Moving over to the punting side, the first thing I ask trainees when we begin punting training is "What grip do you use on the football?" The drop may be the major factor in a good punt vs a bad punt, but the key to a good drop is having a solid and consistent grip on the football.
Keys to a great grip:
How do I decide which grip is best for me?
There are multiple ways punters from high school to the pros grip the football, and they all can be effective. Anywhere from on top of the ball, underneath (the "trap door" drop) or on the side (the "handshake" drop). Just be sure that your grip is the following:
Which grip do you recommend?
I recommend the handshake drop (pictured above) to the specialists I train. It is a natural position for your wrist to get to, just like you are going to shake someones hand. The middle finger on the seam also provides a great landmark and can guide you quickly to the correct position. Next, it is very easy to obtain a firm grip on the football (eliminate extra space between ball and your hand), in comparison to the on top of the ball grip where it can easily slip out of your hand. Finally when you transition to the drop, you only have to worry about getting your pinky out of the way, vs the trap door drop (underneath) you have to get most of your hand out of the way of the ball coming down.
Try out different grips and find one that follows the major points I listed above, but most importantly is comfortable for you! These tips will help you have a more consistent drop, and become a more consistent punter if followed correctly! Any questions or comments feel free to reach out! Let see some pigs fly!
At the beginning of every session with a new trainee I always ask, "do you know where you should me making contact with the football?" I usually get a variety of answers, from "I'm not sure, I just kick" to "near the bottom" or "just below the middle." Obviously some of these answers are incorrect, but others are not correct enough in my opinion. I am a big proponent for the aim small, miss small concept and this translates to ball contact as well. You should be aiming for a specific spot on the football, this will train your eyes and mind to become more accurate with your contact of the ball and in turn make you a more consistent kicker. This should also be your mindset with picking targets, but I will cover that in a later post.
Where should that specific spot be?
If you watch the ball flight of a kick from most NFL kickers or some college kickers closely you will notice that the ball carries straight, and slightly fades to the right, or left for a left footed kicker. This is considered a strong fade, because the ball is straightening out and continuing to carry downfield. In comparison, a lot of young high school and some college kickers often have their ball bend back to the middle which is actually decreasing distance on your kick because it isn't straightening out (fading) and continuing to carry, it is actually curving back.
Shown in the images above, for a right footed kicker your spot should be bottom quarter of the ball and slightly on the left panel of the football. Translate that to a left footed kicker, just the opposite, bottom quarter of the ball and slightly on the right panel. This is where the big part of your foot should be connecting with the football. It is the fattest part, and will give you the best possible result creating slow rotation and more distance. I included an image from one of our sessions with Coach Bailey while he was at MSU for a great example of foot angle and how it should be rotated forward slightly so the big part (navicular bone) of your foot will be the first thing that will make contact with the ball.
Connecting closer to the middle or far panel (right for a right footed kicker and left for a left footed kicker) will result in your ball curving back or missing kicks wide because you will be swinging around the football. Lets get those strong fades flying!
These tips will increase your distance on FGs and Kickoffs if done correctly! Become an asset on special teams! If you have any questions or comments please contact us or comment below. We hope to see you at future training sessions and camps!
Social media plays a major role in our lives, whether that be connecting with friends, getting news, or promoting your business, it has undeniably changed how we live. Recruiting has also been impacted by social media and it can be a very useful tool for you in your journey, if used effectively. In this post, I wanted to give you some tips on how to make the most of your social media presence, and find yourself making a difference at the collegiate level!
Which social media platform should I be using?
Twitter is often the best place to find college coaches and connect with them via DM. You may occasionally find some on Instagram or other platforms, but Twitter so far as been the most effective.
What should my profile look like?
Be aware of how you present yourself on social media. This includes your username, bio, posts and videos. Your username should very simply be @yourname or you could possibly add a grad year, but make it as easy as possible for a college coach to find you. Next, your bio should include your school, your grad year, and your position. You can also add your contact information along with a link to your updated game film (or a link to both). Again, we want to make it very easy for coaches or recruiting coordinators to quickly find film and the information they are looking for.
Who should I be connecting with?
Please check out our "Recruiting Timeline" in the recruiting portal to see where you should be at in the recruiting process depending on your age. A great place to start in your search is to make a pros/cons list of important factors to you. These could be do they have my major?, will I have an opportunity to play early?, or what is the distance from home? Any factors that may influence your decision can be listed out. Then start researching your top choices and see where they fall in line with your important factors. Based on this, you can find almost all coaches contact info on their website. Be on the lookout for special teams coordinators, special teams quality control, special teams assistants or recruiting coordinators. These coaches will be the talent evaluators who report to their head coach and will most likely be the quickest to respond.
How should I initiate the conversation?
Understand that coaches receive possibly dozens of DMs a day and so they will not have the time to read through a huge long message about your life story. Keep it short and to the point while also including the important information.
I didn't get a response, what's next?
Just because a coach doesn't get back to you doesn't necessarily mean they aren't interested. As mentioned previously coaches are very busy and receive hundreds of DMs, emails, phone calls, etc. It could also be that they just haven't checked their messages yet. If it's been a few days and no response don't worry. If no response after a few weeks, try reaching out again with a short message asking if they had a chance to review your information, and that you are still very interested in their school and football program.
Don't get help up on one program, or be stuck on playing FBS level football. Search for opportunities at all levels. You can make a big impact and get a great education at smaller schools as well. Understand where you are at in your ability, but know you will grow and develop. There is an opportunity waiting for you out there, go get it!
Brought to you by the coaches at Torgerson Kicking & Punting, this is a new blog meant to focus on common errors or misconceptions in the technique of young specialists. Throughout training sessions we have noticed similar errors and misconceptions from athlete to athlete with slight variances. So, we wanted to develop this blog as a place for athletes and their families to learn about these, even if they can't train with us in person. We look forward to hearing your feedback, please comment below on what you think of the content and hopefully this helps you become a better specialist and improve your craft! Please also don't hesitate to reach out to us with any questions or comments!