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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Swayze Waters Punt & PK Lessons

On Thursday and Friday of last week Swayze Waters former combination punter and kicker from the University of Alabama Birmingham was in Scottsdale, Arizona for a One on One Punting, Kicking and Kickoff Lesson.

After the 2009 NFL Draft Swayze was signed by the Detroit Lions as a free agent kicking specialist. After being released he has worked on his technique and was looking to sign with another club.

I first met Swayze back in March when he attended my 2010 Free Agent Specialists Combine. During the combine Oakland Raiders Special Teams Coordinator John Fassel took notice of Swayze's performance. Approximately a week after the Combine Swayze signed a free agent contract with the Raiders.
Swayze being a combination punter and kicker was signed to give both Oakland Raiders PRO Bowl specialists Sebastian Janikowski and Shane Lechler a helping leg during mini camps, training camp and during the four game preseason. Swayze did very well during the preseason games however, has not had any luck getting workouts or tryouts since the beginning of the 2010 regular season.
Swayze and I have talked several times since he was released and was hoping for some NFL teams to call or at least give him a workout. The phone has not been ringing and Swayze was getting a little concerned 'why'.
During my Combine I took notice of Swayze's potential and also noticed a couple of flaws in his kicking, punting and kickoff technique. During our phone conversations I mentioned that I thought I could help him improve in all facets of his kicking game. So, Swyaze is here in Scottsdale for me to not only evaluate but also work on all phases of his kicking game and to help him improve and get more consistent.

First Day Punting Form

First Day Kicking Form

First Day Kickoff Form

During the first punting and kicking lesson I videotaped Swayze from many different angles and took a bunch of sequential camera shots of Swayze's punting, kicking and kickoff technique. As with all specialists I asked Swayze a lot of questions and tried to figure out how much he actually knew about his kicking and punting technique. Did he have a system or did he just go out and punt.

I quickly found out that many of drills he was using to warm up had very bad muscle memory for what he was trying to accomplish.

That is my biggest concern with kicking and punting instructors and kicking camps. Many are teaching poor fundamentals and bad drills to kids. Instructors are teaching things that have been taught through the years or the way they were taught but not actually the way most of the best Pro's actually punt and kick.

So, after the first lesson we went back to the office and analyzed Swayze's warm up routines and his fundamentals. I compared his technique with many of the other pro specialists I have been working with. I showed him video's of NFL kickers: Billy Cundiff (Ravens), Sebastian Janikowksi (Raiders), Garrett Hartley (Saints), and Gary Anderson (Retired). I also showed him video of NFL punters: Jon Ryan (Seahawks), Brett Kern (Titans), Rick Tuten (Retired).

What he quickly noticed is that he had a different style of kicking and punting than them. What I tried to show him is with better fundamentals and drills he could improve on every phase of his kicking game and take it to the next level.

He was all in!

After watching all the video and explaining what I felt he needed to do Swayze was ready to make a the change. I gave him a couple of drills to work on back at the hotel and the next day we moved forward.

In punting I taught Swayze my Drop Progression Drill. I tried to give him system that would make his punting, kicking and kickoff mechanics similar. I tried to get him to stop crunching. I tried to get him to emphasize punting, kicking and kicking off up through the ball.

Drop Progression Drill

Second Day Punting Form

Second Day Kicking Form

Second Day Kickoff Form

By the end of the second lesson Swayze was feeling the difference. Balls were going higher, straighter and further with less effort. He was becoming more efficient with his kicking and punting mechanics. He was becoming more fundamentally sound. He knew he made the right decision.

Click below to listen to Swayze Waters Testimonial after working a One on One Punting, Kicking and Kickoff Lesson with Coach Zauner.

It was a real pleasure working with Swayze. He was a quick study in just about every thing we worked on. After seeing how quickly he made the changes I know that in about two to three weeks he will be improving even more. Once he masters the drills his new muscle memory will become more automatic. Swayze has a lot of natural ability and I believe with his talent and the new changes he will be playing soon in either the UFL, CFL or NFL. Best of Luck Swayze!

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