After doing kicking lessons in Tennessee for the past 7 years I have learned something about kickers and even more about soccer players. Your average kicker doesn’t know he’s going to be a kicker until at least sophomore year of high school and typically they are recruited by the football coach and don’t just volunteer their services. The position of kicker is different than any other position in team sports outside of a pitcher in baseball because you are in essence performing individually but asked to be part of the team. Kickers are like mercenaries or snipers that come in to do a specialized job and then leave as if no one knew they were there. So many soccer players are about to inherit the job as a kicker this Summer. So what do you do to get ready for the season? Where do you start? Here are a few opinions and I will try to be as unbiased as a kicking coach can be!
First, I suggest that you find a kicking coach in Tennessee that is around 3-4 hours from where you live. Look at that coaches credentials and make sure that he has developed kickers that play in college and that he has more than a couple years of experience. I know that when I first started out as a coach I could tell you exactly what I did when I played but a coach needs to be able to train everyone differently and not just give you tips from his past. Proximity is important because it is important to see your coach at least 4-5 times a year so that you have some accountability and improvement. Kicking coaches have popped up all over the place in the past 5 years. Do your research and make sure they are qualified. If you are out of my area than I am happy to recommend you to someone who is good. The kicking world is small and qualified kicking coaches know who does a good job and has great integrity.
Next , I would discover who your snapper and holder will be for the season and introduce yourself. These people should be your good friends and you need to develop some chemistry with them. Just like a quarterback, you are in charge of organizing your practices with your field goal unit. Your operation time from snap to kick needs to be around 1.35 seconds to avoid blocked kicks. Don’t try to develop the timing in camp because you will probably be a bit shaky in your first couple of games because you lack reps with the FG unit.
The final thing I suggest doing is to get your butt in the weight room. Don’t hide out all Summer and then show up for Fall camp. The players need to see you working as hard as them in the Summer workouts. If you miss a kick during the season and they have never seen you in the weight room than they will have a tendency to blame you for the failure. Players are much more forgiving to the guy they see working hard with them. You need to gain size and strength to your frame and know what it is like to work hard. You develop these things in the weight room.
In closing, I would assume over 30% of High School kickers in Tennessee don’t even know they will be kickers yet. Once you find out you are going to kick you should follow these directions. Don’t get caught up in going to some big scholarship camp until you have mastered the skill of kicking first. If you wait till the Summer to prepare to kick than you will have a lot of work to do to be successful. Good luck and I am here to help you along the way!