Choosing A Field Goal Block For Your Young Kicker
From time to time we like to go back and re-post articles that have proven to be helpful to our readers.
This is one of those, primarily because although it is very important we have very little knowledge on the subject. Thankfully we have Taylor Mehlaff to help us out!
Taylor Mehlhaff was a 2007 first team All-American Kicker at the University of Wisconsin. He was a sixth round selection by the New Orleans Saints in the 2008 draft. Taylor has previously coached at The University of Tennessee, Pittsburgh and is currently working with the Special Teams at his alma mater.
Many kickers and their coaches are unsure on what tee they should be using and when they should be making the transition to a shorter tee or eventually the ground.
Here are few things to remember. A tee allows you to kick the ball higher and further. Also, a tee often times allows you to make mistakes mechanically with your kicking, and get away with it by still making the kick. Make no mistake about it; using a tee is an advantage!
Here are some of the timelines that I would recommend for making the transition:
If you are a youth kicker, take advantage of the two-inch tee for both field goals and kickoffs. Once you get into high school, the tee you use will depend on your skill level.
Make the transition to the one-inch tee when you feel it is ready to do so. Many times you will see yourself consistently hitting slightly under the sweet spot of the ball, causing it to rotate very quickly. You are losing distance doing this.
That is a good indicator that you are ready for the one inch. If you are already on the one-inch and you are doing the same thing that is an indicator that you are ready to kick field goals off of the ground.
If you have aspirations of playing football in college, it is very important to begin training field goals off of the ground following your junior season of high school at the very latest. The reason for this is that the college coaches want to see you kick off of the ground.
It is imperative that you begin that training early on off of the ground so that it is not foreign when you attend summer kicking camps hosted by colleges and universities. This is the coaches’ opportunity to meet you in person and see you kick live!
During your senior season, you will need to decide on whether you are going to go back to the one-inch tee, or kick off of the ground. Because you want to help your team and put the best possible kicks on film, I would encourage using the field goal tee.
Also, very rarely do you have great field conditions in high school. Take advantage of everything you can! I would recommend using the one-inch kickoff tee as a senior as well. In college and at the pro level you MUST kick field goals off of the ground and kickoffs off of the one-inch tee.
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