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!