial Below:

View Cory Paterson Playing Rugby for the
NewCastle Knights

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Jackson Allen's One on One Lessons

During the last two weeks I spent time with Corona Del Sol High School senior punter / kicker, Jackson Allen giving him One on One Punting and Kicking Lessons.

Corona Del Sol High School's record at the present time is 7-0 and ranked 2nd in the State under Head Coach Gary Venturo.

Jackson is actually a better placekicker than punter. However, when your a backup at one position you do whatever you can to be a team player and help the team out. The team needed someone to punt so Jacson said he would give it a whirl.

Jackson has had very little kicking and punting instruction but has a good leg and is an athlete. During the two lessons we worked on basic punting and kicking fundamentals.

Like many young punters, Jackson had a very inconsistent drop. The biggest problems Jackson had were too much arm movement and a nose up drop. When he dropped the ball with the nose up the ball would (SNU) spiral nose up and have minimal distance.

In the photo below, when Jackson would drop the ball flat or with the nose slightly down he would hit some excellent (SNO) spiral nose over punts with good distance to his power zone.

Most young punters and Jackson was no exception like to punt the ball and fall backwards or off to the side. In the Photo below, you can see when Jackson hit his best (SNO) spiral nose over punts he punted the ball and transferred his weight forward and walked downfield.

Jackson is an athlete and got a little frustrated with his punting. He wanted immediate results and was not getting it.

I told him the secret to punting is a consistent drop, good footwork and body position. He now knows what he needs to do to get better. It's just a matter of time and practice.

Jackson has a couple more games left this season along with playoff games. He and his parents (Dianne and Mark) are doing what it takes for him to improve his punting skills and help the team.

Jackson has strugggled at times and was a little frustrated. I hope that improving his basic punting fundamentals will relieve his frustration and make him a better punter and help the team win the battle for field position.

During the field goal kicking section of our One on One Lessons Jackson did really well. In my opinion his soccer background, athletesism and leg strength were much more prevalent.

I tell all kids that are combination punters and kickers that its much easier to learn to kick than to punt. Why? Because in kicking your dealing with a ball on the ground that is not moving. In punting your dealing with a moving ball. If the ball does not drop consistently to your foot and make proper contact you can look really bad.

When kicking field goals Jackson was very consistent marking off his steps and approaching the ball.

However, Jackson had three minor problems when placekicking: 1) Sometimes approaching the ball a little too fast, 2) his foot position when making contact with the ball and 3) not kicking up and through the ball and transferring his weight downfield.

We worked to correct his flaws. I gave him the proper techniques and we worked some drills to get the correct muscle memory. Jackson was a quick fix!

At the end of the second One on One Kicking Lesson Jackson hit 48 and 52 yard field goals right down the middle with excellent technique. He finally smiled.

Jackson knows that it will take time and practice to get better. He now knows exactly what to do to get better.

He wants to get better and has a passion for kicking. If your passionate about anything in life you will be successful.

It was a real pleasure working with Jackson. I wish him and his Corona Del Sol teammates the best of luck the rest of the season.

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Monday, October 20, 2008

V. McBride Punter Chaparral H.S.

In the past two weeks I have worked with Arizona's Chaparral High School junior punter Victor McBride.

On Sunday we finished our second lesson and I must say that if Victor can refine his technique and become more consistent, college recruiters will be knocking on his door.

Chaparral High School's beautiful field turf facility. The Red Birds Head Coach is Charlie Ragle.

I have given many One on One Lessons at Chaparral High School and Victor has watched me work with many college and NFL kickers and punters.

Victor has a goal to be not only the starting punter at Chaparral High School but also earn a scholarship at a Division I College.

On the other side of the coin, I also noticed Victor punting one day in the summer and noticed that he is a good looking athlete with a big leg!

Victor has a good strong leg but is not fundamentally sound in his technique or mechanics. However, he has a lot of potential.

Like most high school, college and even NFL punters he has an inconsistent drop. Victor's biggest problem is various movements with his drop. In the photo below you can see Victors Nose Up Drop that causes not only him but every punter to hit a bad or poor punt.

On Sunday we worked on several basic fundamentals drills and put them on video for Victor to take home and work on when he gets back to practice next week at School.

I tried to emphasize 1) Catch, 2) lock the ball on the table and 3) focus on flat or nose down drop.

When Victor dropped the ball directly in front of his punting leg with a nose down, he punted some beautiful (SNO) Spiral Nose Over Punts to his Power Zone. As a junior in high school he hit a couple of 4.5 to 4.7 hang time punts.

That's pretty good! I know he has a passion for punting and I know he will get better quickly.

When Victor hit a good punt he transferred his weight and walked down field.

It was a pleasure working with Victor and meeting his family. I wish Victor and The Chaparral Fire birds and Coach Ragle, best of luck with their remaining games. "Go Fire Birds"

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

S. Janikowski Game Winner vs Jets

On Sunday afternoon the Oakland Raiders, Sebastian Janikowski kicked a 57 yard field goal to defeat the New York Jets 16 to 13 in over-time.

Congratulations to Sebastian on his game winning kick.

I always hope my work pays dividends for my clients and their teams.

In late June Sebastian Janikowski came to Scottsdale, Arizona for a three day One on One Kicking Lesson. The focus of our work was on Sebastian kicking more accurately on long distance field goals.

I must say that in all my years of coaching kickers, Sebastian Janikowski has the biggest leg I've have seen, heard and coached. What a weapon!

In the three days of One on One Kicking Lessons I tried to emphasize to Sebastian to kick with technique and under control rather than just sheer power.

Below you can view a short video of Sebastian Janikowski working on the One Step Drill and Kicking a 65 and 67 yard field goal at the end of one of our workouts.

Click Below to View Video:

It was a real pleasure working with Sebastian Janikowski and I look forward to working with him again in the future.

Check out my June 27 Blog, work with Sebastian Janikowski.

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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Jason Baker Milwaukee Hamilton

This week Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and the weekend was spent back home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The trip was three fold; business, family, friends and coaching.

First, I was checking out sites in the Milwaukee area to hold kicking camps next summer for high school and college kickers, punters and snappers.

Second, I was planning on attending my 40th High School reunion however, it was cancelled because of lack of interest. I couldn't believe it.

Third, I had promised my mother that I would come back and work with a young man who is presently the kicker at Milwaukee Hamilton High School. I never want to let my mother down once I make a promise. Besides, I also wanted to give back to the school that I graduated from and help out Coach Jeff Wallack and the Hamilton Wildcats football team.

On Thursday I went over to Milwaukee Hamilton High School to work with senior kicker Jason Baker. Jason has been rated as one of the top kickers in the state of Wisconsin by some scouting services. He has also been ranked nationally by a couple of kicking services.

After working with him just for a couple of hours if he isn't one of the top kickers in the state then those scouting services don't know much about kicking or kicking talent.

On Friday night Michelle (my wife) and I also attended his game at South Stadium vs Bay View High School. Hamilton was on the short end of a 65 to 30 score.

However, Jason early in the game kicked a 45 yard field goal showing everyone in the stands why he is one of the states top kickers. Right before half time with 2 seconds left on the clock Jeff Wallack who is the Head Coach at Hamilton sent Jason on the field to attempt a 56 yard field goal. The kick was tipped at the line of scrimmage and fell short.

During the game Jason was trying to use a new six (6) step kickoff approach that we had worked on Thursday. Jason's old approach was very fast and his steps were not very consistent. In the fourth quarter Jason's approach and technique all came together. He hit two kickoffs for touch backs. One was 8 yards deep and the other was through the end zone.

Jason Baker is not just a excellent college kicking prospect but is also an 3 time All Conference soccer player and an college prospect for a soccer scholarship.

We started our kicking session about an hour before practice started. I watched Jason's snapper, Dave Cieplewski warm up and quickly made a couple of suggestions. The adjustments I made helped Dave snap a more consistent and tighter spiral with better accuracy.

Kenny DeBauche who was the University of Wisconsin standout punter and also free agent signee with the Green Bay Packers came with me to help out the holders. He observed the holder's, Daniel Staring technique and worked to get him better at molding the ball and placing the ball with more consistency on the tee or block.

As we all know, it's not just about the kicker. Without a good snap and hold the kicker is nothing.

While Kenny was working with the holder and snapper I spent some One on One time working with Jason on his field goal technique.

Jason has playing football and kicking for only two (2) years. I could tell after just a couple kicks that this young man had a strong kicking leg and some potential.

When Jason first started to kick he just put the ball on the ground and hit a couple of forty (40) yard field goals with excellent trajectory. I asked him why he wasn't using a one (1) inch tee or block to kick off of and his response was, "I would rather kick off the ground." "I just use a tee because my coaches want me to."

He mentioned that he and his father (Dale) had traveled to several regional and nationally syndicated kicking camps and combines this summer to compete against other kickers. He said he was one of the few kickers that kicked field goals off the ground while other kickers were kicking their field goals using a one (1) or two (2) inch block.

I thought right away that Jason is so much further ahead than most high school kickers because he wasn't using a block to kick field goals off of.

I was a college coach for 11 years and during the recruiting process my biggest concern when evaluating high school prospects was a kickers ability to make a smooth and easy transition kicking from a tee or block to kicking field goals off the ground.

Believe me, I've seen a lot of high school kickers that had big legs that kicked their field goals off a two (2) or one (1) inch block become busts as college kickers. They could never make the transition quick enough to impress the college coaches and fell by the wayside.

Again, in my opinion, any high school kicker that I evaluated either kicking field goals off a one (1) inch or wafer tee or especially off the ground, automatically got bonus points in my evaluation.

As I worked with Jason I asked him a lot of questions and listened to his answerer's to get an idea of what he has been taught and what his thought process was when kicking field goals.

For a kicker who has traveled all over the country and with his father who has spent a lot of money for lessons and fees to all these kicking camps and national kicking competitions and services I couldn't believe some of the answers he gave me about fundamentals and mechanics that he has been taught.

As we continued working I broke down all aspects of Jason's field goal and kickoff technique. He absorbed the information and was a quick study. His coaches watched and listened.

Most high school and college coaches openly admit they lack the knowledge of the fundamentals and mechanics of kicking and how to work with kicking specialists.

In the photo below Jason and I explain to Coach Wallack and one of his assistant coaches some of the techniques that Jason has been taught and I explain why he has been inconsistent in certain aspects of his field goal and kickoff game.

In the photo below I explain to Jason in detail, the foot to ball contact point and the locking of the knee progression during and after impact. He had been given some bad information.

In the photo below I talk about the importance of the aim foot.

In the photo below we examine an talk about his presentation and approach to the ball. Jason was not making the proper alignment adjustments on his field goal when kicking from the right and left hash.

In the photo below Kenny DeBauche watches the holders, Daniel Staring's technique and tries to help him refine his catching, molding of the ball, placement skills and holding technique.

In the photo below I make an adjustment with snapper, Dave Cieplewski's weight distribution. He had too much weight forward and was snapping the ball a little high and was not following through on all his snaps. I must say he was also a quick study.

In this next photo Jason is kicking off the right hash mark and I am talking about coaching points concerning target line and the adjustments to your target line because of kicking tendency and wind factors.

After instructing everyone in the group about their specific duties, the group hits a couple of field goals from the right hash with excellent technique.

In the photo below, I am talking to Daniel Staring, the holder about his cadence. Daniel likes to change his cadence to pull the defense offsides. However, Jason the kicker didn't know at times when the ball was going to be snapped.

The most important ingredient in kicking is rhythm. I gave Daniel some coaching tips but made it crystal clear that everyone (snapper, holder and kicker) has to know exactly when the ball is being snapped to be effective.

The three specialist on Friday Night that help make a 45 yard field goal with a perfect snap, hold and kick. Dave Cieplewski, Danield Staring and Jason Baker. Kenny and I enjoyed working with these young men.

Next up was kickoff technique. Head Coach Jeff Wallack informed me Jason has been a little erratic on his kickoffs. Coach Wallack watches as I go over some kickoff fundamentals with Jason.

When I watched Jason kickoff his steps on his approach were inconsistent and his approach was way too fast!

In the photo below I am showing Jason how to find a new and more consistent kickoff approach.

In the photo below Jason is working on his new six (6) step approach. By the end of practice he was kicking off with more power and consistency.

As I mentioned earlier in this blog. Jason in the fourth quarter of Friday nights game was starting to feel very good about his steps and approach. Matter of fact he kicked one ball 8 yards deep and launched another out of the end zone.

I told Jason with time and practice he will become more comfortable with his steps and approach. He will rely on good kicking technique rather then speed into the ball to kick the ball even more consistently on his kickoffs.

It was a real pleasure for me to come back to my old high school and work with Coach Wallack and his staff and all the Hamilton Wildcat players.

It was also very rewarding for me who normally works with college and Pro Kickers and Punters to see good young talent once again and where it all starts, at the high school level.

Dale Baker is Jason's father. He's a very active and involved parent when it comes to his sons soccer and football kicking career. Dale has a kicking background even though he was a straight-on kicker and it was many years ago.

Like most parents that have sons with college kicking potential, Dale travels the country with his son learning as much as he can to help his son develop into a college scholarship athlete. He had some excellent observations and comparision with my instruction and the instruction of other kicking services around the country.

Click below to listen to Dale Baker's testimonial about Jasons and his expierence working with Coach Zauner:

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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

England's Collins Brothers

On Monday and Tuesday my two new friends and former English Rugby players, Huw Collins (Left) and Tom Collins (Right) where back in Scottsdale, Arizona for some more One on One Kicking Lessons.

Here they are seen in the above photo with Shane Phillips who is my assistant and Australian Punter. The three have become good mates!

They all talk funny and sometimes I can't understand a word their saying however, there great guys.

However, on the other side of the coin they probably can't understand a word I or us Americans are saying at times either.

Tom and Huw Collins are former professional rugby players that are trying to make it in the NFL as kickers. They came to Scottsdale a couple of weeks ago for some One on One Kicking Lessons.

We worked for a couple of days on fundamentals and technique. I also introduced the two to some drills. I told Tom and Huw to go practice and work on the things we had addressed.

The two brothers went to California to work their drills and train and are now back in Scottsdale to work more on their field goal technique and kickoffs.

In the photo below you see Huw trying to kick the ball and stay more upright during his One Step Drill.

During the lesson we experimented with Huw's approach to the ball. We lengthened his approach and worked on kicking up through the ball.

Huw liked the adjustment. He felt he hit a couple of kicks better than he has ever kicked a ball with excellent elevation, distance and accuracy.

By the end of the second One on One Kicking Lesson Huw was kicking the ball really good. He liked the slight changes we had made with his approach and he felt it was an easy adjustment to make.

Huw now knows exactly what he needs to work on to take his game to the next level. In the photo below you see Huw finishing his kicks down field and under control.

Next man up is Tom Collins, Huw's older brother.

Tom Collins made some dramatic improvement in his kicking technique and consistency from his first this session kicking three weeks ago.

Tom started out kicking really well. He was not crunching down on the ball as much as he did the first time we kicked. However, as time went by his crunching down technique started to reappear in his technique.

Bad muscle memory doesn't just go away you have to keep working for weeks to get rid of it just like old habits.

During our video sessions Tom could see that he had improved, but still had some work to do to eliminate those bad tendencies.

By the end of the second day Tom was kicking the ball with good distance and accuracy and transferring his weight.

I believe he was very happy with his improvement.

Tom was not only kicking good but was kicking and ending up on balance and under control.

At the end of each session we worked on kickoffs. Huw was further ahead with his technique then Tom only because Huw has had more previous instruction from other kicking coaches.

By the end of the second session both kickers had a two, four, and six step kickoff approach with consistent steps. Their kickoffs were landing inside the five yard line with good hang times, 3.8 to 4.2 hang times.

During this two day session we tried to have the boys kick more situation field goals with a simulated snap, hold, rush and kick.

In rugby the kicker gets to use a tee and has one minute to kick the try with basically no rush.

Kicking consistently and accurately with a snap, hold, rush and the proper timing will be Tom and Huws biggest transition.

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