Matthew was a high school soccer player in the state of New York but never played high school football. All his free time was devoted to his high school and club soccer teams.
Matthew is attending the University of Michigan and has aspirations when school starts in September to tryout as a kicker for the football team. Matthew told me that he has never had any type of formal training as a kicker but has a lot of soccer foot skills. He is here is Fountain Hills, Arizona because he wants to be the best he can be.
During the first lesson Matthew went through a brief stretch and warm up and just started to kick. When I asked him about drills he replied, all I do is just kick. He told me he is here to learn as much as he can to get better.
I could quickly tell that this young man has some talent but absolutely no fundamentals. He marked off his steps and approached the ball from a long distance and kicked at the football like a kickoff. Sometimes he kicked and skipped and other times he kicked and hurdled.
Many soccer players that have never played organized football usually try to kick a football like a soccer ball. They usually try to punch, chip or pass a kick and don't use their hip. Many soccer players also don't lock their ankle or knee.
After the first lesson we went back to my office and reviewed Matthew's video tape. Matthew had never seen himself kick and was very surprised at what he saw. I went over many video tapes of other NFL kickers and stressed fundamentals.
I showed and taught Matthew several drills in my office and I told him to go back to his hotel and work the drills as many times as he could before the next lesson.
We started day two at one end of the field working my end zone line drill. I could quickly tell that Matthew had been practicing my drills. In combination with my end zone line drill I also introduced my foot position, one step and target zone drills.
I put together a teaching progression specifically for Matthew that would introduce him to the kicking fundamentals and several important drills. Matthew was a quick study. Quickly during the one step drill he started using his hip more and was kicking and skipping up and through the ball much better.
After an hour of kicking drills we progressed back to the field and continued to work on Matthew's perfect triangle. Matthew's approach the first day was too long and he was taking too many steps. We shortened his approach and worked on his alignment.
Matthew was now kicking with much better technique. The balls were flying with much more height and distance. Most of his kicks were now traveling from 47 to 53 yards and he was kicking with less effort. He was beginning to look like a field goal kicker and not a soccer player trying to pass the ball through the goal posts.
I must say it was a real pleasure meeting and working with Matthew Greenblatt. It is always a very gratifying experience for a coach or teacher to see improvement. In two days his performance was like night and day.
Matthew is very dedicated to kicking and getting better. I wish him the best of luck in his future kicking endeavors.
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