The Punt Kick – Delivering the
Why is Buddy Franklin’s kicking style so effective you might
ask when other players appear to choke at the crucial moment
perhaps only 30 metres out from goal?
Part of the answer lies in the accompanying photograph which
demonstrates all too clearly the way an elite player delivers
that final ‘Oomph’ to the ball. While not possessing a significant
muscle bulk Buddy seems to bring to bear a particular summation
of forces an instant before impact. That summation is delivered
by using his body mass in the most effective way, thereby the
principle of ‘effective mass’ (see ‘The Science of Kicking’,
We have all known players who appear to kick a ball with great
rhythm and timing and yet the ball does not seem to travel as
far as it should. In the same way, we have been witness to players
of small stature who kick the ball ‘a country mile’. All of these
players may demonstrate high leg speed just before impact, but
just before or during the impact phase, something seems to go
The ‘effective mass’ principle emphasizes bracing the lower leg
and ankle of the kicking leg just prior to impact, ensuring that
the foot overcomes, and dominates the ball. Tennis players use
a similar strategy, grunting audibly just prior to ball contact.
It serves to remind them to brace the arm and shoulder just before
impact with the ball. Elite rugby union footballers such as Israel
Dagg of the New Zealand ‘All Blacks’, when performing a ‘full-blooded’
kick for distance, clenches his hands and forearms just before
impact. This is an attempt to pass the tension message to the
lower leg and ankle, and to ensure it is not forgotten.
One notes the setting of the jaw confirmed in the photograph
by the powerfully contracting PLATYSMA visible at the side of
the neck. Note also the tension in the extension compartment
of his forearm with fingers splayed and the hunched posture under
the influence of his powerful abdominals; the set of his quadriceps
in the right thigh. It is a tension which is positive to the
kick and not as it may appear, debilitating.
The ball set and drop is perfection, and the ‘V’ of the kicking
leg has just been released as the knee of the kicking leg reaches
then passes the support leg in a flowing motion which is only
then capped with an instantaneous summation of all core muscles
an instant before impact. His ‘effective mass’ has been accessed
then delivered without affecting the fluidity of preceding segments.
Enjoy the ‘off’ season, concentrate on your core musculature
and be in prime condition for 2012.