Barbara, Matt and Michael Alksninis
During the three days of One on One Kicking Lessons once again I focused on kicking and punting fundamentals. The key to any ones success is being fundamentally sound and using their natural kicking and punting ability.
Matt has a lot of natural kicking and punting ability. However, like many young specialists he sometimes thinks and analyzes things a little to much and becomes a little to mechanical.
My biggest job is to teach fundamentals and give specialists drills so their kicking and punting muscles become use to the proper technique and perform more naturally. I call it muscle memory.
I believe you can teach your muscles and body to do whatever you want it to. The key is when you eventually go to do a skill during a game situation or under pressure you do it more naturally. I also believe as a coach you must drill your athletes under those pressure conditions.
Matt had a good 2009 season. However, he mentioned he started really hot and ended trying to change a couple of things and his last couple of games where not what he wanted. His biggest problem was hooking the ball.
In the above photo Matt is rolling on his ankle. During the sessions we worked on Matt kicking up and through the ball more and kicking and skipping down field.
We also spent a lot of time during the kicking and kickoff sessions working on his foot on the ball position and placement. As a former soccer player his foot was wrapping around the ball causing him to hook the ball off to the left.
When he kicked the ball naturally he hit the ball directly down the middle. When he kicked a little too mechanically and his foot position was poor he hooked the ball left with a flutter rotation.
I mentioned that he needs to go back home a work a couple of the drills I gave him for two to three weeks and eventually the muscle memory will become more automatic.
During Matt's punting lessons he started with a little bit too much crunching action and a erratic drop. Matt's drop table kept changing. He some times lowered his drop too much and could punt up and through the ball. Also, he has a slight problem with his ball moving inward a little too much. (See photo below)
We worked my Drop Progression and One Step Drills and on the third day Matt started turning over almost every punt at the end of the practice.
We also worked some directional punting technique and I believe Matt was very happy with the results.
At the end of the three days, Matt was punting up and through the ball with better tempo and timing. Translation... he was now punting with better technique rather than trying to kill the ball.
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