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Monday, August 17, 2009

Tomas Silva Western Ontario

On Monday and Tuesday Canadian Tomas Silva of Western Ontario University in London Ontario, Canada was in Scottsdale, Arizona for some One on One Punting and Kicking Lessons. Tomas is the back up combination kicking specialist and is trying to get better to compete against the incumbent.

On Monday morning Tomas punted first and after his session stayed and watched a fellow Canadian, Mitch Berger go through his One on One Training Lesson.

Mitch is a 14 year veteran NFL punter and is coming off a season playing with the World Champion Pittsburgh Steelers.

Mitch Berger with Super Bowl Ring

Pittsburgh Steelers 2009 Super Bowl Ring

Tomas informed me before he came to Scottsdale that he has had absolutely no formal coaching instruction for punting and kicking.

During his first session he started to warm up and punted some balls down field. Tomas actually hit a couple of nice punts with good distance. As he continued punting each ball he kept falling backwards after each punt.

As I continued to watch his punting technique and more specifically his drop I noticed he was pushing the ball outside his punting leg. He was more or less trying to wipe a spiral. He hit a lot of pretty good punts but started to hit some stray bullets or shanks.

For a specialist that had no formal training I could tell that Tomas had some pretty good pop in his leg but not a lot of technique. That is why Tomas came here to see me. To learn the proper fundamentals and drills and to refine his technique and take his game to the next level.

After his first lesson Tomas watched Mitch Berger go through his punting workout. I was stressing almost some of the same fundamental coaching points to Mitch. I told Tomas to watch and listen.

After the One on One Lesson we reviewed Tomas's video. He had never seen himself on tape and was a little amazed at what he looked like on video. I pointed out some coaching points and showed him my Drop Progression and One Step Drills.

I showed him video of two other Canadian Punters Mitch Berger and Jon Ryan. I mentioned that punter's fundamentals are pretty much all the same but everyone has a little different style.

When Tomas made good foot to ball contact and punted up and through the ball he hit some excellent Power Zone Punts.

We went out on the field again Monday late afternoon to work on a couple of drills. That night Tomas worked on more drills back at the hotel.

Tuesday morning I could see that Tomas's drill work on the field and at the hotel at night was already paying dividends. He was not only getting better at all the drills but was also looking smoother and punting with better technique.

We spent the remainder of time on Tuesday working on Tomas's field goal and kickoff technique.

In Canada the college kickers get to kick field goals using a one inch block. Tomas showed me a good strong leg. He hit many of his field goal 55 to 60 yards off the one inch block.

Once again I tried to stress kicking fundamentals. We worked getting Tomas's perfect triangle. He hit some great balls but needed to get a more consistent. He like many kickers had an inconsistent plant which produced a inconsistent foot to ball contact.

Another reason for his inconsistency was he was taught to aim and kick way to low on the ball. If any kickers target and contact on the ball is too low it will cause the ball to have too much spin. Too much spin reduces the distance a ball will travel.

Once Tomas started to kick with the sweet spot of his foot to the sweet spot of the football his kicks flew straighter, higher and with more distance. Tomas was smiling at the end of his two days of One on One Lessons.

It was a real pleasure meeting and working with Tomas Silva. He improved in all phases of his kicking and I wish him the best of luck this upcoming season.

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