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

Sunday, July 18, 2010

James Aho Kicking Lessons

On Thursday and Friday the University of New Mexico kicker, James Aho was in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for Kicking Lessons. I first met James back in May at my PRO Development Camp in Casa Grande, Arizona. James is a junior kicker out of Roswell, New Mexico.

At my Pro Development Camp James caught my eye during some of the kicking competition. He has a good leg and pretty good form but I also noticed a couple of minor glitches in his kicking technique. I mentioned to James after the camp that he needed to clean up a couple of things with his technique.

A couple of weeks later James called and asked about getting a Kicking Lesson.

Side Note:

Early in my coaching career I was the Special Teams Coordinator at the University of New Mexico under Head Coach Mike Sheppard. That is another reason why I noticed James because I had once lived and coached in New Mexico. (Photo Below) Check out the coaching shorts!

I loved living in Albuquerque, New Mexico the two years I coached their in 1986 and 87.

A Young Coach Zauner in 1986 at U. of New Mexico

When the first kicking lesson started I told James to go through his warm up drills and then start kicking. He mentioned he had no warm up drills. He said, "I jog and stretch and just start kicking.
As he started to kick he had a flutter on almost everyone of his field goal kicks. Translation, he was not kicking a perfect end over end ball. As he continued to kick I took several sequential camera photos to study his technique.
He was kicking very hard and ending up out of balance. As I said early, James had pretty good technique and form but had some glitches. His left arm bar was causing one problem and his foot position was causing another.

In the above photo you can see James really throwing his arm too far across his chest. In the photo below you can see the poor foot position James was striking the ball. Many of his field goals were fluttering and hooking to his left. This is a common problem with many field goal kickers that played a lot of soccer.

After the first half of the kicking lesson we went to the press box and reviewed Jame's video and sequential photos. I wanted James to see exactly what was causing his ball to flutter and hook right.

I also opened up my video library and showed James video and photos of the foot position that all the NFL kickers have on the ball. James was kicking too low on the ball and did not have his foot locked out. His foot was wrapped around the ball and hitting the outside panel of the football.

After we reviewed the video and James could visualize his problem, we went back onto the field to work a foot position drill. I introduced James to my modified One Step and One Step Drills. James was a quick study and started to hit the ball with a better rotation.

That evening I told James to go back to the hotel and work the mirror drill. I told him to take a couple of hundred reps of a perfect field goal kick.

The second day James was kicking with much better form. He still had some foot position problems. The key to James improving his kicking technique and foot position will be Practice, Practice and more Practice.

James has a lot of natural kicking ability. If he can correct his foot position problem on the ball I expect big things from this young man.

James is determined to correct the problem now that he knows what the problem is. He was kicking back in New Mexico and having some good and bad days. I told him if he works the drills correctly in about three weeks he will be hitting a much cleaner ball and his kicks will be traveling 5 to 7 yards further with less effort.

It was a real pleasure working with James Aho. This young man from New Mexico has the ability to be a very good kicker. I wish him the best of luck this upcoming season. Go Lobos!

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