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, July 29, 2010

Kolin Cheatham Kicking Lessons

On Wednesday and Thursday Kolin Cheatham a Kentucky native and his brother Keena were in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for his third individual Kicking Lesson this year. The two previous times I have worked a kicking lesson with Kolin in Phoenix, Arizona.
I must say for Kolin the third time was a charm. Kolin by the end of this two day kicking lesson he was kicking the ball much higher, further, straighter and with more consistency than I had seen him in previous lessons. He left Milwaukee a happy camper.

Keena & Kolin Cheatham

When we started the kicking lesson the first day Kolin was still crunching a little too much in my opinion. I like kickers that stay more erect and kick up and through the ball.

Also during the lesson I took several sequential camera shots that showed me and Kolin that his foot position on the ball was not consistent and the flight and rotation on the ball was not very good and needed to get better.

After the video and photo review we went back on the field and did several drills that would help Kolin with his foot position on the ball. In the photo above you will notice that the sweet spot of Kolin's foot was hitting the sweet spot of the football.

The rotation on the ball was much slower and the balls were traveling further and straighter.

Day two Kolin continued to hit a better ball and was kicking a little more upright and kicking and skipping through the ball much better. He was hitting the ball much better than I had ever seen. His kicks were traveling 53 to 58 yards with excellent rotation, trajectory and accuracy.

It was a pleasure seeing and working with Kolin and his brother Keena once again. I know both were very happy with the results of their trip to Milwaukee. It is always rewarding as a kicking coach when you see positive results.

Kolin is transferring from the University of Kentucky to the University of Louisville this fall. I wish him the best of luck and I know he will compete for a starting job if he kicks like he did for the past two days.

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Kicking Lessons

Football Kicking Coach

Brenton Walters Snapping Lesson

On Wednesday and Thursday of this week Brenton Walters a graduate from Newberry College in North Carolina was in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for a One on One Snapping Lesson. Brenton is a good looking 6'3 240 pound athlete that snaps the football.
Like always we started the snapping lesson and I watched Brenton go through his warm up of drills and long snapping technique. I asked Brenton a bunch of questions to see how much he really knows about his snapping technique. He was fairly knowledgeable but I wanted him to know more and understand when something goes wrong - I want him to know why and how to fix it.
After watching and working with Brenton for the last two days this young man has a lot of potential as a NFL, CFL or UFL snapper.

As the long snapping lesson progressed I took a lot of sequential camera photos of Brenton long and short snapping. We took a short break and went to the press box to review the photos to show him why he was snapping a little high and off to the punters right.

Brenton had some extra head movement, and got high on his toes which caused him to have a tendency to snap a little high on occasion. However, the biggest thing I showed him was his alignment was causing him to snap the ball to his right.

After the video review I showed Brenton my Elbow Thrust and Slide Drill and a couple of other drills that I thought would help him with his long snapping technique. We also worked on his stance and taking his legs out of his short snaps to help his consistency snapping Perfect Laces.
On Thursday I started the snapping lesson with my Elbow Thrust and Slide Drill and worked on Brenton's alignment. Being a Physical Education Major and teacher Brenton picked up my drills and coaching concepts and was a quick study. He improved quickly and started hitting his target with regularity.

We finished the long snapping lesson with field goal snaps. Once again Brenton after a couple of coaching points and repetitions was on the mark. He was hitting his target with excellent location and when I was holding Perfect Laces.

Now, Brenton needs to go back home and work on technique. He needs to get the fundamentals down and work on the proper muscle memory. If he can become more consistent I believe Brenton has a good chance to be a NFL, CFL or UFL snapper.

It was a pleasure meeting and working with Brenton and I wish him the best of luck securing a position with a professional football team. If he doesn't I know he will be a good coach. That's what happened to me and that can't be all bad.

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Long Snapping Lessons

Kicking Coach

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Britt Baumann Kicking Lesson

On Monday morning following my three day PRO Development Camp at Macalester College I was working with Britt Baumann, University of Minnesota – Duluth a free agent kicker. Britt had just attended my PRO Development Camp and had won the kicking competition but wanted an individual Kicking Lesson to work on a couple of kicking fundamentals and his kickoff technique.

I have worked kicking lessons with Britt in Arizona for the last two years and this young man keeps getting better each time and with more practice. He also attended Coach Zauner's Free Agent Specialists Combine back on March 27, 2010 in Phoenix.

Britt had some problems with his heel going into and during the Free Agent Specialists Combine that effected his training and performance.

He was here on Monday to work with a football kicking coach on refining his field goal and kickoff technique and to get it right. He knows to have a chance with the NFL or UFL he needs to become a better kickoff man.

We started the kicking lesson working some kickoff hurdling technique. If Britt can master this hurdling technique and get a more consistent foot to ball contact I believe he will kick the ball with better consistency and power.

After working some dry runs on his kickoff approach and technique we worked on some field goal technique. Britt was a cruncher and now is kicking up and through the football with better technique. The balls are flying higher, further and straighter and Britt is happy with the results.

After a hour of kicking and kicking off Britt’s leg was a little tired. He had just gone through three days of my PRO Development Camp and a hour One on One Kicking Lesson.

Bottom line is that Britt got better. He is learning to kick the ball more efficiently and with better technique. This is also having an effect on his kickoff technique.

Britt was very happy with the results of the kicking lesson. He knows he is getting better and it is a matter of time. He just needs to get exposure and have a better showing at the Free Agent Specialists Combine come March 2011.

I wish Britt the best of luck in the future. Work hard and good things will happen. Britt is working hard and waiting for results.

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Kicking Lessons

Kicking Coach

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Darek Johnson Kicking Lesson

On Thursday and Monday between my PRO Development Camp in St. Paul Minnesota at Macalester College I worked with Darek Johnson who will be a junior this year at Eden Prairie High School.

In July I received a call from David Johnson about his son Darek. The family had just moved from one part of Minneapolis to Eden Prairie and Darek was going to be attending Eden Prairie High School this coming fall and wanted to try out for the football team as a kicker.

David told me that his son Darek is a excellent high school club soccer player. What David and Darek also wanted to know could he also be a excellent high school field goal kicker. Eden Prairie High School is one of the best football programs in Minnesota and Derek wanted to be the kicker.

David and Darek know that Eden Prairie football team currently has a very good senior kicker. Their question to themselves was how good Darek could really be after a couple of kicking lessons and to see if he could compete with the senior kicker or continue to practice and be the kicker for the 2011 football season.

In minutes I could see that Darek has some natural kicking ability. Matter of fact he showed up at the first kicking lesson and started kicking his field goals off the ground. Most high school kickers use a 1 or 2 inch block when they start kicking but Darek told me that he only used a tee for kickoffs.

I thought to myself that was pretty impressive!

As we continued the lesson I asked Darek a lot of questions. I could tell that this young man had some natural kicking ability but didn’t know much about field goal kicking fundamentals. His approach was long. His foot position on the ball was inconsistent and he was just trying to kick the ball hard. He was kicking out of control.

At the end of the first lesson I introduced Darek to some kicking drills and basic fundamentals so we could get them on tape. I wanted him to see how he kicked compared to the Pro's.

During the first kicking lesson I took a lot of sequential photos and video for our video review. At their house we did a video review and I analyzed Darek’s form. I showed Darek video of several NFL Kickers I have coached or trained: Gary Anderson, Garrett Hartley, Matt Stover, Josh Scobee and Sebastian Janikowski.

I introduced Darek to my mirror drill and gave him a couple of things to work on until we would meet again on Monday. Darek is excellent at kicking soccer balls but kicking a football is slightly different. There is a little more precision needed with field goal kicking.

On Monday I could tell that Darek had been working on his assignments. He was kicking with better form and hitting the ball much better. He was finally starting to achieve better foot position on the ball. He was starting to hit the sweet spot of his foot to the sweet sport of the ball. He was feeling success!

By the end of the second kicking lesson Darek was kicking up and through the ball much better and under control. His kicks were going higher, further and straighter.

We ended the second lesson working on some kickoff technique. Darek was once again a quick study. I gave him a two, four and six step approach and by the end of the lesson he was hitting some of his kickoffs inside the 10 yard line.

His leg was tired and we needed to stop. I told him with a little more work and a fresh leg his kickoffs will be going to or into the end zone.

It was a pleasure meeting Darek and his father David. Mike Grant, Head Coach at Eden Prairie High School and his program is one of the best in the state year after year. Mike has an excellent program that produces good specialists every year

I am anxious to see how well Darek will compete with the other kicking specialists at Eden Prairie High School.

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Football Kicking Lessons

Kicking Coach

Friday, July 23, 2010

Jack Ramirez Punting Lesson

On Tuesday and Wednesday Jack Ramirez and his father John were in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for a One on One Punting Lesson. Jack is a standout athlete in both baseball and football. He is a pitcher in baseball and a combination quarterback and punter for Valor Christian High School in Valor, Colorado.

Jack is a good looking 6’5 and 220 pound athlete and has the perfect body and frame to be an outstanding high school and college punter.

Early in the first lesson I could tell that this young man has college potential. He hit several excellent punts. John, Jack’s father also knows that. John had brought his son to Milwaukee to work specifically with a kicking coach to develop proper punting technique . Like most young punters with potential many lack the basic fundamentals that can take them to the next level in college or the NFL.

The first thing I noticed is that Jack needed a more consistent nose down drop. Jack repeatedly was dropping the ball with the nose up. He was dropping the ball during his drills nose up and during his punts. (See Below Photo)

I also noticed that Jack was a cruncher and fell back off the ball after punting. After taking a break in the press box and viewing his video we went back on the field and worked my Drop Progression Drill.

Jack was a quick study and picked up the drills pretty fast. I also introduced him to my modified One Step and Punting Drills to try to eliminate his crunching.

After working two days of One on One Punting Lessons with a kicking coach Jack knows exactly what he must focus on, his drop and eliminate his crunch.

Jack got a little frustrated at the end of the first punting lesson because he was not hitting the ball as consistent as he was in spring. As I tell all my clients it takes two to three weeks of drill work to become comfortable. The drills will become easier and the consistency will follow. The new muscle memory will give Jack the fundamentals he needs to eventually take his game to the next level.

By the end of the second punting lesson Jack was punting up and through the ball much better and was not crunching as much. Jack is a good athlete and listened and tried everything I asked. He gave me excellent feedback during the lesson, which help me figure out and design a punting style that would be best for him.

It was a pleasure meeting Jack Ramirez and his father John. I wish Jack the best of luck this upcoming season at Valor Christian High School. Hang him high!

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Punting Lessons

Kicking Coach

Chris Bodnar Kicking Lessons

On Monday and Tuesday of this week Chris Bodnar a combination specialists from Saskatchewan Canada was in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for an individual Punting and Kicking Lesson.
Last season Chris had an excellent 2009 season punting in the Canadian University League and was eligible for the 2010 Canadian Draft in May. However, Chris sustained a severe leg injury late in the 2009 season and his recovery lingered into the spring of 2010. The injury affected his training and he decided by Canadian rules to play another season in the University League.
The Canadian have much different rules than the NCAA and the NFL with regards to years they can play in the University League and be eligible for their draft..
Chris has had previous kicking and punting lessons in Phoenix, Arizona on a couple of occasions. Chris has decided training One on One with a kicking coach will prepare him for this upcoming football season.

During the first lesson my sequential camera produced a series of photographs that help me notice that Chris was dropping the ball outside his hip and punting leg. This was having an adverse effect on his punts. The sequential photos I took on the field gave me instant feedback to Chris’s problem.

Chris Bodnar Outside Drop - Wiping a Spiral
Monday night Chris went back to the hotel and did the mirror drill and worked on his drop. On Tuesday Chris was placing the ball directly in front of the leg and punting up and through it much better. (See above and below photos)

The second half of Tuesdays lesson was spent on Chris's field goal kicking technique. Last year Chris had a real issue with his foot placement on the ball. In the photo below you can see that Chris had the same issue early in the lesson. His foot position was causing him to wrap his foot around the ball causing him to kick a flutter ball and/or hooked his kicks to his right.

The sequential camera picked up the problem early and we addressed it with a couple of drills. Chris was a quick study and started to hit some better balls with a natural end over end rotation. The kicks were also going directly down the middle of the goal posts.

The final piece of the puzzle was for Chris to kick more up and through the ball. He was kicking and skidding through the kick. Translation - not getting up on this toe. Once again we worked some drills and eventually Chris started to kick up and through the ball. (See photo below)

It was a pleasure working with Chris Bodnar once again. He is a hard working professional that wants to take his game to the next level. Last year the One on One Kicking and Punting Lessons prepared him for the season and I hope once again they get him ready for the 2010 Canadian University Football Season.

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Punting Lessons

Kicking Lessons

Football Kicking Coach

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Drew Butler, Punting Lessons

Drew Butler University of Georgia Punter
Working on Coach Zauner's
'Natural' and Power Zone Style of Punting

Drew Butler - 2009 'Ray Guy Award' Winner

On Friday, Saturday and Sunday University of Georgia's Punter Drew Butler was in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for another series of One on One Punting Lessons.

Also in town at the same time for One on One Long Snapping Lessons was Neal Dahlman a senior long snapper from Bowling Green State University. Neal mentioned he has been rated by one of the scouting services as one of the top (5) ranked snappers coming out in next years 2011 draft.

As a kicking coaching it is a great situation for me when I get a long snapper and punter both at the same time. First, because I don't have to catch snaps and secondly, each specialists not only gets his own One on One time but also gets some extra practice and drill time servicing each others drills. From a kicking coach perspective I feel it's a win win for both the specialists and myself.

Note: Neal can bring some heat! Drew's hands were stinging at the end of each session. Click here to read Neal Dahlman's entry from Coach Zauner's Blog.

Neal Dahlman (Left) and Drew Butler (Right)

As with every kicking, punting and long snapping lesson, Drew starts every lesson with my Drop Progression Drill. After he finishes his Drop Progression Drill he moves into a modified 'Power Zone Punting' Drill.

During our spring One on One Punting Lesson I asked Drew not to work my One Step Punting Drill for a while because I thought he was picking up a bad habit. Why? Because during the One Step Drill he was starting to crunch a little.

I don't want Drew working any drill that might give him any type of bad muscle memory. As I coach Drew I don't want any drills to interfere with Drew's ability to master my 'Natural' Style of Power Zone Punting Technique.

Drew's drop has progressed nicely from last year to this year. In 2009 he had a slight problem with a nose up drop. This year he is almost exclusively dropping the ball with the nose down. (Above photo).

During the second day for both specialists, Neal worked snapping, vertical setting and blocking while Drew was working on improving his Directional Punting Technique both right and left.

Drew is excellent going to his right like most right footed punters but needed to improve on his consistency going to his left. I emphasized pre-setting his hips to improve his body position and foot work. At the end of the second punting lesson Drew was hitting his punts more consistently going to his left.

After three days of One on One Punting Lessons Drew had practiced and punted in almost every punting situation that a punter will experience during the course of a season: Open Field, Directional, Pooch, End of the Game and Backed Up and Coming Out of the End Zone.

After three days of working on technique, Drew was ready to get back home to Georgia and work on finishing summer school and his summer workouts.

Drew is not only working on technique but how to be a true professional. His father Kevin Butler was a hard worker and a true professional when I worked with him as a kicking coach many years ago when he was a kicker with the Chicago Bears.

Coach Zauner watch Kevin Butler Warm Up in Pre Game

Side Note: My One on One Golf Match Play with kicking specialists is still perfect. I have not lost a match to anyone. Drew is the only specialists that has tied me. However, even though the above photo was taken in Arizona when Drew and I tied and we exchanged one dollar bills. This time Drew paid me a $1.00 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin at Westmoor Country Club.

It was again a pleasure working Drew Butler. I wish him and the Georgia Bulldog's the best of luck this upcoming season. Last year Drew won the prestigious Ray Guy Award. This year Drew needs to not worry about awards but take each punt one at a time.

I told him to be a team punter and punt for the situation. The best way to be recognized as a great punter is to punt according to the situation at hand not for average. Drew is a team player and will do whatever it takes to help his team win games.

I wish Drew the best in focusing on his goal of achieving a 'Path to PRO Football'.

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Punting Lessons

Kicking Coach

Julius Peppers Signs With Chicago Bears

Julius Peppers will help Chicago Bears on special teams

July 27, 2010
BY SEAN JENSEN - Chicago Sun-Times

Dave Toub knows the Bears signed defensive end Julius Peppers primarily to sack quarterbacks.
But the Bears' special-teams coach hoped Peppers could do something else: block some kicks, too.
Since the NFL started tracking blocked kicks in 1978, Peppers is second only to Cleveland Browns defensive tackle Shaun Rogers (16) with nine. Toub is excited because Peppers will team with Israel Idonije to comprise a unit that will strike fear into the hearts of kickers and special-teams coordinators. Read more...

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Neal Dahlman Long Snapping Lessons

On Friday and Saturday Neal Dahlman who is a senior long snapper at Bowling Green State University was in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for One on One Long Snapping Lessons. Neal is about 6'1 and 240 pound snapper that has been listed on a couple of scouting services as a top 5 snapper in next years draft.

Neal was in town for long snapping lessons at the same time that University of Georgia Punter's and 2009 Ray Guy Winner Drew Butler was here. Each player had his own One on One coaching and also received extra practice time working together. As a kicking coach I feel it was a win, win for both specialists.

Neal Dalman (Bowling Green) and Drew Butler (U. of Georgia)
During Neal's first long snapping lesson I watched him stretch and go through his warm up. As I do with all kicking, punting and long snapping lessons I like to let each specialist show me their technique before I do any coaching. I also like to ask a lot of questions to each specialists to fine out how much each person knows about his skill and technique.
Through my years as a kicking coach I am truly amazed at some of the answers I get from some very good athletes. Many athletes can perform a certain skill but do not have the ability to explain what they do and how they do it. Not even some of the NFL kicking specialists.

After Neal warmed up he started long snapping and showed me why he is ranked or rated as a top 5 snapper. He can bring the heat.

As he continued to snap and also block he had some erratic snaps. Nothing that was really bad but he showed a tendency to snap high and pull the ball off to the punters right shoulder.

As the long snapping lessons continued I took several sequential camera shots on the field so I could analyze his technique and make some minor corrections.

We finished the first day with field goal snaps. Neal was very good with his location but his laces were off. After he finished his 'perfect laces' drill and not hitting many 'perfect laces' I explained how he could achieve snapping perfect laces.

When the first day was finished we went to the press box to analyze his session. I explained to Neal what I look for in a good long snapper and what I felt it takes to make it to the NFL or next level.

Neal has some excellent potential. I told Neal to make it to the next level you can't have any stray bullets or wild snaps. For a team to pay you $300,000.00 or $400,000.00 you need to be real good. That means you need to be your best everyday in practice and during tryout.

Which translates not only to you need to refine your skill but also educate yourself so you know exactly what your doing. You also need to know if something goes wrong how to correct it. In addition you must be mentally tough.

The second day we put together some long snapping technique drills, a snapping progression and routine that was tailored especially for Neal. In the above photo, Neal worked my Balls and Strikes Drill to almost perfection. As he worked his long snapping drills Drew Butler was working his Drop Progression Drills

Neal finished his second day with my field goal snapping 'Perfect Laces' Drill. After we found his distance and worked refining his technique, Neal snapped almost every rep with 'perfect laces'.

Neal mentioned at the end of the long snapping lesson he had learned a lot and was happy he made the journey to Milwaukee. He said he had some other formal instruction from football long snapping coaches but nobody broke down the technique like I had. I took that as a compliment and not as over coaching.

It was a pleasure meeting and working with Neal Dahlman and I wish him the best of luck this upcoming senior season at Bowling Green State University. If he is not invited to the 2011 NFL Combine I expect to see him at my College Senior Specialists Combine in Phoenix, Arizona in February.

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Long Snapping Lessons

Kicking Coach