What an amazing kicking camp with excellent talent from all across New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Quebec, Canada. That’s right- Canada! One student drove down from Canada to partake in the 2010 Kicking World New Jersey Kicking Camp at Toms River North HS on Sunday, July 11, 2010! The afternoon kicking camp session had football kickers and punters in attendance with ages ranging from 13 to 19. Many of the players who attended the 2010 NJ kicking camp had a solid foundation already and there were also some beginners just learning the ropes. It was a great mix of kickers who showed they can learn new technique and implement it and improve quickly. There was one kicker who went from normally kicking 30 yard field goals and by the end of the camp he hit his first 40 yard field goal! One kicker was able to learn how to get his kickoffs into the end zone consistently with a few small tweaks in his steps and form. All in all the camp had amazing talent and we saw many students kicking 45+ yard field goals and even some 55 yard field goals!
Right before the camp started we had a heavy rain shower but fortunately it passed after 10 minutes! The beautiful Toms River North field turf stadium drained quickly and we were able to start on time and stay rain-free for the remainder of the camp. The brief rain was a relief since it had been 95 degrees plus the previous few days in New Jersey. Thankfully the rain didn’t cool off any of the hot kicking talent!
The field goal competition was amazing as Christopher Gulla (15) who will be the Varsity kicker as a Sophomore (Toms River North High School) in the 2010 football season won the overall field goal competition. Christopher attended the NJ kicking camp last year and also has had private training with Coach Brent. At the camp we had a double-elimination field goal competition format and normally the winner might miss once before ultimately winning; however Christopher was perfect from start to finish! Chris Gulla hit 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55 yard field goals all in a row with tons of pressure on him from the noise and distractions during the final rounds of competition. He was able to keep his composure and edge off Max Bodreau (19) College kicker at FX-Garneau College in Quebec City, Canada. Max was no easy challenge as he also impressed on the field with 30, 35, 40, 45 and 50 yard field goals but ultimately missed from 55 while Christopher hit the 55 yard field goal. Congratulations to Christopher Gulla for one very impressive showing. We have honorable mention going to Scott Skripko (Delaware Valley Reg. HS), John Kilduff (Wallenpaupack Area HS) and John Scelfo (West Babylon HS) all going back to 40 and 45 yard field goals. I expect to see Christopher Gulla playing at a big time Division 1 College Football program in the near future. I also believe Max Boudreau has a real shot of transferring out to a good college football program in the states should he desire to do so.
We had two groups for the competition and Christopher won the ‘older kids’ group which consisted of 15, 16, 17 and 19 year old students while we also had a group for the 13 and 14 year old players. In the ‘younger group’ there was a clear winner in Zane Wasp (14) of Chaminade High School in Long Island, NY who hit all consecutive kicks from 20, 25, 30, 35 and 40 yards. He did not miss once! Zane shows a ton of potential and I look forward to seeing his growth over the next few years.
In the punting competition John Scelfo (17) of West Babylon HS in Long Island, NY cleaned up shop with a 48.5 yard net punt average! John won the overall punting competition and his age group of 15-19 year olds. In the 13/14 year old group it was Franco Rifici Jr. (14) Holy Spirit HS taking the win with a 44.5 yard net punt average! In the punting battle John and Franco showed great natural talent with some high hanging tight spirals that cut right through the air with ease. Both young men exhibited excellent punting talent and I would expect to see both of them excel in punting this upcoming season. An honorable mention goes to Max Boudreau who hit a beautiful 58 yard net punt in competition time but flubbed a short second punt to put his average below John’s. Max also hit a 69 yard punt in the free-kick period!
By the time we got to the kickoff competition it was clear everyone was tired. Between the heat, long day in the sun and possibly some kickers not being in ‘game-season’ shape yet I believe many of the kickoffs were a few yards less than what the players were capable of. Ultimately two players pulled it together and won the kickoff battle. Max Boudreau (19) FX-Garneau College in Quebec, Canada won the kickoff competition for the older group with a 63 yard average and Franco Rifici Jr. won the younger group with a 54.5 yard average. Franco Rifici Jr. won both the punting and kickoff competition for his age group. Congratulations to all on a job well done!
It was very noticeable that everyone who attended the kicking camp improved dramatically from start to finish. We always start the camp off with the very basic ‘kicking 101 fundamentals’ which includes footwork, ball contact, impact position, follow-through and tips to ensure a consistent approach and confident form every time. Usually at this point there’s a lot of scratching heads from the campers as they sometimes learn an entirely new approach after having mastered soccer in the past; but field goal kicking tends to be new to them. At the end of the instructional period in this camp and by the time the kicking competition came along it was obvious that the students mastered the kicking form and picked it up rather quickly. It was very rewarding for me as a kicking coach to witness their growth and quick improvement in only 3 hours.
I’m looking forward to having everyone at the camp again next year and can’t wait to come back ‘home’ to New Jersey to see everyone’s improvement in the coming months. I normally visit New Jersey one to two times a year where I am available for private kicking instruction and can work with you while I’m in town in Toms River, NJ. Best wishes for much success in everyone’s upcoming football season! Be sure to check out all the great photos and action videos from the kicking camp!