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

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Evolution of PRO Development Camps

From One On One Lessons to College Senior and Free Agent Specialist's Kicking Combines:

The Evolution of Coach Zauner's PRO Development Camps

Coach Gives Instruction to January Kicking Specialists in Phoenix, AZ

Coach Zauner, LLC Starts With One on One Lessons:

When I first started Coach Zauner, LLC in 2007, I was only giving One on One Kicking, Punting and Snapping Lessons. My goal was to expose as many college seniors, free agents, and PRO specialists to Coach Zauner's coaching philosophy of teaching 'A Natural Style of Kicking and Punting'.  

My coaching and teaching philosophy had led to my success early in my career as a kicking coach consultant, and later as an 11 year college and 13 year NFL Special Teams Coordinator with the Vikings, Ravens, and Cardinals. I hoped that this would also lead to success in helping young aspiring kicking, punting, and snapping specialists.

I then decided during my retirement years that I wanted to give back to kicking and the game of football that had given me so much enjoyment, satisfaction and memories.  I wanted to offer the opportunity for kicking specialists to get exposed to Coach Zauner's 'Natural Style of Kicking and Punting' to find out if it would work for them.

First, I researched kicking camps and kicking instructors. The lists went on and they seemed to be everywhere across the country. There were several names that I had not heard of as well. Also, several of these kicking instructors were still coaching specialists from the old school manual or coaching them they same way they were coached growing up. 

Although I have coached, consulted or had been associated with now 20 PRO Bowl Specialists throughout my career, most young high school and underclass college kicking specialists going through kicking camps and showcase combines had never heard of Coach Zauner.

My dream then went from coaching in the NFL to giving many younger specialists an opportunity to take their kicking games to the next level and achieve their dream goal to play professional football by using my coaching and teaching philosophy that had worked so well for me in my coaching career.

Idea for College Senior and Free Agent Specialist's Kicking Combines:

In 2008, while attending the NFL Combine, I went to the NFL special teams coaches dinner to honor the Special Teams Super Bowl Coach of the year, who also pays for the meal. During this time, all of the Special Teams Coordinators and their assistant coaches talk about who's attending free agent kicking combines in the spring and who's going where. 

Houston Texans Special Teams Coordinator, Joe Marciano, one of the senior Special Teams Coaches, who was running the meeting, turned around and asked me why I wouldn't organize and run a combine because I know what NFL coaches want and look for in kicking specialists. I figured then, with the endorsement and backing of current NFL coaches, I could be successful.  After going home and consulting with my wife Michelle, we decided to move forward with our game plan.

Next, upon request from a group of NFL Special Teams Coaches, I started my College Senior and Free Agent Specialist's Combines 'A Field of Dreams' to not only help professional coaches discover free agent talent but also give deserving specialists exposure to NFL, CFL, UFL Special Teams Coaches and Pro Personnel Directors.

The secret to Coach Zauner's first Free Agent Specialist's Kicking Combine was networking, contacts and good talent.  In 2009, 41 specialists qualified for the Free Agent Combine and 17 of them signed NFL and CFL contracts.  Billy Cundiff, a free agent at the time, rebooted his career in front of 26 NFL teams.  Billy is now with the Baltimore Ravens and earned 2011 PRO Bowler honors.  Billy's agent, Paul Sheehy, was the man responsible for getting Billy to attend this combine.

Success breeds more success!  Some of the specialists that were taking One on One Lessons and also doing well at my kicking combines were also signing NFL, CFL and UFL contracts.  The word was spreading amongst specialists, agents, and coaches alike.  Although each year the number of specialists trying to qualify for my combines increased, the key to success was to keep the number of participants low and the quality of specialists high for the attending NFL, CFL, and UFL Coaches and Scouts.

Why? PRO Development Camps:

Drew Butler (U. of Georgia) wins the Ray Guy Award and Rob Maver (U. of Guelph / Calgary Stampeders) becomes a First Round Pick in the Canadian Draft.  Both took One on One Lessons and attended Coach Zauner's first and trial PRO Development Camps at Macalester College in 2010.  Snapper, Morgan Cox (U. of Tennessee / Baltimore Ravens) and Kicker, Nick Novak (U. of Maryland / NFL Veteran Kicker) were also in attendance. 

The word was spreading down throughout the college and now into the high school ranks.  Thank goodness for Google and Facebook!

Morgan Cox Works Perfect Laces Drill with Drew Butler

As more college underclassmen and high school specialists began to request One on One Lessons, I needed another avenue to satisfy top college and free agent specialists in getting them their individualized lessons. While some of these specialists, families, and agents could afford One on One Lessons, there were also some that could not.

So, Coach Zauner, LLC moved forward from a 2010 trial to a series of 2011 PRO Development Kicking Camps while keeping the idea of quality instruction and not quantity of campers in mind during each kicking camp.

My PRO Development Kicking Camps now provide college and free agent specialists Coach Zauner One on One type instruction in a small group camp environment at a more affordable fee.  The three (3) day weekend camps at $575.00 included hotel accommodations and food. These PRO Development Kicking Camps now take place in different locations (Phoenix and Milwaukee) and times (January, May and July) for specific reasons.

Participants Benefit From January and May Camps in Phoenix, Arizona:

Fabrizio Scaccia (No College) Prepares For Training Camp - Signed with S.F. 49ers

Reid Forrest (Washington State) Prepares For NFL Combine - Signed with Buffalo Bills

John Gold (U. of Texas) Prepares for College Senior Combine - Signed with Seattle Seahawks

Nathan Whitaker (Stanford University) Prepares for Tryouts - Signed By Minnesota Vikings

Change in Camp Structure:

Coach Zauner's PRO Development Kicking Camps were started for two reasons.  My first goal was to give specialists a chance to work with me that could not afford One on One Kicking Punting or Snapping Lessons.  The second goal was to design a limited small group camp that would still offer specialists a lot of individual Coach Zauner coaching or a One on One coaching atmosphere, while also providing competition.

This year, I decided to divide the Punters and Snappers into one camp and Kickers and Kickoff Specialists in another in order to reinforce this concept. Also, by keeping the number of kicking specialists limited, it helps young men coming through to develop new friendships and measure the competition if they are pursuing  ‘A Specialist’s Path To PRO Football’.


Since 2007, the goal of Coach Zauner, LLC is for One on One Lessons, PRO Development Camps, College Senior and Free Agent Specialist's Combines to provide kicking, punting, snapping specialists at all levels  'A Specialist's Path To PRO Football', and it seems to be working in all phases of Coach Zauner's kicking programs!

Coming Soon: Next Blog to Talk About Success of 2011 PRO Development Camps

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