Off Season Training for Kickers and Punters

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Question: My son is a kicker and punter for a local high school team. He is in the 10th grade but they have not had a great year and won’t make the playoffs. When the season is over what are some exercises he needs to do to improve his kicking? He already is an excellent kicker but he can be a lot better. His kicking coach says he just needs to continue to get stronger.
Answer: The kicking coach is correct. Obviously, his coach is perfecting your son’s technique but he will need raw, explosive power which can be developed through weight training.
For sports, core strength is essential and the cornerstone of training.
Simple core exercises like deadlifts, power cleans and hang cleans are good exercises to begin a routine. High pulls and swing squats, which can be performed with either dumbbells or kettle bells should be used as well.
Abdominal exercises that involve the hip flexors, such as, hanging knee raises which should evolve to hanging pike raises mimic the body position of punting.
Windshield wipers are great for both strengthening the abs and improving hip rotation with both the double leg and single leg versions.
Romanian deadlifts strengthen and stretch the hamstrings and should be part of the program as well.
Leg extensions and leg curls work well as finishing movements but the core of your son’s leg routine should be squats and occasionally leg presses.
These exercises, especially the squats simply build strength and are essential to athletic success. Considering your son is only in the 10th grade a well rounded workout routine is necessary to build overall, balanced strength.
The final piece of the training puzzle is flexibility. Ray Guy of the 1970’s Oakland Raiders was the epitome of the perfect punter. His punts were legendary and at the finish of his kicks his foot was above his head with his legs almost in a perfect split. Your son should strive to improve his flexibility after every workout when the muscles, tendons and ligaments are warm from training.
With hard work and determination, your son should be able to make this off-season very productive.
God bless and keep training,
Daryl

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