Quick Placekicking Tip for Youth Football Coaches
A very simple way to improve your placekickers effectiveness is to make sure he is striking the ball in the proper place. Just like a baseball bat or golf club, the football has a “sweet spot” a place in the ball which allows for maximum distance and control.
When placekicking deep, the football’s sweet spot is just above the bottom one third of the ball, opposite the laces. Your kicker will get the best accuracy and distance if he strikes the ball with the laces portion of his shoe and with the “lump” part of the hard bone on the face of his kicking foot, assuming he is a straight on kicker. A simple way to help your kicker with locating this sweet spot is to just mark it with a piece of duct tape on the football, right where you want him to kick it. Now of course you can’t do that in a game but it’s a simple and effective way to teach the proper striking point when you are coaching youth football.
If you’re kicking an onsides kick and your goal is to get large bounces, allowing your defenders an easier recovery, the sweet spot changes. This new sweet spot is just below the top stripe of the ball, opposite the laces. Many kickers have been successful with more of a punch type kick when executing this type of kick. The goal on this kick is to strike the ball with the tips of the toes rather than the face of the foot. Again you can use the duct tape method to help your youth kicker locate the proper striking point.
Make life easier on your players and yourself by using and physically marking landmarks. Don’t assume your players understand what you want them to do with just verbal commands. Using visual aids like a simple striking point piece of duct tape can be a huge help in developing your kickers.
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