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

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Mark Kamphoefner (Truman St.)

On Monday and Tuesday Mark Kamphoefner (Truman State) was here in Scottsdale, Arizona doing some One on One Kicking Lessons. Mark graduated from college in 2005 and came here to improve his kicking and to get my evaluation of his talent.

On the first day Mark had a tendency to kick and pivot rather than kicking up and through the ball. We worked on his form without the ball and then we progressed to my 'One Step Drill'.

After the video review and I told Mark what he needed to do to get better. He agreed and went home and worked that evening on some none kicking drills.

It was amazing how much better Mark kicked the second day. Mark was a quick fix! He was really kicking the ball well. He hit some 50 yard field goals that at least had an additional 8 to 10 yards on them and he was hitting them with consistency.

At the end of the second session we worked on Mark's kickoffs. We worked on his steps, approach and not crunching. Once again Mark made quick progress. He kicked most of his kickoffs around the goal line and with good hang time.

I enjoyed working with Mark and I believe that he has some talent and potential. The next step is the most difficult, which is getting that exposure and opportunity. I wish Mark the best of luck and it was a pleasure working with him and watching him improve.

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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Colton Sanchez (Arcadia H.S.)

On Sunday Colton Sanchez (Arcadia High School) here in Phoenix, Arizona came to me for an evaluation. Colton is a sophomore kicker at Arcadia H.S. and he and his parents came to get my opinion of his kicking skills and to get some direction for his kicking future.

During the hour evaluation I watched Colton kick. He is a good athlete and has good kicking form. As a sophomore kicker he is ahead of the curve when it comes to kicking talent. I made some observations. All my comments had to do with fundamentals.
I believe my (1) One Hour Evaluations are a great way for kicking specialists to get some basic instruction and for parents to get some direction for their sons kicking future at the next level.

I tell all parents that kicking at the next level if its college or professional is not an easy road. However, I believe it is important for a high school or college kicking specialist to strive to be the best he can be to help his team win games now.

There are many kicking camps around the country that are now only stressing competition, rankings, and exposure for scholarships.

In my opinion if a kicker has above average or excellent kicking, punting or snapping skills or potential but does not have good solid fundamentals, I personally don't believe he will ever achieve his full potential.

I would like to see more parents sent their kids to instructors or kicking camps that stress the teaching of fundamentals.

I hope my evaluation with Colton has given him some good information and fundamentals as well given his parents some insight as to what they should do to help Colton with his kicking future.

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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Hayden Singer (Lakeville H.S.)

On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday Hayden Singer (Lakeville High School) in Minnesota was here in Scottsdale, Arizona for some One on One Kicking Lessons. Hayden is entering his senior year of high school and came here to improve his kicking and punting.

Hayden's father and mother both mentioned to me before we started lessons that Hayden loves to kick and punt a football but has never had any formal instruction or coaching.

As Hayden started his place kicking lesson I noticed that he had a tendency to kick and 'jump' or leap through his kicks rather than kick and skip through the ball like most kickers.

That was instantly a signal going off that we needed to have a heavy dosage of fundamentals.

I worked with Hayden to kick and skip through his kicks and to stay more under control. After going over the video together and reviewing the lesson back at the hotel, Hayden really started to improve.

Next, we worked on his kickoffs. As you can see in the picture (above) Hayden did a good job of kicking up and through the ball.

Finally, we briefly went over some punting. In the picture (above) you can see that I am showing Hayden the proper way to make contact with the ball. Once again I stressed fundamentals: grip, ball placement, drop and the key points to my 'Power Zone Punting' Technique.

Hayden immediately hit some nice spiral punts and had a smile on his face. After three days of One on One Kicking and Punting Lessons I believe Hayden and his parents are very happy with his improvement.

Hayden worked hard every day and night back at the hotel on his kicking drills. It was amazing how much improvement Hayden was making from lesson to lesson. His hard work will pay dividends in the future for him and Lakeville High School.

It was a real pleasure working with Hayden and I wish him the best of luck in his senior and upcoming season.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Chris Bodnar (Canadian Punter)

On Thursday Chris Bodnar (Canadian Punter) who is staying in Arizona for a few months, came back to Scottsdale, Arizona for his final One on One Punting Lesson after two previous lessons over the past week. Chris is from Saskatchewan, Canada and plays in the Canadian Junior Football League. He has been training in nearby Tempe, Arizona and wanted to come work with me to further improve on his punting.

We worked on his drop as you can see in the picture (above). We worked on the 'Drop Progression Drill' and the 'One Step Drill'.

We worked on just hitting spirals at first and Chris started hitting quite a few (SNO) Spiral Nose Over punts and started to feel much more comfortable with his technique.

On the final day Chris wanted to try a little kicking. He had not had much experience doing placekicking but he picked it up very quickly and with a little work on his foot placement he could be a very effective placekicker. After some practice he was able to hit a few kicks 50 yards and farther!

It was a pleasure working with Chris and I look forward to working with him a few times more while he is here in Arizona getting ready for the upcoming season in Canada.

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Monday, April 20, 2009

Jamie Hanson Returns

On Saturday and Sunday Jamie Hanson (Missouri Western State University) returned to Scottsdale, Arizona for some additional One on One Punting Lessons after working with me about a month ago.

Jamie is a draft eligible punter that returned to work with me in preparation for the upcoming 2009 NFL Draft this weekend.

I could see right away that Jamie's fundamentals had improved from the last time we worked together. He was becoming more comfortable with my One Step Drill. (Above photo)

After the first day of video review I not only noticed that Jamie was having some trouble with his placement and drop table but also was changing his grip on the ball occasionally from punt to punt. His drop was definitely moving too much.

To make matters even worst, it was extremely windy on the days we worked and sometimes the wind can reveal inconsistencies.

We adjusted Jamie's grip on the ball so it would be consistent. He worked hard to lock the ball on the table and suspend it more in front of his punting leg. He worked the drills hard, and by the end of the second session Jamie's drop was much more consistent. He was once again hitting some booming punts. The 'drop' is the secret to any punters success!

I want to wish Jamie the best of luck in the upcoming 2009 NFL Draft.

For Jamie and all the kicking specialists out there, it is sometimes very tough to get noticed coming from a smaller school. However, if your good you will get noticed sooner or later. You just have to hang in there, work hard and be patient.

It was a real pleasure working with Jamie and I wish him the best of luck in his pursuit of a NFL career.

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Kayl Anderson U. of Kansas

On Saturday and Sunday Kayl Anderson (University of Kansas) was here in Scottsdale, Arizona doing some One on One Snapping Lessons. Kayl will be entering his senior season at Kansas and has been the long snapper since his freshman year.

Kayl has been to Chris Sailer's and Shane Hackney snapping camps for a couple of years and now wanted another set of eyes to evaluate his technique and potential to get to the next level.

In the photo above you can see Kayl working on my punt snap balls and strikes drill.

After watching and working with Kayl for two days he definitely is snapping at a high level. Like all athletes aspiring to get to the next level its meeting the standards set by the NFL. Height, weight, speed, blocking, coverage and the most important factors for snapping is accuracy and consistency.

Kayl is already very good. However, I believe I helped him refined his technique even more especially with his accuracy on his short snaps by using my 'Perfect Laces Drill'. By the second day he got on a roll and was snapping perfect laces on almost every snap.

Kayl said he was pleased with the snapping routine we put together. The next step is for Kayl to go back home and incorporate the drills into his practices. Kayl showed a lot of talent while he was here and I look forward to working with him in the future!

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Gerry McGroarty Returns

On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday Gerry McGroarty (University of Buffalo) was here in Scottsdale, Arizona doing some One on One Kicking and Punting Lessons. Gerry was here about a month ago and was returning to follow up on some things he had learned previously and to work on his punting.

Gerry has received some interest from some Canadian football teams and so he wanted to work on field goals, punting, and kickoffs.

We started off by kicking off the ground but Gerry suggested moving to the one inch block because that is what they use in CFL. Most American kickers and the general public do not know about that rule. Gerry kicked much better with the one inch tee and even kicked a field goal that I believe would have gone through from 65 yards!

Next we worked on his punting. Gerry was a little raw but showed some great potential. He hit some (SNO) spiral nose over punts that had hang times of 4.9 and 5.0 hang times. He has learned several drill and now needs to go back home and work on these drills and become more consistent.

Gerry is working extremely hard and has a passion for kicking. I believe that Gerry's work ethic will be a huge asset to him in the future.

It was a real pleasure working with Gerry and I want to wish Gerry the best of luck on his pursuits of kicking professionally in the NFL or CFL.

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David King (Aussie Rules Punter)

On Wednesday and Thursday David King (Australian Rules Punter) was here in Scottsdale, Arizona for some One on One Punting Lessons. David has been training in Melbourne, Australia for the past 6 months and came to the United States in hopes of getting in front of some NFL coaches and scouts to secure some workouts and get signed to an NFL contract.

David just recently went to the Pelfrey's Kicking Combine and was a little disappointed with the lack of exposure he received.

He and a group of his Australian mates had done some research on kicking coaches while in Australia and liked my website and credentials. Several of the Aussie punters contacted me on Tuesday and Wednesday but unfortunately were unable to make it down to Phoenix.

While some of David's mates were unable to change their travel plans David hopped on a plane from Ray Pelfrey's workout in Reno, Nevada and came to Phoenix for two days of One on One Lessons with me.

I started the first lesson with David by introducing him to my 'Drop Progression Drill' and the 'One Step Drill'. This was the first time he had been introduced to these types of drills and picked them up quickly.

Matter of fact David was a quick study on most of the things I showed him. He was also excellent and studying video and analyzing his technique.

Like most Australian punters, David has a knack for kicking a Aussie or American football. By the second day of work he had become much more comfortable with the my Power Zone Punting Technique and started hitting more and more (SNO) spiral nose over punts with 4.8 and 4.9 hang time!

David told me that he learned a lot while he was here and mentioned possibly coming back to Arizona in the near future for a few weeks of training. David is a very smart and ambitious young man and I look forward to working with him and some of his Aussie Mates in the future!

Click below to Listen to David King's Testimonial on working with Coach Zauner.

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Monday, April 13, 2009

F.A. Combine Results & Skills Test

It was my First Annual Free Agent Combine and I wanted the event to be perfect. Perfect it was not! However, I know in my heart it can get even bigger and better in the future.

In all, we had 32 teams represented including 26 National Football League (NFL), 2 Canadian Football League (CFL) and 4 United Football League (UFL) teams who evaluated 41 free agent kicking specialists. Of the 6 NFL teams who were unable to attend this year's combine due to NFL Draft conflicts, many have said they are looking forward to attending next year's Free Agent Combine.

The feed back, evaluations and testimonials by the NFL Special Teams Coaches and Directors of Pro Personnel and coaches has been excellent.

Joe Marciano, Houston Texans Special Teams Coordinator said, "Coach Zauner has coached in the NFL as a Special Teams Coordinator for 13 years. He's coached or trained 19 Pro Bowl kickers and punters throughout his career. Also during his NFL coaching career, he's competed against the 'best of the best'. Zauner knows the standards that NFL Special Teams Coaches want and need of their kicking specialist's. His Combine was run extremely efficiently for the coaches, Pro Personnel and players. I believe if you're an NFL Special Teams Coach, Director of Personnel or kicking specialist, Coach Zauner's Combine is 'the' event to attend."

Bobby DePaul, Senior Director of Pro Personnel for the Chicago Bears said, "This was the best run Free Agent Combine I have participated in during my 21 years working as a coach or scout in the NFL. This effort clearly demonstrated that Coach Zauner has the knowledge needed to run an efficient Combine and effectively evaluate specialists. I want to thank Coach Zauner for all his hard work and professionalism. This was a job well done! I will be looking forward to an expanded field of specialists next year."

Jim Fassel, Former Head Coach N.Y. Giants & Current Head Coach Las Vegas UFL Team said, “Recently my UFL staff attended Coach Zauner’s Free Agent Specialists Combine in Phoenix, Arizona. We have participated in many free agent Combines throughout the years searching for football talent and all agreed this was the best run Combine any of us have attended. Coach Zauner was extremely efficient as all the events started on time. He directed the drills and efficiently moved specialists from station to station. This was a high energy event as there was no sitting around or waiting to evaluate the 41 specialists participating. Coach Zauner and his staff announced all the times and distances making the recording of stats easier for the teams. The field of talent was handpicked and of the highest caliber. This is 'the' Kicking Combine to attend if you’re a professional football team or aspiring kicking specialist.”


During my 13 years as a Special Teams Coach in the NFL I went to the NFL Combine for 18 years. I always felt the combine could be run more efficiently and effectively. So, when you run your own event you can do it whatever way you want.

You heard the testimonials above. In the photos and videos below you can see the skills test and how the events were run. The 41 participants went through the workout and skills tests in about 4 1/2 to 5 hours.

The snappers were evaluated in three different types of drills. My 'Perfect Laces Drill' for short snapping. My 'Balls and Strikes Drill' for accuracy. And a combination punt snap drill for speed, accuracy and blocking technique. Click the video below to see a sample of the drills.

The second group up was the kickoff and field goal specialists.

Click below to see a short video of the Field Goal Kickers skills Test.

The third and last group up was the punters and kickoff specialists group.

Click below to see a short video of the Punters Skills Test.

In the photo below Larry McDuff former NFL Special Teams Coach and current UFL Defensive Coordinator and Special Teams Coach talks to NFL Veteran Punter, Scott Player.

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Thursday, April 9, 2009

'Field of Dreams'

A Free Agent Specialists 'Field Of Dreams'

As they said in the movie 'Field of Dreams',

"If You Build It...They Will Come!"

Well, it was my dream to build or create a Free Agent Specialists Combine assembling elite kicking talent for the National Football League (NFL), the Canadian Football League (CFL) and the United Football League (UFL) coaches and Pro Personnel to evaluate.

On April 6, 2009 that dream came true when 32 coaches and Pro Personnel came to Phoenix, Arizona to watch 41 kicking specialists showcase their talent.

I believe I put together a solid group of coaches, Pro Personnel and scouts who represented 26 NFL, 2 CFL and 4 UFL teams. You can find the complete list of coaches and Pro Personnel who attended here.

My goal was to make sure this event was comprised of the highest caliber specialists, so only those individuals I had worked with, evaluated and invited were allowed to compete.

For those I hadn't previously worked with, there was a one day 'tryout' session which I used to qualify individuals for Monday's Free Agent Specialists Combine.

Click here for a complete list of kicking specialists who participated.

Organizing this event took quite a bit of time and effort over a period of a few months. However, I believe the work was worth it for the teams, the kicking specialists and me.

I add myself to this list because it has been a dream of mine to create an event like this, which showcases -to the professional football teams- some of the best kicking specialist talent available.

With your support and participation (and the help of Team Zauner and Coach Yantis), I achieved this dream.

I want to thank all of you for helping me make this truly my 'Field Of Dreams'.

As a footnote I want to add...the biggest issue I encountered while organizing this event was regarding the date. It appears April 6 conflicted with some NFL organization's draft meetings.

To resolve this, the date for the 2010 Coach Zauner Free Agent Specialists Combine will be earlier next year. I will not wait for any other tryout camps to set their dates. I will set my date earlier to avoid scheduling conflicts for the attending teams.

And besides, Arizona's weather is great even in late March.


I also want to extend my thanks and appreciation to Head Coach Donnie Yantis of Paradise Valley High School who was instrumental in securing the field and making sure any issues related to the facility were addressed.

Coach Yantis (left) Assistant Coach Chad Zecha (middle) and Danny Compton (right) (Paradise Valley High School kicker) who will be attending the Air Force Academy on a full appointment were extremely helpful, before, during and after the event. My thanks!

Also special thanks to Mark Breving of Reebok for providing the high quality jersey's which impressed all the kicking specialists.

Marty Jessen of Rayne Water for providing all the water consumed by over 80 attendees who sat in 85 degree sunshine for almost 5 hours. and to Phil (groundhog) Grams of Digital Sports Video who was extremely generous with his time in insuring we had the hours and hours of video properly edited.

My wife Michelle, Marty Jessen (H2O) and Angie Lawrence (Food)

On a personal note a special thanks goes to Chris Walsh (photo above on right) who was both a player and special teams captain when I coached with the Minnesota Vikings for his longtime loyalty, friendship and being my lead assistant.

And let's not forget Angie Lawrence who tirelessly slaved to organize the distribution of Subway sandwiches and chips to a horde of hungry team coaches, scouts, Pro Personnel and kicking specialists.

I also appreciate Nick Sundberg (draft eligible snapper from Cal. Berkley) for helping out with several duties during the course of the event.

Last but not least, thanks to Eric and Christene Anderson for guiding all attendees from the parking lot to the field.

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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

32 Teams Attend F.A. Combine

As they said in the movie Field of Dreams, "If You Build It...They Will Come!

Well, it was my dream to build or create a Free Agent Specialists Combine and assemble elite kicking talent for the National Football League (NFL), Canadian Football League (CFL) and United Football League (UFL) coaches and Pro Personnel to evaluate.

Below are some of the 32 NFL, CFL and UFL staff showing up early Monday morning at Paradise Valley High School for a 8:30 organizational meeting with me. Included are Jim Fassel new Head Coach of the UFL - Las Vegas Team arriving with his staff to evaluate the specialist talent.

Also, in the photo (white shirt left) walking directly behind his father is John Fassel, Special Teams Coordinator for the Oakland Raiders.

Above, Matt Overton executes his skills in the Snap / Vertical Set & Block Drill. The coaches and Pro Personnel had a front row seat to watch and evaluate all the snapping drills.

The coaches, scouts and Pro Personnel were given access to the entire field to get up close and personal to evaluate the talent. The talent pool consisted of a total of 41 kicking specialists. This included 16 kickers, 15 punters and 10 snappers/utility players.

This was my first attempt at running an event of this magnitude and I was amazed at how many teams supported the event. In all 26 NFL, 2 CFL, and 4 UFL teams attended.

Many of the NFL Special Teams Coaches that attended, were guys I had coached against in the league for 13 years. They said came to support my effort and because of the high quality specialist talent I had gathered.

Below (left in white shirt) you see Pete Rodriguez standing and watching drills in front of the other coaches, scouts and Pro Personnel.

Here is the list of teams that attended Monday's Free Agent Combine:


Arizona - Special Teams Coach Kevin Spencer

Atlanta - Special Teams Coach Keith Armstrong

Baltimore - Assistant Special Teams Coach Marwan Maalouf

Buffalo - Kevin Meganck Pro Personnel and Assistants

Chicago - Dir. Pro Personnel Bobby DePaul & ST Coach Chris Tabor

Cincinnati - Special Teams Coach Darrin Simmons

Cleveland - Assistant Special Teams Coach Tracy Smith

Denver - Assistant Special Teams Coach Keith Burns

Detroit - Assistant Special Teams Coach Bradford Banta

Green Bay - Special Teams Coach Shawn Slocum

Houston - Special Teams Coach Joe Marciano

Indianapolis - Special Teams Coach Ray Rychleski

Jacksonville - Special Teams Coach Russ Purnell

Miami - Assistant Special Teams Coach Darren Rizzi

New England - Pro Personnel Representative

New Orleans - Assistant Special Teams Mike Mallory

New York Jets - Assistant Special Teams Coach Kevin O'Dea

Oakland - Special Teams Coach John Fassel

Philadelphia - Pro Scout Jeremy Snyder

St. Louis - Assistant Special Teams Coach Derious Swinton

San Diego - Special Teams Coach Steve Crosby

SF 49ers - Director of Pro Personnel Tom Gamble

Seattle - Director of Pro Personnel Will Lewis and Assistant

Tampa Bay - Personnel Assistant

Tennessee - Special Teams Coach Al Lowry

Washington - Assistant Coach Billy Khayat


Toronto Argonauts - Assistant GM Greg Mohns

Winnipeg Blue Bombers - Special Teams Coach Rick Campbell


San Francisco - Assistant Coach Trent Bray

LasVegas - Head Coach Jim Fassel and Coaching Staff

Orlando - Special Teams Coach Al Roberts

New York - Special Teams Coach Pete Rodriguez

Click below for a brief highlight video of

Coach Zauner Free Agent Specialists Combine:

Below Coach Zauner talks with newly hired Colts Special Teams Coordinator Ray Rychleski

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