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:
- Don’t Overanalyze – Keep your form simple, and consistent
- Watch a Film – Recall that night when you were on fire!
- Pressure – Do last second field goal drills to practice stress
- Just Kick It – Get in a rhythm by knocking through quality kicks
- Focus – Visualize yourself splitting the uprights every time
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!