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

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Joshua Shene Kicking Lesson

On Friday and Saturday of this week Joshua Shene who was the starting kicker at the University of Mississippi for four years was in Scottsdale, Arizona for a kicking lesson (One on One).
I first met Joshua when he attended my College Senior Specialists Combine which was held here in Phoenix, Arizona February 20-21 2010. After the College Senior Combine Joshua evaluated his performance and decided he needed to get better and attended my PRO Development Camp in Casa Grande, Arizona May 21-23, 2010.
He liked the experience, competition and knowledge received at the PRO Development Camp. Since the camp he has worked hard the last couple of months and knows he has gotten better. He is here to show me his improvement and to also refine anything in his technique that will take him to the next level with a kicking lesson.
Joshua was an excellent college kicker and is now trying to become a professional kicker. As I tell all kicking specialists, the road to the NFL as a kicking specialist or special teams coach is not easy. However, if you get there it is well worth the hard work and bumps and bruises received on the way.
Years ago, if you were a good kicker you stuck out of the competition like a bright shinny star in the sky. In recent years the competition has gotten so much better. Now there are a lot of shinny stars in the sky coming out of college or competing in free agent kicking camps. The biggest question now is; Who is the Brightest Star!
Almost every kicker coming out of college can kick 55 plus yard field goals and kickoff to or into the end zone. The key to any kickers or punters success I believe is TECHNIQUE. Just like the game of golf has gotten over populated with great young golfers so has the kicking world.

Joshua Shene has a passion for kicking and is bound and determined to give it his best shot. He has spent money on flights, hotels, rental cars, kicking camps, kicking combines, and now kicking lessons.
I'll say one thing after working with him as a kicking coach the last two days, the money has been well spent. Joshua has gotten so much better in the last several months. Matter of fact, he has also stated those exact words to me in the recent visit. He feels the balls are traveling further with less effort.
Joshua is kicking and kicking off with much better form and technique. The ball he is kicking has a much better rotation. The kicks are now flying higher, further and straighter.

During the kicking lessons we worked on better foot to ball contact with a couple of drills. In the photos below you will notice the sweet spot of his foot is now making more consistent contact with the sweet spot of the ball.

Joshua is not only making better contact but also staying more upright. He is finding out that kicking with Coach Zauner's Natural Kicking Technique he is kicking up and through the ball and getting much better results.

At the end of both kicking lessons Joshua worked on his kickoff technique. During the first lesson my sequential camera showed that Joshua was leading a little bit too much with his toe and several kickoffs were a little slapping. (See Below Photo) After addressing his foot position issue he started to make much better contact.

The second day on kickoffs we worked to improve Joshua's hurdle technique. Once again Joshua was a quick study and improve rapidly. We also shortened his kickoff approach and tweaked a couple of other things. In all Joshua improved and felt much better about his kickoff technique.

Joshua has now improved but the NFL, CFL and UFL season has started. It might be too late to get a tryout for this season. However, I believe if Joshua keeps working hard on his technique and gets bigger and stronger he will be noticed at my Free Agent Specialists Combine next spring.

I wish Joshua the best of luck in his pursuit of a professional football kicking career.

Click below to listen to Joshua Shene's Testimonial after working a Kicking Lesson with Coach Zauner:

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Monday, August 30, 2010

Paul Edinger Kicking Lesson

On Tuesday and Wednesday of this week Paul Edinger a former NFL Kicker with the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings was in Scottsdale, Arizona for a two day evaluation and kicking lessons.

Paul had contacted me earlier in the year about participating in my Free Agent Specialists Combine in March but was unable to attend because of his signing with the Jacksonville Sharks of the AFL - Arena Football League Team.

After two days of kicking lessons with Paul Edinger I would say that he still has the ability to kick at the NFL or UFL Level. The big question will be if someone or some team will give him a chance.

Paul came to me already a good kicker. However, I believe I gave him a couple of things to think about and hopefully incorporate into his system of kicking that might even help take his game to a high level.

As kickers get older they always want to keep or improve their distance on field goals and escpecially on kickoffs. Most veteran kickers get replaced because of salary or because some younger kicker has a bigger leg.

When Paul contacted me and asked to come out to Scottsdale for me to evaluate him the first question I asked him was "Are you still using that unique stance in which you turned away from the line of scrimmage, spun around and then approached the ball?" He answered NO!

Paul mentioned he changed his stance and approach because he felt most NFL and UFL teams were not looking at him anymore or giving him a chance because of his unique approach.

After two days of kicking I believe Paul is kicking the ball straighter and further than when he arrived. I tried to stress staying a little more upright kicking field goals and kicking off.

The second day we started with the goal post warm up and mirror drill. After going through a kicking progression routine we address Paul's target line, alignment and approach issues. Paul has tried to change his approach and was not sure which one to use. After two days of kicking we figured out which way was best for Paul.

With one approach Paul seemed to aim and kick more balls to his left. With the other system he lined up his kicks more percisely and made every kick exactly were he was aimed.

As we continue through the kicking lesson we worked on kicking up and through the ball. The result was Paul felt more confortable kicking more upright and he said he felt smoother. He also mentioned that, he felt he was kicking the ball further with less effort.

The first day we also video taped his kickoff technique. The second day we worked on him kicking off up and through the ball and then hurdling. Once again Paul like it. The balls were traveling higher and further again with less effort.

I believe that Paul Edinger was very happy with his One on One Lesson. You can click below to listen to Paul's testimonial after working with Coach Zauner.

It was a pleasure meeting and working with Paul and I wish him the best of luck getting back onto a professional football teams roster. Paul still has the talent at the age of 32. Paul just needs for some team to give him another chance.

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Patrick McLaughlin Kicking Lessons

On Sunday and Monday Patrick McLaughlin from Herndon High School in Virginia was in Phoenix, Arizona for two individual kicking lessons. Kathleen and Rody McLaughlin accompanied their son on the trip and also made it a family vacation. After the One on One Lessons they headed to beautiful Sedona, Arizona and then to the Grand Canyon.

Sedona Arizona

Kathleen, Patrick & Rody McLaughlin

Patrick is good looking athlete that stands about 6'2 and weighs about 200 pounds. His father has mentioned he is an excellent soccer player in Virginia and he would like to try his hand at being a high school kicker. He is here in Scottsdale for me to evaluate and give football kicking lessons on the fundamentals of the kicking game.
As Patrick started to kick I could immediately see that this young man had a strong leg but also lacked field goal kicking fundamentals. My teaching job in two days was to take and transform Patrick's natural kicking or soccer skills into a natural style kicking field goal kicker.

When Patrick started the kicking lesson he just tried to kick the ball as hard as he could. He used a long approach and just kick and fell off to the side. His plant foot stayed in cement. Patrick was just kicking at the ball rather than up and through it. (See Above Photo)

When I tried to get him to kick up and through the ball he started to crunch. (See Below Photo)

He actually kicked and not skipped but jumped through the ball. (See Below Photo) My job was to go back to the basic principal of kick and skip. Patrick's mother is a teacher and she knew exactly what I needed to do. I used a very basic teaching progression to get Patrick to do what I wanted him to do. Whole Part/Part Whole Method of Teaching.

Patrick start to kick and skip through the ball but was kicking a little out of control.

Once I got him to kick and skip through the ball the next part was foot to ball contact. In soccer Patrick was use to passing the ball with a loose ankle and kicking the soccer ball with a draw.

I had to get Patrick to open his foot up and lay his foot open to the sweet spot of the ball to the sweet spot of his foot.

Patrick was a quick study. We got the kick and skip and the foot position. Next was body and arm position.

Kathleen and Rody decided to take some extra coaching time because they saw how much their son had progressed in the first two kicking lessons.

In the extra teaching time we tried to refine Patrick's field goal technique and also work on some punting skills.

At the conclusion of the kicking lessons Patrick hit several 50 to 55 yard field goals straight and true with good field goal kicking form. He also hit a couple of SNO Spiral Nose Over Punts to the Power Zone.

Patrick and his parent were very pleased with the results of the five and a half hours of instruction. They saw a remarkable amount of improvement in their sons field goal kicking technique.

They mentioned they will be back again in the spring. Patrick is going into his junior year. He is a big kid with some excellent kicking skills. Now that he has some technique his potential might be unlimited.

It was a real pleasure meeting and working with Patrick. I wish him the best of luck this season making the transition from a soccer player to a field goal kicker.

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Stephen McDonald Kicking With Huskies'

Huskies' kick-start

Competition for punter/placekicker heats up at Huskies camp

The StarPhoenix - Article By: Kevin Mitchell

The University of Saskatchewan Huskies hope their feet don't fail them now.

Two feet -- one each belonging to Stephen McDonald and Denton Kolodzinski -- are competing for the Huskies' vacant placekicking and punting jobs.

The scrap looms large on a football team that employed one of the best kickers in the nation last year. Grant Shaw, who handled both duties with aplomb and also played a strong cornerback, is now kicking for the CFL's Toronto Argos. Read More...

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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Nick Novak Kicking In NFL Camp

San Diego Kicker's NFL Birthday Wish

Nick Novak is in the Chargers' camp trying to hoof up a job

San Diego Sports - Article By Dan McLellan

Nick Novak, a San Diego native who grew up near Mission Valley, will celebrate his 29th birthday on Saturday by kicking field goals for the San Diego Chargers. His birthday wish is to be playing in the NFL this season.

“I’ve been spending my savings just to pursue my dream,” says Novak. “To play for any of the 32 teams in the NFL is a privilege. It is not a right and you have to go out and earn it every single day. My goal is go out there each and every day and show that.” Read more...

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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Scaccia Gets UFL Offer

Ex-Centennial kicker Scaccia gets UFL offer
TCPalm Article By Aimee Ford Foster

Fabrizio Scaccia has turned a successful stint with the Arena Football League into a chance with another league.

Scaccia, a former kicker at St. Lucie West Centennial, has been offered a contract by the Sacramento Mountain Lions of the United Football League, according to Atlanta businessman Doug Bercu — who has been both an advisor and mentor to Scaccia. Read more...

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Football: Psyche re-booted, Carlton ready to roll

Times Herald-Record

In May, Carlton visited kicking guru Gary Zauner, a 13-year NFL special teams coach, in Arizona for some answers. He kicked for an hour and half for two ... click to read more

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Saturday, August 7, 2010

Garrett Maloney Punting Lesson

On Monday and Tuesday I was working punting lessons with Garrett Maloney former Marquette High School football and basketball player. I have been working with Garrett for the last two years and this young man is getting better with each punting lesson.

This fall he will be a red shirt freshmen at the University of St. Thomas (Minnesota) and is competing for the starting job as a punter. Garrett is also on the U. of St. Thomas basketball team.

Garrett also got an opportunity to work on his holding technique while University of Syracuse Kicker, Ryan Lichtenstein was taking his kicking lesson.

Ryan Lichtenstein & Garrett Maloney

Garrett's working hard this summer to be the starting punter and working hard also means working smart. Working smart means working proper fundamentals. Garrett always warms up with the drop progression drill. (See Below Photo)

During Garrett's punting sessions I have really been emphasizing a nose down drop and better foot to ball contact. The key to consistency is the drop and impact.

As Garrett's drop improved so did his impact on the ball. In the photo below you see Garrett hitting the ball directly on the top of his foot to achieve a perfect SNO Spiral Nose Over Punt.

By the end of day two of Garrett was punting up and through the ball with better consistency and almost every ball was turning over to his power zone. The key to a punter's success is Power Zone Punting.

The next step was for Garrett to hit the same consistent punt with a snap. When Ryan wasn't kicking he was help out snapping the ball the ball to Garrett. Both boys helped each other and got extra work during the two days of kicking and punting lessons.

Garrett is an excellent two sport athlete. However, to be a PRO athlete or punter you must be sooooooo much better than everyone else. Garrett is enjoying life, working hard and being a typical college student/athlete. Eventually he will need to specialize if he dreams on being an NFL punter.

It was a again a pleasure working with Garrett and I wish him the best of luck this season becoming the starting punter at the University of St. Thomas... go Garrett!

Side Note: Garrett has also attended my PRO Development Camp in Minnesota this year.

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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Ryan Lichtenstein Kicking Lesson

Ryan Licktenstein University of Syracuse

On Friday I received a call from Ryan Lichtenstein's father Sam, that Ryan was having a slight problem with his kicking and on Monday he was in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for two days of kicking lessons.
Ryan walked on as a freshmen at the University of Syracuse last year and won the starting job over a couple of scholarship specialists.
I have worked with Ryan for two years and he is a good kicker and will get even better each year with time and experience.
However, Ryan lost a couple of weeks of training and practice this year because of a couple medical issues. And like many kicking specialists can and was experiencing a slight bump in the road with his kicking technique. However, Coach Zauner is always a call or plane ride away.
Ryan was scheduled to report to school and start training camp on the next weekend. Because of the situation Ryan jumped on a plane for a quick emergency visit and tune up.
Also during those two days I was giving punting lessons to Garrett Maloney a freshmen punter this year at University of St. Thomas in Minnesota. Garrett also got a opportunity to work on his holding technique for Ryan during those two days.

Ryan Lichtenstein & Garrett Maloney

During Sam's phone call he mentioned that when Ryan was kicking he was not hitting a pure end over end kick. He was kicking a ball with a slight flutter to it and many times it was going left. This is very unusual for Ryan who normally hits a pure end over end kick.

During Ryan's first kicking lesson I watched, video taped and took sequential photos of Ryan's technique. The sequential photo's revealed that Ryan was wrapping his toe around the ball causing the problem. (See Photos Below)

After visiting the press box and reviewing the photos and video we headed back to the field to work on some foot to ball drills. When you have a problem you need a drill to fix it and get the proper muscle memory back. We finished the day with Ryan making better contact but the problem was not totally gone.

Day two of the kicking lessons we again started with drills and Ryan was making much better foot to ball contact. Ryan was opening up his foot on the ball better and balls were now flying true and straight.

Next we worked on Ryan kicking the same ball with a perfect end over end rotation with a snap and hold. I snapped and Garrett Maloney was the holder. Ryan finished the day drilling a bunch of kicks down the middle.
You always want to feel good about yourself going into training camp and not second guessing yourself. Ryan was smiling and feeling much better about his kicking... he was back!

It was once again a pleasure working with Ryan Lichtenstein and I wish him the best of luck in his sophomore season at the University of Syracuse.

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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Greg Rivara Punting Lesson

On Sunday and Monday Greg Rivara a combination kicking specialists from the University of New Mexico was in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for a One on One Punting and Kicking Lesson.

His uncle Ray Armijo told me that he knew of me when I was the Special Teams Coordinator and Kicking Coach for the University of New Mexico from 1986-87. He accompanied Greg on the trip . Ray was instrumental in Greg choosing Coach Zauner, LLC services.

Ray Armijo & Greg Rivara

At the start of the first punting lesson I observed Greg warming up and working his drop drill. The sequential photo series showed me that Greg not only placed the ball outside his hip but also had a very straight ball.

When he started to punt the ball I could immediately tell that this young man hand a very explosive leg. I could also see that this young man was lacking some good basic fundamentals. Uncle Ray also knew that and that is why Greg was here for a One on One Kicking and Punting Lesson.

The sequential photos also revealed that when Greg punted, he also fell back and off to the side after each punt. He was punting at the ball not up and through it. My job as a kicking coach was to get him to improve his drop and also punt up and through the ball.

After reviewing the sequential photos on the field and analyzing the video in the press box I started to work on refining Greg's punting technique. I showed him video of several NFL punters I had been training: Jon Ryan (Seattle Seahawks), Brett Kern (Tennessee Titans), Dave Zastudil (Cleveland Browns), Rob Maver (Calgary Stampeders) and Drew Butler, University of Georgia Punter and 'Ray Guy Award' Winner.

We went back to work on the field for the next couple of hours working my Drop Progression, Modified One Step, and Mirror Drills. Greg was a quick study. He picked up the drills and executed them almost to perfection.

He started to punt up and through the ball and transfer his weight correctly. He was becoming more consistent in hitting (SNO) Spiral Nose Over punts to his power zone. He was learning to punt with better technique and less muscle.

Most young punters and kickers just try to muscle the ball or kill it.

Greg was learning quickly during his punting, kicking and kickoff lessons that technique was much more important than brute strength.

We finished the second lesson working on some directional punting technique.

During the third lesson or extra period we worked on Greg's field goal and kickoff technique. Once again Greg was a quick study. What he learned from punting he applied to his field goal technique. Greg started to kick up and through the ball on both his field goals and kickoffs and the ball was going further and straighter with less effort.

It was a real pleasure meeting and working with Greg Rivara and Ray Armijo. Greg is a very smart young man and student at the University of New Mexico. But what also impressed me was his relentless work ethic.

During his two days in Milwaukee he not only worked hard on the field but was a perfect student working my mirror drills back at the hotel. Greg will be successful in whatever he decides to do or take on in life.

I wish him the best of luck this year at the University of New Mexico. Greg brought a University of New Mexico -Lobo- shirt for me to wear with pride. Go 'Lobo's'

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