Two Steps Mean Less Is More
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.
When working with kickers and punters, I always stress the importance of being as efficient as possible and limiting the room for error. If our foundation is off, a whole host of things can go wrong from there.
Most high school, college, and professional kickers have either a 2-Step approach, or a 2-Step approach with a jab-step. Although there is nothing wrong with having the jab-step, it really becomes an extra variable in our approach to the ball.
As long the kicker is: Attacking his plant foot with his jab, & 2. Not covering more than a foot with the jab; I’m ok with it. What the 2-Step approach allows you do to, is be more efficient to the ball.
There are many other benefits as well. For one, you are closer to the ball. It also helps keep your legs “under” you easier which is where your power comes from. Another benefit is that it buys you a split second of time in your approach, which allows you to see the ball better. The last thing that I’ve found the 2-Step approach helps with, is controlling your tempo to the ball.
Many kickers have a tendency of going slow into their jab-step, and then quickly speeding up into the last 2 steps of their approach. That can cause kickers to be inconsistent. We want to have a nice, smooth tempo throughout our approach to the ball. This improves our chances of making great contact with the ball.
When making the transition to a 2-Step approach, kickers will feel like they don’t have as much power right away because you don’t have that extra momentum heading into the ball. That extra momentum is actually what we’re trying to get rid of. The slower, more controlled tempo will actually help you make better contact with the sweet spot of the ball more consistently, which in the end, will make the ball go further.
You just have to keep working through it. Many times you have to go backwards, before you can start going forwards. If you stick with it, you will like it in the long run & will make more kicks because of it!
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