For anyone or anything to remain successful, they need to innovate and constantly improve. Sure, there are processes that are proven and just work OK, but to really accelerate and get results there is always a ‘better way’ to do things and constant improvement and commitment to perfection ensures optimal results. I’ve spent the last 10 years crafting and refining the art of kicking and punting and I’m confident my DVD, Book and eBook are the best instructional tools available today for kickers, punters, parents and coaches who want to see results quickly, improve and ultimately be the best they can be.
There have only been a few resources for kickers, punters and coaches in way of books and videos in the last 20 years, and quite frankly many of them are ancient and outdated. In my series of books and DVDs I take you on a journey with me as your private coach that closely mimics the experience of a private lesson or camp. My instruction is not only excellent for the actual kickers and punters, but also perfect for Special Teams Coordinators, Head Football Coaches and even parents wanting to understand the fundamentals of kicking and punting. All levels and ages will benefit: including Professional, College, High School and even Youth.
If you have been at a standstill with your kicking, are a beginner looking to learn the ropes, or are perhaps an experienced veteran specialist who needs that edge to get you to the next level; I know my Complete Guide to Kicking & Punting series will answer your questions and help you achieve the results you are capable of.
If ordering eBook directly from KICKING WORLD, You will receive (3) files after purchase: .PDF, ePub, .MOBI
Full-Featured & Compatible on virtually all electronic devices:
iPad, Kindle, Google Nexus, Android, Computers, Tablets, eReaders, Mobile Phones.
In order to be nominated to the Kicking World All-America Team, students must have attended at least (2) private lesson training sessions and/or (2) training camps with Kicking World in the last 18 months and have ‘proof’ of all in-game statistics accompanied by video. All students selected to the 2012 Kicking World All-America Team have been personally evaluated in-person by Coach Brent and the Kicking World staff. We have established a detailed process to select the All-America team which includes the following criteria, listed in order of weight:
We literally have spent weeks going through the nominations and it’s been a very difficult process in having to eliminate many outstanding kickers and punters. We have reviewed hundreds of e-mails, videos, statistics, newspapers, websites & more to narrow the selection process even further. We kept the honors exclusive to the absolute best kickers and punters of 2012 that we personally have seen and coached. All the students selected to our team are in the upper echelon of several, if not all of the above mentioned criteria. Being selected is by no means a popularity contest or built around favoritism. Being selected to our team shows we acknowledge these students as being outstanding specialists in 2012.
To those who did not make the list, it does not mean you are a bad kicker or punter! Realize this was tough on us and we hate to not be able to honor everyone. There are so many awesome kickers and punters we’ve had the pleasure to train this year. Just remember, keep working hard and make yourself eligible for next year! We hope to see you in 2013.
What It Means
Being a Kicking World All-America kicker or punter is not like any other All-Conference, All-League, All-America, etc. team. To be nominated means you are the best of the best specialists across the entire country. We had many submissions from our own coaches and students, parents, and their team’s coaches and only the very top have made the cut. Congratulations to all our 2012 Kicking World All-Americans!
2012 KICKING WORLD HS ALL-AMERICA TEAM
|Matthew McCrane||Brownwood HS||Texas||Sr.||Kansas State|
|Chris Gulla||Toms River HS North||New Jersey||Sr.||Penn State|
|Michael Sims||Westview HS||California||Sr.||undecided|
|Tyler Ramel||Franklin HS||California||Sr.||undecided|
|Jason Hull||Sharyland HS||Texas||Sr.||undecided|
|Kevin Marcotte||Lake Travis HS||Texas||Sr.||undecided|
|Donald Jackson||Woodbridge HS||California||Sr.||undecided|
|Tavis Guerra||La Serna HS||California||Sr.||undecided|
|Zane Wasp||Chaminade HS||New York||Sr.||undecided|
|Peter Yoder||Cistercian Prep||Texas||Sr.||undecided|
|John Coleman||Sparta HS||New Jersey||Jr.||undecided|
|Chris Gulla||Toms River HS North||New Jersey||Sr.||Penn State|
|Blake Levin||Central HS||Wyoming||Sr.||undecided|
|D.J. Helkowski||Fauquier HS||Virginia||Jr.||undecided|
|Oliver Graybar||Reno HS||Nevada||Jr.||undecided|
Kickers: Blake Levin (Sr.) Central HS, Wyoming. Ryan Morris (Sr.) Liberty HS, Virginia. Tanner Martin (Jr.) Lee’s Summit West HS, Missouri. Ronny Vega (Sr.) Eastern Hills HS, Texas. Jared Haynes (Soph.) Hutto HS, Texas. Cooper Garcia (Soph.) Nordhoff HS, California.
Punters:Matt French (Jr.) St. Dominic Savio Catholic HS, Texas.
2012 KICKING WORLD COLLEGE ALL-AMERICA TEAM
|Jeff Sauer||University of Chicago||Illinois||Sr.|
|Jon Halliday||Palomar College||California||Soph.|
|Jeff Sauer||University of Chicago||Illinois||Sr.|
Kickers: Chance Marden, San Diego State
Kicking World (www.kickingworld.com) is the leading football kicking, punting & snapping instruction provider in the world. Coach Brent Grablachoff and his staff provide year-round private instruction in Southern California, Austin & Dallas, TX and Toms River, NJ. Kicking World holds over 25 national kicking camps in dozens of states annually. Their clients include hundreds of students from all levels including Professional, Collegiate, High School, and Youth from various geographic locations across the world. Kicking World is the source for expert, personalized kicking instruction with noticeable results. Visit www.kickingworld.com for more information.
Today I had the pleasure of interviewing one of my long time students and fellow Jersey Shore (no, not the TV show) native, Chris Gulla. Chris is a Class of 2013 Kicker/Punter from Toms River High School North in Toms River, NJ. Chris Gulla committed to Penn State University today!
Chris started training with me the summer before he entered 9th grade. Being from the same neighborhood, we hit it off. Over the course of 4 years training together, Chris was able to master his kicking and punting skills and become a weapon for Coach Chip LaBarca Jr. (Head Football Coach & PSU Alum) and the Toms River North Mariners.
At the age of 14, four years ago, Chris turned heads with an impressive camp performance and YouTube Video where he kicked 55 yard field goals with only 1-step! After that camp, I think Chris, his Dad, and I knew that one day he would be making his commitment to a top school in the country. In the playoffs of Chris’s freshman year, he got his first start on Varsity and held the starting position for the remainder of his career at Toms River North!
While I don’t live in New Jersey anymore, (based in San Diego, CA), I still get to come back ‘home’ 4+ times a year for camps, private lessons, and to visit my family. Chris and I trained whenever I was in NJ and we also did ‘virtual private lessons’ via Skype, online video review, and e-mail. Chris and I would link up a couple times a year to keep his form sharp. We’d also work together on blasting out e-mails and phone calls to college coaches & recruiting coordinators to help garner their interest and begin the ‘recruiting process’.
My father works out at the same gym Chris goes to and he would often send me updates about how hard Chris was working in the gym. If you didn’t know Chris was ‘just a kicker’ you would seriously think he’s a WWE superstar (come on, look at those biceps!). Chris trained relentlessly year-round and all his hard work, drive, and commitment to be the best surely paid off today! It’s been my pleasure to have had the opportunity to coach Chris Gulla and see him grow into one of the best kickers in the country.
Without further ado, I give you ‘the interview’ of Christopher Gulla, 2012 Asbury Park Press 1’st Team All-Shore Kicker, 2012 Kicking World All-American Kicker, and most importantly, Pennsylvania State University’s newest football commit!
Q. How did you get into kicking?
A. I started playing soccer at a young age and always had a strong leg. I originally was trying out as a Quarterback by freshman year but had an elbow injury from baseball. I asked the coaches if they would give me a chance to kick and the rest as they say is history.
Q. Tell me about your fondest HS Football memory
A. Kicking the winning field goal against Southern Regional my senior year. (Watch Chris’s game-winning 45 yard game winning field goal)
Q. What other sports have you played in HS?
A. I was a pitcher in baseball and a goalie in lacrosse.
Q. What’s your favorite school subject? Least favorite?
A. Least: definitely Biology! Favorite: US Government.
Q. Tell me about the recruiting process… How did it all get started and when did it get more serious?
A. I started to get my name out there with the YouTube videos, sending emails to coaches, making phone calls, etc. It started getting serious going into my junior year. I received interest from several schools around the country and had official visits with UMass and Penn State.
Q. Was there any one event or game that helped blow up the recruiting process for you?
A. I had a very good 2012 summer college camp at Penn State and that put me ‘on the board’ at several major schools. The game-winning kick early in the season didn’t hurt either!
Q. What ultimately led you to commit to Penn State? What other schools were in the running?
A. I have wanted to play for Penn State since as early as I can remember! The weight room, indoor practice field, and coaches are the best in the country. The education and Alumni network is excellent. Last week I met with Coach O’Brien and he made it clear that I would be given a fair shot at earning a starting spot as a freshman. Also, being able to play at a Big 10 school in front of a large crowd is very appealing!
Other schools I was considering:
Q. Do you have any ‘tips’ for other high school football players who strive to play at the next level?
A. Get your grades up. Take prep courses for the SATs & ACTs. Hit the weight room to add muscle and core strength. Work on stretching and muscle memory drills. Get a good private kicking coach. Video tape your kicks to learn from them and also get your name out there.
The recruiting process is very time consuming and it’s full of highs and lows. It is important to stay focused, never give up, and treat every coach with respect. You just never know who might know who. Carry yourself professionally and always work hard.
Q. What did you learn over the last 4 years of HS?
A. That there are good times and bad times and neither lasts forever. Surround yourself with positive people.
Q. Is there any person(s) in your life who has had a major impact on your football or personal life?
A. My parents and my extended family.
Q. What is your favorite meal?
A. My mom’s Chicken Parm!
Q. What does being a ‘local’ mean to you?
A. Being a ‘local’ at the Jersey shore means hanging out at the beach and surfing.
Q. What’s your take on ‘fist pumping’?
A. The tourists always do help pay the bills.
Q. What’s the future plans for your hair?
A. Only time will tell.
Q. Favorite NFL team?
A. NY GIANTS
Q. Favorite NFL Kicker?
A. Justin Tucker
Q. Do you have a favorite motto or belief you hold true to your heart?
A. Nothing is worth doing unless you do it 100%
Q. How will you be successful over the next 4+ years at Penn State?
A. Having to manage conditioning, practice, and a full class load ˗˗ I’ll need to stay organized and focused.
Q. What are you most looking forward to in college?
A. Playing BIG 10 football in Beaver Stadium in front of 100,000+ of the best fans in college football! (Beaver Stadium is the 2nd largest stadium (106,572 seating capacity) in the United States (Michigan: 109,901) and 4th largest in the world!)
2012 Awards, Accolades & Rankings
2011 Awards, Accolades & Rankings
From a former (‘99) All-Shore Kicker to the newest kicker to be honored into the All-Shore club, I wish Chris Gulla a tremendous experience at Penn State University filled with fun, friendships, memories, and success in football and in life. I’m very proud of you Chris! Happy Valley will have a weapon for the next 4 years! ‘We Are’, ______ _______!
Interview by Coach Brent Grablachoff, Owner & Head Coach of Kicking World. This is an interview conducted on December 18, 2012 between Coach Brent and future Penn State University Kicker/Punter Chris Gulla from Toms River, NJ.
Today I had the terrific opportunity of sitting down with Texas native and newly committed Kansas State Kicker Matthew McCrane (Class of 2013 kicker at Brownwood HS in Brownwood, TX). I received a text last night confirming Matthew McCrane committed to Kansas State and I am so excited for him! I’ve known Matt since 2011 where he attended my Dallas Kicking Camp and immediately made a Texas sized impression on the staff. He had the biggest leg at camp and kicked super long field goals and kickoffs and ultimately won the ‘Golden Boot Award’ as the most accurate placekicker at camp. Not only is Matthew’s athleticism impressive, even more so his humility, maturity and strong conviction in his faith. I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did!
Kansas State University has had one of the hottest football programs in the country this year. K State football absolutely dominated through 10 games this year scoring an average of 46.8 points per game! In week 10, Kansas State suffered an upset loss against Baylor in Waco, TX. Even after being ranked #1 in the country, the upset loss toppled their opportunity for a BCS Bowl bid. K State finished up the season strong by beating Texas to close out the 2012 football season with an impressive 11-1 record and a Fiesta bowl appearance vs. Oregon on January 3, 2013.
INTERVIEW WITH MATTHEW MCCRANE
Meet Matt McCrane, K-State’s Kicker commit from Brownwood, TX
Q. How did you get into kicking?
A. In leading up to high school, my dream was to be a Quarterback. I had spent countless hours at camps, with coaches, and learning the techniques of being a QB. In my freshman year of High School, I was moved up to JV, and I traveled with Varsity. I was so excited to finally be a part of one of the best traditions in the state of Texas; HS Football & Friday Night Lights. It was a dream come true! (Kicking had never crossed my mind yet at this point). My sophomore year (2010) came and we had a senior QB, as well as a backup, so me becoming the starting Varsity QB wasn’t going to happen anytime soon.
Half-way through my sophomore year there was a hole at the Kicker position. I remember Coach Shipley asking, “Can anyone kick?” I raised my hand and went out to kick in my ‘land sharks’ (a high top football cleat). It had been raining the day before and the ground was wet and as I approached the kick, I fell flat on the ground (LOL)!
I had played soccer for a while, so I kicked a football the same way. However, I later learned after watching NFL games and getting good instruction, just how to kick a football the right way. I went out and kicked every day after practice- borrowing balls from the coaches, and working on my craft. Heading into the state playoffs my sophomore year (2010), I was booming kickoffs and Coach Shipley asked me to take over. This was the ‘memorable’ 2010 season as everyone here recalls it. We made it to the 3A State Semi-Final game where we lost to 3x defending champion, Carthage HS. It came down to the last play of the game and it was a heart break. I remember every second of that game.
After the season ended, I continued practicing my kicking and attended the Kicking World Dallas Camp. Things shot up quickly from there!
Q. Everyone knows Football is BIG in Texas. Tell us about your fondest memories growing up and later as you played football for Brownwood HS.
A. If you aren’t from Texas, or have never been to a game here in Texas you can’t really fathom how big it really is! The movie, “Friday Night Lights” is a perfect example of Texas High School Football. Plainly, It’s Life. Growing up, I remember the smoke coming out of the tunnel, the music, and the crowd. The ultimate goal was to be a Brownwood Lion!
Q. How did you first start getting recruited by colleges? How did the process develop and when did it start getting more serious?
A. My dad and I really worked hard at it after my first season, by sending out highlight videos and stats to all the coaches. We utilized the NCSA network and they really helped to get my name out there. You also sent personal e-mails to your network of college coaches, which certainly helped too. Those two methods got the lines of communication started, but I stayed ‘pro-active’ and followed up with everyone we e-mailed or whoever I knew watched my video. I picked up the phone and called numerous coaches; probably every Division I school you can think of (haha) and remained in contact and stayed relentless. Hitting the 52 yard field goal in the playoffs my junior year got a lot of coach’s interests and ultimately kick started the recruiting process!
Q. Talk to me about “the call” from K-State and how it all happened. When you made your commitment to K State where did it happen and what was it like for you and those around you?
A. One week before I received “the call” I was in Manhattan, KS for the final regular season game for K-State vs. Texas. Coach Snyder told me to be patient as they were going to have a staff meeting the following week. Throughout that week I stayed in contact and was anxious, nervous, excited, and hoping and praying! Coach Snyder told me that he would get back with me following the Heisman Presentation.
On Sunday Coach Snyder called me and told me that they would extend a full offer if I would start in the Spring semester (I’m graduating early). I told him that I was very excited and honored to have this opportunity, but I wanted to discuss it with my parents before I committed. After talking it over with folks, at about 7:00pm Texas Time I called him and formally announced my commitment to Kansas State! Yes, go Wildcats! Coach invited me up for and official visit this weekend and I’m looking forward to it.
Shortly after, I called 247sports.com, ESPN, and Rivals.com (all of whom have been calling me and asking if I’ve made my decision yet). Within minutes, my cell phone buzzed nonstop for the next 2 hours with countless texts, e-mails, Twitter Posts, Facebook messages, etc. The last 24 hours have been unbelievable!
Q. What ultimately led you to commit to Kansas State University? Also, what other schools were in the mix?
A. I chose K-State because:
Other schools I was considering:
Q. Do you have any ‘tips’ for other HS football players who are wondering what they could do to further increase their chances of playing college football and earning a football scholarship?
A. Don’t expect a scholarship. I feel that I got lucky, and I happened to be in the right place at the right time. But, you have to be proactive. I know it’s cliché, but it’s true. I called hundreds of coaches- all divisions starting my junior year. I did that on my own. In order to be successful, you have to want it, and do whatever it takes to achieve it; and I did.
Q. Is there any person in your life who has influenced you throughout your athletic career, in life or someone you aspired to be like or learn from?
A. Tim Tebow. I don’t know if you have read his book, but I encourage everyone to. He is, if not, the best role model for aspiring athletes today in my opinion. If there is anyone that I would want to meet in life; it is Tim Tebow. Regardless of whether or not he starts at QB or any position, he is someone that I aspire to be like.
Q. Being a fellow Christian, and getting to know you over the years, I know how important faith is to you. Tell me about your core beliefs and how your faith in God has helped you not only with your success on the football field but also in your daily walk of life.
A. One thing I’ve learned is that there are some things you can’t control. What you can control is your attitude, your effort, and your focus every day. And that’s what I try to focus on. I am very strong in my faith as a Christian, and that has helped guide me along the way.
Q. What is your favorite restaurant in Texas?
A. Humphrey Pete’s, in Brownwood/Early, TX.
Q. What is your favorite beverage?
A. The ‘Blue Lagoon’ at Triple T Grill in Brownwood, TX. Best drink there is! It’s made up of Coconut Juice, Cherry Juice, Sprite and Cream.
Q. What do you like the best at Underwood’s Bar-B-Q? (Underwood’s Cafeteria is a delicious little joint in Brownwood that I’ve had the pleasure of eating before!).
A. Here’s my meal:
Q. Have you ever worn Cowboy Boots? (LOL)
A. No, haha!
Q. Favorite sport besides football?
Q. Favorite NFL team?
A. I’ll always be a Cowboy fan.
Q. Who’s your favorite NFL Kicker?
A. Justin Tucker, Baltimore Ravens – He’s got ‘ice in his veins!’
Q. What is your favorite Bible verse?
A. Colossians 3:23-24
Q. How will you be a successful kicker at K-State and help the team over the next 4 years?
A. In order to be a successful kicker, I have to block everything out. Not just on the field, but in class, around town, etc. I have to keep a level head at all times.
Q. What are you most looking forward to in college?
A. The Big XII atmosphere and playing in different stadiums!
2013 All-American Bowl Games
2012 Awards, Accolades & Rankings (as of the time of our interview)
2011 Awards & Accolades
Matthew McCrane has accumulated quite an impressive resume for only getting into kicking mid-way through his sophomore year of High School. He kicked a game winning 52 yard field goal as a junior in the state playoffs during his 2011 football season and was honored as an All-State kicker in 2011. In 2012 he not only kicked, but punted and played Wide Receiver! He’s as versatile as they come and K-State should have a very athletic kicker for the next 4 years! We all wish you much success at K-State Matt McCrane!
This is an interview conducted on December 10, 2012 between Coach Brent Grablachoff, Owner & Head Coach of Kicking World and future Kansas State Kicker Matthew McCrane from Brownwood, TX.
Written by Coach Ian Smetona, Snapping Coach at Kicking World
The trick to a faster snap is… there is no trick! There is no quick fix or one simple solution to improving your snap time. People ask me all the time, “What drills can I do to make my snap times quicker?” While snap time is important, strictly focusing on it in your weekly training regime is somewhat misguided. For instance, a quarterback that wants to improve his arm strength does not go out every day and try to ‘throw the ball harder’. If he did, his arm would be shot in a couple of weeks! Now, what he (or you as a snapper) should be focusing on is becoming a better and more explosive athlete by doing the following:
This would include working out at the gym, weight lifting, plyometrics, and don’t forget a good stretching routine! ‘Explosion’ is a word that I always key on. If you cannot be explosive, then you cannot take the next step as a long snapper. Training hard but also training smart and effectively will help you become a better athlete and gain the explosion that is needed to excel at snapping.
What good is an explosive snap if you cannot be accurate 100% of the time? As we have seen time and time again, an inaccurate snap affects the outcome of the game. It’s why major college programs and NFL teams pay big money to have dedicated position players like kickers, punters and snappers. They may not see much on-field time during the course of a game, but every second they are out there, they are of extreme importance! On several occasions throughout the course of a season, the snap, hold and kick operation can be the difference between a win or loss!
Food for Thought
Proper technique must be consistently evaluated, corrected and implemented if the ideal muscle memory is to be set in place.
I will always preach quality over quantity, along with consistency and focus on the details. You are more valuable as a snapper if you can hit your desired target at a .78 second snap time than being erratic with a .65 second snap time. Coach Brent, I and the staff at Kicking World maintain an intimate setting of small group and 1 on 1 snapping lessons while doing our private instruction. In the end, quality evaluation and consistent practice of your technique is what will set you apart.
Get in Touch
If I can be of help whether it’s evaluating you for your first snapping lesson, picking my brain about a couple snapping questions, or whatever; feel free to contact me anytime. I can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com or by checking out the Snapping Page at www.kickingworld.com
Coach Ian Smetona
Most slumps in any sport or position are mental. Think about it, if you’ve done well all season long or last year, and all of a sudden you are missing your field goals or shanking punts – what has changed? Most likely it’s simply a mental ‘glitch’ or lack of confidence. What could cause such a decline in your performance?
I’m not a fan of excuses at all but sometimes as a kicker there are valid circumstances that can cause a downswing in your game. One major issue I contended with in college was that my holder and snapper got hurt and I went through 2 different snapper/holder combinations during the season. It put me on edge and I lost a lot of confidence in the overall snap, hold and kick operation because we never seemed to be in sync. I got ‘streaky’ and I was definitely in a slump as compared to the year prior. As a kicker though, whether you get a perfect snap and perfect hold, your job is to put the ball through the uprights… no excuses!
Perhaps you’re battling an injury, or you just missed a game winner last week, or your coach lost confidence in you because you shanked 2 PATs in the last game, or something else. Unfortunately sometimes things happen and it’s out of your control and you cannot dwell on things you can’t change nor can you harp on the past.
Focus on things that are under your control, such as how you feel, act, think and carry yourself. Think in the present and what you can do today to get better for tomorrow. Here’s a wonderful poem written by Walter D. Wintle that will help you overcome your slump and make you better in all you do:
If you think you are beaten, you are;
If you think you dare not, you don’t.
If you’d like to win, but think you can’t
It’s almost certain you won’t.
If you think you’ll lose, you’ve lost,
For out of the world we find
Success being with a fellow’s will;
It’s all in the state of mind.
If you think you’re outclassed, you are:
You’ve got to think high to rise.
You’ve got to be sure of yourself before
You can ever win a prize.
Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger or faster man,
But sooner or later the man who wins
Is the one who thinks he can.
- Walter D. Wintle
Thinking is the famous poem written by Walter D. Wintle, a poet who lived in the late 19th and early 20th century. Little to nothing is known about any details of his life. “Thinking” is also known as “The Man Who Thinks He Can”.
If you think you stink, you do. If you think you are a great kicker, you are. Basically the poem reiterates that your performance and self-confidence is mostly based on your feelings and how you carry yourself. If you’re in a slump, it’s time to do a 180 and start immediately with a more positive mindset and outlook in all you do. Think big and Play big. Making this change in your psyche today will help foster your kicking, punting and snapping performance and you and your team will be rewarded for it. Apply Mr. Wintle’s quote to everything you face in life and it will surely help you overcome obstacles small and large.
Coach Brent’s 5 Tips for Getting Through a Slump:
I hope this article helped you learn how to get out of a slump and become a better kicker that can handle obstacles without fear. Now go out there and kick a game winner because You are a Great Kicker!
I get asked a lot about over the counter muscle rubs that will help alleviate aches, pain, soreness, etc. As kickers and punters, you know your body takes a beating, especially in the hip and leg area. Also, if you workout a lot and train heavy in the gym with weights, you may have noticed other areas hurting such as your shoulders and back.
I have tried virtually every product out there from over the counter rubs and balms to doctor prescribed anti-inflammatory drugs. I’ve learned quite a bit over the years from trial and error and I I’d like to share with you what’s worked for me, and maybe it will help you.
This 4 part approach above has provided me significant relief from various aches and pains and even tendinitis symptoms. Penetrex is the best rub I have found and I’ve tried over 10 different kinds. I feel it really gets deep into my joints and muscles and provides a longer term solution versus just masking the pain. It’s even helped me feel better after some major neck and shoulder injuries and even seems to help my knuckles and finger joint which I believe are pre-carpal tunnel from over use (typing) on my computer and mobile phone!
In addition to the creme (which by the way does not stink bad like the rest and is not greasy), I would take 2 Aleve in the morning (it would last me all through school, class or a work day) and into practice or weight training. I would ice the affected area 2 times a night for 20 minutes to help bring down inflammation. I would rub Penetrex (can be bought at Amazon.com) on the injured area once in the morning, once before activity and once at night before sleep for at least 3 consecutive weeks. I would also implement a scaled down version of whatever I was doing that caused injury in the first place.
If your injury is from over-kicking, you should simply kick less or take a few days off. If it’s from working out in the gym, maybe give yourself a couple weeks off from doing ‘shoulders’ or ‘back’ or whatever body part is hurting you. Many people think they can continue their normal routine and just ‘suck it up’ but unfortunately many times that will create a nagging issue that never seems to heal up. There’s no shame in taking a week or two off to properly rest and let you body heal!
Now if you have a one-time flare up, say from over-kicking one day or throwing too many balls as a QB or baseball player, you may need some ‘quick relief’ and more of a ‘masking’ type of solution. I’ve found that Icy Hot is one of the best rubs for that. Man, the stuff wreaks and is so strong but it helps you by masking the pain temporarily to help you get through a practice or game. But I have not found it effective at curing or reducing the issue long term, it just masks it temporarily.
Please do not construe my writing here as an official doctor prescription, because it’s not. I’m simply discussing processes that have worked with me and maybe it will help you too. I believe attacking muscle aches, pains, soreness, etc. from 4 different angles is the best way to neutralize an over-use injury before it gets worse.
If you enjoyed reading this article, please comment below and like and share with your friends!
Taking the proper kickoff steps, consistently and exactly the same way each time before starting your approach is one of the most critical aspects of a successful kickoff. If you can put yourself in the exact same position going into a kickoff every time, your chances of success will be greatly increased. On the contrary, if you vary your approach (even slightly) for each kickoff by guessing or taking ‘round about’ steps, you can be assured your kickoffs will not be consistent. Do you want to increase your kickoff distance & accuracy and maximize your kickoff efficiency? Well, read on because I tell you about one simple thing to start doing today that will improve your kickoffs.
Most good kickers know that in order to hit a ‘pure’ field goal with good distance, height and accuracy it is paramount to be in the same position for each kick. Well how does one get in the same position each time? Simple, you take the same exact steps and stick with a process that is easily duplicated over and over again. For field goals, I rarely see kickers screw this up, but for kickoffs for some reason several kickers out there tend to think they can just take round about steps and get a good kickoff off every time. Well that is NOT the case!
In taking your kickoff steps away from the ball, you need to walk just as you do on your field goals (walking back facing the ball/target) to make absolute certain you are walking in a straight line off of your target and so that you end up in the same exact spot each time. You may ask, ‘Coach, what’s wrong with walking facing away from the ball on my kickoffs?’ Here’s why this is bad… If you walk facing away from your ball on kickoffs, without an aiming point in front of you, you tend to ‘drift’ on your steps. There’s a natural tendency for anyone to favor one leg over the other and as you walk and subconsciously you start drifting without realizing it. These few inch variations for each kick can absolutely kill your setup which in turn will ultimately provide varying results on the actual kickoff which can crush your consistency.
Let me go a little further with this. You may be scratching your head and thinking ‘Coach, I see NFL Kickers walking their kickoff steps with their back to the ball all the time, why don’t I just do it like they do?’ Well this is certainly a valid argument – If an NFL kicker does it, why shouldn’t I? Let me explain to you why this is bad for any Youth, HS or College kicker. In the NFL, every field is painted exactly the same and they employ groundskeepers for each field that uphold high standards set forth by the league to make sure all fields markings are consistent and exact. This as you can probably guess is not always the case on your youth league’s football field, or local high school or sometimes even smaller colleges (again these are variables that NFL kickers do not contend with).
Furthermore, an NFL field has hash marks which are extremely close in comparison to a High School or College field. With this said, most NFL kickers who opt to walk their steps back facing away from the ball typically set up their ball on one of the hash marks. By doing this, regardless if they walk backward facing the ball or walk forward away from the ball, they will have a visual cue and alignment check by using the hash marks to ensure their steps are straight.
Going even further with this, say you want to walk facing away from the ball, and you are not instructed to do a ‘deep center’ kickoff, straight down the field (such as the case for an angled kickoff to the numbers, or in between numbers/sideline like most HS coaches like), walking facing away from the ball is even worse in this situation. Your chance of ‘drift’ is going to be greatly increased as you have no alignment check. In this situation, if you were to kick 5 balls in a row, I can almost guarantee you that in at least 2 of those 5 attempts, your steps would not be the same.
Keywords in this Article:
The objective of my ‘How To Take Proper Kickoff Steps Before Kicking a Ball’ article is to help demystify the confusion many students have about HOW TO take kickoff steps. If you get anything from this article, I hope it provides you logic and supporting documentation that taking your kickoff steps walking forward facing away from your target is quite frankly; stupid to do. Yes, I said it! Please, start taking your kickoff steps by walking backward while you are facing your target/tee/ball and utilize your alignment check which should be your tee or ball aimed toward your target (place you want to land the ball). You should also do this for field goals.
While this was certainly a long article, realize this is just one segment of the kickoff. There’s many more questions to be answered and instruction to be provided on kickoffs such as:
I go into great details on kickoffs and a whole lot more in our private lessons, camps and of course my eBook and instructional kicking DVD ‘Complete Guide to Kicking’ which is a 2-Disc kicking video with over 2 hours of instruction on field goals, kickoffs, onside kicks, drills, gym training, stretches, mental game and a whole lot more! Find out more about Kicking World and what we do for hundreds of kicking, punting and snapping students across the country every year by visiting our main website at www.KickingWorld.com. Thanks for reading and have a great football season!
As many of you know, my book the ‘Complete Guide to Kicking & Punting’ published in 2008 has been a major success. Well, I received so many e-mails and contact over the last few years from coaches, parents and students asking ‘Coach Brent, when are you going to put out a DVD?!’ Well guess what? It is here! The ‘Complete Guide to Kicking‘ DVD is now available! In this 2-Disc DVD Set I teach you everything you need to know to improve and dominate in field goal kicking, kickoffs and onside kicks. I reveal secrets I’ve learned over the last 10+ years of coaching kickers and punters.
Many will ask ’Coach Brent, why are you giving away all this information, aren’t you sharing your secrets?’ Well, yes I certainly am giving away a TON of info in this football kicking video but I know that after you watch my kicking videos you will want to train with me for kicking lessons and kicking camps to improve even more. While some may try to copy my teaching style, there’s a reason I’m successful and there’s only one me. My formula works: Personality, Experience, Expertise, Results! Now you too can experience my passion, details-oriented approach and fun learning style for yourself!
This kicking video is by far the best instructional kicking video available today. My Kicking DVD is loaded with over 2 hours of kicking instruction spanning field goals, kickoffs, onside kicks, kicking drills, in-gym workouts, stretches, the mental game, equipment discussion and a whole lot more! My kicking video is not only great for students, but equally beneficial for parents and coaches!
I created the Kicking DVD so that I can reach more students across the world with quality kicking instruction. I receive e-mails all the time from specialists across the world who have seen our YouTube Videos and want to train with me but they may be prohibited my geographic location, cost, etc. Well the Complete Guide to Kicking will allow anyone to get several lessons worth of instruction with me packed into 2 DVDs that you can watch on your computer, on your TV; anywhere. This is truly the first ‘Complete’ Kicking Video available. No areas of the kicking game have been overlooked and you will surely learn a ton of new information in this first-class kicking video.
Whether you’re a youth kicker, HS kicker, college kicker or seasoned professional kicker, the Complete Guide to Kicking DVD will transform your kicking game and take your fundamental, technical, physical and mental skills to a whole new level! If you’re ready to be the best kicker you can, Purchase my kicking video today!
The 5 Most Common Kicking Injuries and How to Prevent, Recognize & Heal!
#1 Hip Flexor
Let me preface this series of articles by saying I am NOT a Doctor and the following information does not in any way constitute a recommendation or advice by me for your individual and specific situation. This article is for informational purposes only and is based solely on my experience as a former All-American collegiate kicker turned professional kicking coach with over 9 years of coaching experience. If you have an injury that persists and is not improving, you should speak with your trainer, visit a physical therapist and quite possibly even a doctor for further consultation, proper diagnosis and recommended solution.
I hope the following information on the 5 most common kicking injuries helps you. As always feel free to drop me an e-mail or check out our website www.kickingworld.com and all our other sites like YouTube, Facebook and this Blog for everything football kicking and punting.
#1 Hip Flexor (Strain/Pull/Tear)
The Hip Flexors are a group of muscles that help flex the femur (thigh bone) onto the lumbo-pelvic complex, i.e. pull the knee upward. (Wikipedia). The Hip Flexors are triggered every time you kick or punt a ball whether football, soccer, rugby, etc.
Collectively known as the iliopsoas or inner hip muscles:
In my opinion, the Hip Flexor is the easiest muscle area to injure as a place kicker and also the most common injury for kickers that I hear about and see throughout the year either from my students or from reports on ESPN, NFL Network, etc. Ironically enough, it’s not only kickers who injure their hip flexors. Some recent ‘famous’ professional athletes who suffered serious hip flexor injuries are as follows:
As you can see, various sports are represented here. This goes to show just how common of an injury it is! So how do you injure your hip flexor and what are some signs of having an issue?
In my calculations, these are the 3 most likely ways other than a direct blow to a specific spot on your hip that you can trigger a hip flexor injury.
If you experience any of these symptoms for a prolonged time and following the R.I.C.E. principle (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) does not resolve your pain and discomfort seek a professional’s opinion ASAP:
Q. What is an NAISD, is that a steroid?!
A. No No! An NAISD is a fancy for Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug, which simply put, works to combat the inflammation along with your rest and ice methods.
I was taking 2 Aleve, 2 times a day for example and it certainly helped to alleviate my mild pain and help get me through the day while I was trying to recover from my hip injury.
BEST CASE SCENARIO
After some rest and proper rehab of your injury, you recover to regain most or all of your strength and you’re back on the field normal! (This is usually more likely with injuries that are recognized and address quickly).
WORST CASE SCENARIO
You may have to have surgery to correct the issue and possibly have 4-6 months or more of down time during recovery after surgery. I had to have surgery because my issue was not caught right away and all the while I just thought I was sore from kicking and it was normal to have that pain every day in my hip; but it is NOT normal.
If I would’ve caught mine earlier on I probably could have saved myself from surgery and you can too if you are diligent about your practice routine and pay attention to any change in your physical health! As soon as you recognize a persistent pain that doesn’t seem to get better after a couple days, please go tell your trainer right away and work through the levels (1. Trainer, 2. Therapist, 3. Doctor/Specialist) that we discussed earlier!
My Hip Surgery Story
I tore several areas within my hip flexor. The injury was caused due to overuse and kicking too many balls too often. I am now a firm believer in a specific practice routine with careful monitoring of how many balls are kicked in each session. I ensure that at all camps and private lessons we do everything we can to prevent this from happening to any of our students. The technical name of the injury I had was “acetabular labral tear” in which my only 2 solutions were to 1. Just deal with the pain the rest of my life or 2. Consent to arthroscopic surgery in my hip.
It sounds pretty gross but what they had to do was literally ‘pull out’ my leg from the hip joint and then go in and ‘clean’ up the labrum and smooth it out so that there was more room for the leg to swing around the ball. Think of it as everything was too ‘tight’ in there and every time I kicked, the bone would rub on the hip joint and put undue pressure on that injured area and it HURT like crazy!
I knew something ‘was up’ because I would be sore/tired after kicking only 20 balls. My leg would feel ‘swollen’ and inflamed after every kicking session. I seemed to constantly need to ice and take anti-inflammatory medicines to manage the pain/inflammation, but it never got better!
Finally, I called around and found Kevin Rausch, a renown Sports-Minded Physical Therapist based in Laguna Niguel, CA. I worked with him 3x a week and he helped me get a lot stronger, but after it was all said and done, I still needed surgery because the damage was irreversible.
I had the surgery and I was on crutches for about 2 weeks! It was awful because I couldn’t do anything on my own and I was rather immobile for a few days and totally ‘out of it’ after surgery! Fortunately, I got hooked back up with Kevin right after surgery and we followed a strict rehabilitation plan for a few weeks which later turned into more intense sports training and eventually he nursed me back to ‘almost’ full strength. I say almost, because after injuries I feel your body most of the time can never get quite back to how strong you originally were (although sometimes, people heal up stronger than before!).
The long story short I used to be able to kick upwards of 65 yard field goals on a good day but now after the injury and being out of kicking and exclusively into coaching I have a tough time going back outside of 50 yards (haha). What’s the moral of the story? Let’s make sure you don’t over kick and use this experience as a lesson to help you!
This concludes our 5 part series on The 5 Most Common Kicking Injuries. I hope you enjoyed it! To see all 5 parts of this series search by Tag “Kicking Injuries”.
Kevin Rausch of Rausch Physical Therapy & Sports Performance provides rehabilitation to athletes and active patients to treat overuse injuries, rehab from surgery and help to prevent future injuries by treating and managing their overall health. His practice is based in Laguna Niguel, CA.
Warren G. Kramer III, MD. of Kramer Orthopedics is an Orthopedic Surgeon specializing in Arthroscopy, Shoulder, Hip and Knee Specialist. (He performed surgery on my hip) and is based in Newport Beach, CA.
Coach Brent Grablachoff is a Professional Kicking Coach and Owner of Kicking World who trains youth, high school, college and professional football kickers and punters. He travels the country providing performance kicking camps in several states and offers year-round private instruction in San Diego and Orange County, CA.