Thursday, April 07, 2011

kick football further

The ability to kick football further requires two main factors, the first is the skill of being being able to kick the ball and the second is the power of the kick. This post will be more beneficial to people playing AFL football or Rugby.

So to kick football further
Learn the skill in how to kick the football
Exercise and stretch muscles involved in kicking football.
Good Practice

Skill in kicking a football
The technique in kicking the football is the most important factor in being able to kick the ball further. Treat this like any other athletic event, like throwing a javelin or shot put. Actual physical ability is important but technique can have significant percentage increase in distance of the football

So training will be focusing in building the skill to kick the ball further with more accuracy

There are many different techniques in kicking a football but the one that is most used now is the drop punt. Best way to learn a drop punt is first looking at how its down through youtube clips and footy coach's advice.

The benefit of youtube is that you can rewind and forward so that you can see every single step in the process. Also good to see how top players kick like Gary Ablett and Daniel Carter.

The kick involves the following components
  1. Approach
  2. Grip and Release of football
  3. Generating foot speed
  4. Role of support leg
  5. Impact
  6. Follow through

Each of the components of the kick needs to be studied and a technique created that is best for the individual. The most important component is impact of football with instep and that can be affected by

  • Foot speed: dependant on flexibility, sequencing and strength
  • Weight hitting ball by stiffening of joints at impact, must be balanced and kick through ball
  • Nature of surfaces: good support leg and contact on taught instep for good energy transfer
  • Ball orientation: floaters or spin and control

Some pointer in kicking a drop punt
  • Practice your leg movements as you kick, without using the ball. Swing your leg and make sure that it is strait. If your leg moves awkwardly, adjust it to move strait so that you get a more accurate kick.
  • Your toe should be pointed where you want the ball to go and you should follow through with your foot at around shoulder height.
  • To kick more accurately you need to make sure you point your toe and lock you're ankle so that you're foot is straight and not in a L shape as the ball will go straight up.
  • Met the sweet spot: About 4inches from the point of the ball.
  • When kicking the ball try not to lift the ball up in the air when you kick as it tends to make the ball more up and under and you loose distance.
  • Find a straight line to practice on, e.g., one side of the centre square. Then keep the ball and the arc of your kicking leg directly above the line and the line will also give you immediate feedback as to how accurate your kick was.

Once the technique is understood well the next is to get the timing of the kick right so the maximum amount of energy is transferred to the sweet spot of the ball. This involves energy is transferred from trunk to pelvis, thigh and leg. To get the timing right takes a lot practice and best way to check if your timing is correct or not is through video of your kicks

I have also read a lot of research on kinematics of a drop punt which is quite hard to understand. The main idea that I got is that timing of each of the different movement is the key to get distance not the speed of each of the movements from in a drop punt.

The way we train here is my son kicks to me five times if his me chest level four out of five times the then moves back a few metres if kicks a shocker he moves forward a few metres. I also check technique if the ball doesn't fly properly it’s counted as a miss. This really focuses training on technique and accuracy but timing.

Exercise and increase power of muscles.
Performing the right exercises can really help increase your leg power. In kicking the ball the energy is transferred from trunk to pelvis, thigh and leg and all these muscles need to exercised and stretched properly.

Form for squatting
The best exercise to improve your leg strength is the squat. You can do squats without weight, with dumbbells, or with a bar. Make sure you keep your legs shoulder-width apart, and your back straight. Squats are a good way to work out most of the muscles in your legs and can really help your kicking power.

The leg press
Next, perform leg presses. Leg presses are similar to the squat in that they work out most muscles in your legs.

Try to work out three times a week, steadily increasing your resistance. Also try to work in consistent running, 2 or 3 times a week. While running, try to sprint some stretches as this really works out your legs.

The most important aspect of learning a new skill is practice and if you want to kick football further you will need a lot of good practice. Not just kicking the football around but understanding good technique and trying to get the correct timing in all the different components of that technique.

But for me the main thing is to have fun trying to improve the distance and accuracy of your kicks.


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