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.
First Day Punting 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.