With the start of football season less than 2 months away (wow!), it’s important for you to ‘put in the work’ and start ramping up your training protocol this summer to ensure you’re ahead of schedule come August when you start formal practices with your team. The worst feeling is showing up to something unprepared and wondering ‘what if’… what if I spent a little more time doing, what if I worked a little harder, what if I took it more seriously…
At our recent college training camp here in Austin, Texas, Coach Mike Cofer (2x Super Bowl winning kicker – SF 49ers – w/ Joe Montana/Jerry Rice/Steve Young) shared some interesting thoughts about what he did when he kicked in the NFL. He said it’s imperative to have a plan for everything you’re doing on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Don’t just wing it.
Having a plan not only for your sports, but academics in school, and later in life in the working world is essential for success. Research has proven that the most successful, wealthiest entrepreneurs & CEOs such as Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, etc. all have their days and weeks planned out to the hour. They have full control over their daily routine, and prioritize their day to stay as efficient as possible. You can follow their lead in your own training protocol. Don’t leave it to chance!
Rehab, Injury Prevention, and Muscle strengthening tips
During the classroom session, Coach Mike was adamant about in-pool workouts. He said during his time with the 49ers, he would hit the pool for over an hour a day, 3x a week. While a lot of the players used the pool for rehabilitation from ankle injuries, etc., Mike used it as a way to strengthen his body and help prevent injuries from creeping up on him. Pool workouts are also a tremendous way to build leg speed, strength & balance. Coach Brent has experience with this as he tore his hip flexor shortly after college. See article 5 most common kicking injuries and how to prevent, recognize & heal.
When I (Coach Brent) was rehabbing from arthroscopic hip surgery, I spent 3 days a week, 45 minutes each session for over 2 months in the pool. Below are some of the exercises I did. The deep end exercises and leg resistance movements require an aqua foam product (linked below), or some sort of pool noodle.
- Abductors/Adductors – fast in/out motion
- Seated on edge of pool with knee to feet submerged – quickly open and close (clam) your knees together
- Standing leg swings (dry kicks) in shallow end, multi-directional – work on using hips & stomach
- Fast sprints in shallow end – water waist height, pump the arms and legs – also good for running backs
- Running motion in deep end (head above water w/ aqua belt) – feet are suspended above pool floor
- Scissors in deep end
- Keep a straight spine, head above water (hold onto a foam noodle or similar pool float) or use the aqua belt, and alternate your legs (straight) in a kicking motion. For added resistance, use aqua jogger ankle cuffs.
There are a ton of other exercises you can do in the pool. Get creative and have fun with it! Check out Coach Brent’s specifically recommended aqua products on Amazon.
Especially with ‘rookie’ kickers, but even intermediate/advanced students who have been training for years, we see balance/stability issues. There are several drills you can do to help offset your weak balance, and improve core strength while gaining more control over your kicks and body’s motion. Better balance usually equates to a more pronounced follow-through, and more power at impact.
Static pose – 3 positions, back swing, contact, follow-through
Swing path – Slow and controlled… from contact to backswing, to follow-through, and repeat. The key on these is to not stop/reset after each one. The swing should have a nice smooth tempo, and continue back and through for sets of 5 each, or even better 10, without stopping. You’ll notice a tremendous load on your plant ankle as it twitches, turns, and feels tired after only a few. You should also feel a slight strain on the abductor (outside of hip/butt) muscles of your plant leg. Strengthening your plant leg/foot is a commonly overlooked aspect of most rookie kickers. NFL Veterans know the importance of balance and equalizing their strength across both plant and kicking leg side.
Foam Balance Pad
Same concept as the Bosu Ball, but a bit less extreme. A foam balance pad is a tremendous way for a kicker or punter to bounce back from a knee or ankle injury. It’s less strenuous than a bosu ball, but still challenges your ankle, shins, knee, quad/hamstrings, hips, and pretty much everything! Your core (abs, hips, butt) will certainly feel a nice burn. The foam balance pad may be better for a rookie kicker under 10 years old as it’s a bit easier to do. Likewise, it may be better for anyone recovering from injury. The bosu ball should be a staple in your weekly workout/training regime, no matter what season it is. Check out our YouTube page for a lot of free kicking videos.
I recommend you do the Bosu Ball exercises 3x a week, for at least 3 sets of 10-12 for each of the movements mentioned above. Add some of your own tweaks and get creative. Check out my recommended products on our Amazon influencer page which not only has the Bosu Ball, but the brand new ‘smart’ ball pump, best value kicking net, and more.
There is ample time throughout a day to stretch at least 7 times. No excuses! All it takes is 5-8 minutes each time to get a meaningful stretch. You will not only become more flexible, but stretching will help prepare your muscles for athletic movements which can help prevent injuries. Here are some example times of day/night you can stretch:
- Shower in morning
- Before & after gym class
- Before & after football practice
- Shower after practice
- Before dinner
- After homework
- Before bed
Envision your Goals
I’m not saying you need to treat your football/kicking like a business, but being successful as a High School or College athlete requires having goals to strive toward; otherwise, you risk becoming stagnant and/or possibly resting on your laurels. It’s been said that your unconscious mind can help your desires come to fruition. Having these goals written or typed out and hanging in your locker, above your computer desk, or taped on the inside cover of each of your notebooks at school is a terrific reminder. This visual reference will trigger your unconscious mind to help your conscious mind to start bringing your goal completion to reality.
Task list creation is essential for entrepreneurs and really any adult to help stay organized and focus on what is important in their daily life. Each week I type up a hit list of my goals – prioritized by most to least important. Below each main goals are 1-3 sub-tasks or directives that provide specific courses of action I need to take to help complete/achieve the main goal. You can do the same as an athlete.
You can do these out on the field – having a line to work with is ideal. Or if the weather is not cooperating, you may do most of these kicking drills inside in a gym, a garage, or in some space that does not have windows or lamps to break haha.
- Dry Swing Drill
- Leg Swing Drill
- Foot to Ball Impact Drill
- Line Drill
- Punt Drop Drill
- Catch, Steps & Freeze Drill
- Punt Pass Drill
- Drop Alignment Drill
To see these drills in action, and a whole lot more including a step by step in-gym workout, our most recommended stretches, and the process of a successful field goal, kickoff, and punt, check out Coach Brent’s 2-Disc instructional DVDs.