Jace Christmann Mississippi State University Kicker
I first met Jace Christmann his father John about five years ago when they came to Phoenix, Arizona for a ONE on ONE Kicking Lesson at Paradise Valley High School. Jace was an excellent high school soccer player that wanted to become a football kicker at Houston Memorial High School in Houston Texas.
John had met Josh Scobee, then the kicker for the NFL Jacksonville Jaguars at function and arrange a kicking workout between Josh and Jace. After the workout Josh recommended he go see his kicking coach, Coach Zauner in Arizona.
John, a man of action made the call and in approximately two weeks was on a plane with Jace for his first of many ONE on ONE Kicking and Punting Lessons with Coach Zauner.
At our first lesson I could quickly see that Jace was a typical high school kicker with a good leg but a very mechanical and inconsistent kicking technique.
I introduced Jace to Coach Zauner's philosophy of teaching and coaching 'A Natural Style of Kicking and Punting'. Jace was a quick study.
|Jace Christmann - Field Goal Technique as a Freshman in High School|
As you can see from the photos above and below there is a dramatic change in Jace's field goal technique and form. Jace not only became a very successful high school kicker at Houston Memorial High School but also a excellent strong legged punter.
|Jace Christmann - Field Goal Technique as a Sophomore in High School|
After a very successful high school career in Houston Texas, Jace moved on to Starkville Mississippi and entered Mississippi State as a preferred walk-on.
Because Mississippi State had a couple of upper class specialists on their roster in 2016, Jace worked hard and made the travel squad but was redshirted. In spring of 2017 Jace competed for the starting spot with a couple of other kickers.
He also knew that in the fall Mississippi State would be bringing in more competition.
|Jace Christmann - One on One Kicking Lesson in Fountain Hills, Arizona with Coach Zauner|
Jace continued to work hard in the off season to improve his leg strength and his field goal technique and consistency. He came to Fountain Hills, Arizona in the spring and Milwaukee, Wisconsin in the summer train.
|Jace Christmann at Coach Zauner's 2017 July Specialists Camp in Milwaukee, Wisconsin|
|Coach Zauner's July Kickers, Punters & Snappers PRO Development Camp in Wisconsin|
Jace was doing everything in his power to prepare for his upcoming training camp at Mississippi State in late July.
When Jace showed up the opening day at training camp he knew he was in for some stiff competiton.
Jace is from Texas and he's a fighter and competitor. He worked his butt off after spring ball because he knew he had messed up during a couple of situations and needed to get better.
During training camp we talked by phone. I just kept telling Jace to trust his kicking technique, stay confident and compete. Coaches at all levels like to see how players perform in game like situations.
Slowly, Jace started moving up the the depth chart. During the first game against Charleston Southern, Jace had an opportunity to kick a couple of extra points. In the next game against LA Tech he again had a couple of kicks and performed well.
For a month, Jace had competed and performed well. Next game up LSU.
On Monday his name was now at the top of the depth chart. He was pumped up! However, he knew he still had to perform well in practice to be the starting kicker on game day.
His hard work, patience, attitude and confidence had paid off.
The only advice I gave him on Monday was "It's just another game". It's not a big game it's just another game and keep preparing like you have for the first two. Stay positive and confident and just keep making your kicks.
As I tell all the specialists that attend my ONE on ONE Lessons, PRO Camps and Combines - The biggest reason or factor for those specialists that make NFL rosters over others is "The Six Inches Between Their Ears". The key to any kickers success is the mental side of the kicking game.
|Jace Christmann In First Game vs LSU|
Jace was named the starting kicker.
On Saturday vs LSU Jace was 3 for 3 on field goals. He made kicks from 30, 45 and 27. His 45 yard field goal was a big momentum kick for the Mississippi Bulldogs to take a 20-7 lead. The Bulldogs went on to win 37 -7 against the 12th ranked LSU Tigers.
I believe Jace learned a lot about himself as a player and person this last month. He worked hard, competed and stayed true to himself during times of adversity and matured as a kicker.
Congrats to Jace Christmann, I am very proud of you!
|Jace Christmann (Mississippi State) and Coach Zauner|
Side Note: On the same weekend another Coach Zauner ONE on ONE student Matt Gay (U. of Utah) had an excellent performance. Matt was 4 for 4 with kicks of 27, 56, 50 and 20 vs San Jose State. To date Matt is now 11 for 11 or 100% in his first three games as a college kicker at the University of Utah.
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