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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Fabrizio Scaccia Arizona Rattlers

The Transformation -Metamorphosis- of Fabrizio Scaccia
A Free Agent to a Professional Kicker.
This is a short blog about a kicker that I was introduced to about six months ago. Fabrizio Scaccia is a kicker who played high school football in Florida. However, due to unforeseen circumstances Fabrizio never played college football. He played semi-pro football for a couple of years and unfortunately lost his college eligibility while taking care of his mother after a accident.
Fabrizio Scaccia was featured in Sports Illustrated -Faces in the Crowd- for kicking a 68 yard field goal in a semi-pro football game.

In December of 2009 Doug Bercu (left) a former kicker at University of Wisconsin - La Crosse and fellow alumni called me and said he had found a semi-pro kicker that had a big leg and some unbelievable talent but needed some coaching.
In January of 2010 Doug and Fabrizio Scaccia (right) came to Scottsdale, Arizona for kicking lessons.
Doug Bercu kicked several years after I kicked. So he was familiar with my playing career and followed my coaching career from afar.
Doug who is now a very successful business man and still an avid kicking fan had seen Fabrizio kick in a semi-pro league in Florida and was trying to help this young man advance his career.
Fabrizio made a 68 and 66 yard field goal in a semi pro game and was mentioned in Sports Illustrated -Faces in the Crowd- for his record breaking kicks. Doug was amazed with Fabrizio's leg strength. Doug also realized that Fabrizio needed to become a more consistent kicker and get some exposure to the NFL.
Doug was on the phone and in a couple weeks he and Fabrizio were on a plane to Scottsdale, Arizona for some kicking lessons.
During Fabrizio's first lesson he lined up and drilled the ball high and far. He also hit a couple of stray bullets or shanks. When he kicked his left or plant foot stayed in cement and he crunched like a hurdler.

After Fabrizio kicked the ball he had a very limited follow through. In the above photo I tried to get him to use a little more hip and skip through the ball.

Next, when Fabrizio attempted to kickoff his big leg did not translate into big kickoffs. The distance that he was kicking field goals of 63 to 65 yards diminished to 6o to 65 yards even with a longer kickoff approach.
In my opinion Fabrizio had a massive leg. However, his field goal and kickoff fundamentals, mechanics and technique were very suspect.
Fabrizio had a dream like many young kickers, to eventually have a chance to kick for a professional football team (NFL,CFL or UFL).
Since January I have spent a lot of time working with Fabrizio on refining his technique and working on the mental side of the kicking game.
Early in the year he attended my Free Agent Specialists Combine March 27, 2010 and did just OK.
Just before my Combine he had been working hard on making a swing change on his field goal and kickoff technique. I must say that he was probably thinking a little bit too much going into the event.
During the Free Agent Combine there was a group of 30 free agent kicking specialists and I must say the group was filled with talent. The competition was fierce and as I said earlier Fabrizio did just OK.
After my Free Agent Combine I kept working with Fabrizio on his field goal technique . My goal was to get him kicking with better technique, tempo, rhythm and look smoother.
He was learning to not only swing easier but more efficiently. I wanted him to hit the sweet spot of his foot to the sweet spot of the ball more often. I was adamant on trying to get him to slow down and work on better timing, tempo and rhythm.
In coaching kickers, punters, and snappers, the (Part / Whole and Whole / Part) method of teaching has been the key to my success working with specialists.
To date, Fabrizio has spent hours upon hours working my mirror drill at home or in the gym.
I still remember when he first kicked for me he crunched, kept his left foot in cement and had very little follow through.
In April he was kicking much better and went to a open workout with the Las Vegas Locomotives. In May he was invited back to a final workout with the Locomotives and was edged out by Brooks Rossman another One on One client of mine.
More importantly Fabrizio was getting more confident with his new swing. He was kicking much better and more consistently with better technique... smoother!
His muscle memory was becoming more automatic. He was starting to kick and skip through every kick and not crunch. He was kicking without thinking. He was starting to look like a professional kicker.
In May he attended my PRO Development Camp in Casa Grande, Arizona and he was again still improving. He was kicking the ball higher, farther and with better accuracy.
My PRO Development Camp ended on Sunday morning May 23rd. At about 2:00 PM I received a phone call from Coach Guy the Head Football Coach for the Arizona Rattlers. He needed a kicker and he needed a kicker right now. His kicker was going on his honeymoon and he needed a kicker for Friday nights game. He asked me for a list of local kickers that I thought were good enough to tryout on Monday or Tuesday.
I didn't even have to think twice. I said, I have a man right here." Fabrizio.
Fabrizio went to the Rattlers workout facility on Monday and had a great workout. He was signed on Wednesday.
To date he has played in three games and the Rattlers have won all three games. He has placekicked extremely well and his kickoffs are high, long at the top of the net.
He has missed two extra points but on both the snaps were way off target. The holder had to get up off the ground to catch the ball and scramble to get the ball down for a kick.

As you can see in the above photo, Fabrizio is staying more upright with his torso and he is kicking and skipping through the ball.

On a shortened AFL football field Fabrizio must two steps all his kickoffs. If he were to take a normal approach he would put almost every kickoff over the net. In most cases you would want that type of kickoff. However, in the AFL a kickoff over the net is a penalty.

Due to the rules and to help his coverage team Fabrizio takes just a two step approach. As directed by his coaches he strategically kicks the ball to specific parts of the end zone net to give his coverage team the best opportunity to cover his kickoffs.

I must say meeting and working with Fabrizio has been a real pleasure. It has been very gratifying watching this young man work hard and get better.

Click Here to view a short video of Fabrizio's new kicking technique on YouTube.

I wish him the best of luck this season with the Arizona Rattlers. With his commitment to training and staying focused may he continue to travel on his 'Path to the NFL'.

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