Mid-Season Thoughts…
By FirstDown PlayBook on Oct 13, 2014

PHO-09Aug20-175003By guest blogger Taylor Mehlhaff

When you reach that mid-season point of the season, it is always beneficial to sit back and do an honest evaluation of your performance. Part of my goal when teaching kickers and punters is to share my experiences so that you can learn from them by not making the same mistakes I did; as well as mimic some of the things that helped me to be successful.

Many of you have gotten some opportunities to kick some field goals, while others have not. If you have not, just be patient…your time will come. Don’t let your guard down…meaning don’t stop working hard because you think your team won’t ever attempt a field goal. Make sure you’re prepared and ready to go so that when you’re called on, your team can count on you! For those of you that have gotten some attempts, some have taken advantage of their opportunities and performed well, and others are sitting back wondering what has gone wrong. Everyone wants to know how he or she can turn their season around for the better.

First of all, we have to remember a few things. In high school, it is very difficult for a kicker to put together a great statistical season. In many cases you are playing on a very sub-par football field, you’re lucky if your holder even knows which hand to hold with, and if your snapping situation is anything like mine was in high school, you have a wide receiver snapping the ball. The field goal unit just isn’t quite as sharp as it should be because you don’t spend enough time on perfecting the operation in high school. In college it’s a totally different story. You spend countless hours every single day during training camp making sure the operation is flawless.

Do not get upset if you miss a kick or two during the game. It’s not what happens during the course of the game, but how you respond to it. Everybody misses kicks…even the top kickers in the NFL. If you miss a kick, forget about it. It’s gone and over with…you have to move on to the next one. Trust what you’ve always done and keep your confidence! If you hit a big field goal early in the game, forget about that one too. You have to move on and focus on your next field goal attempt or kickoff. The 42-yard field goal you made in the first quarter will not help you make the 38-yard game winner at the end of the game.

Do not get caught up on your stats and how it will affect your recruiting. If you let this happen, you will put too much added pressure on yourself and you will not perform well at all. It does not matter if you miss a bunch of field goal attempts. Coaches at the next level realize that it’s difficult to put up great stats. Having good high school stats can definitely help you, but not having great stats won’t necessarily hurt you. What is important is to consistently show your leg strength and power on kickoffs. If you hit a couple kickoffs through the uprights on kickoffs, that is what will get people talking about you! The coaches at the next level believe they can take a guy with a strong leg, and develop him into a field goal kicker.

If your season isn’t going as planned, be persistent, keep working hard, and get it turned around!
Good Luck!

Taylor is a former NFL Kicker who was a 2007  first team All-American at the University of Wisconsin. He currently works with the Specialists at the University of Pittsburgh.

FirstDown PlayBook Special Teams is the only mobile application devoted entirely to the Special Teams phase of football.

To learn more, visit TMKicking.com.

You can also download Taylor’s E-book “Kicking For Success”. Available for download on Amazon & Smashwords.com.

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