|| Bulletin 3
Punt kick – The kicking template and the final stride
Welcome to the August edition of the Bulletin Board. It is interesting to observe
in recent weeks the number of elite players who, in taking a
set shot for goal, still do not have a template for success.
It is imperative that players are ‘deadly’ in front of goal with
kicks from around 50 metres but especially with kicks of 20-30
metres. Observations in several recent games indicate that not
only did some players change their technique depending on the
distance of the kick but rushed their preparation and obviously
had no aiming template to follow. This from elite players can
only be put down to poor preparation by kicking coaches and/or
the pressure of the situation getting to the player. It is absolutely
imperative that players DO NOT change their core kicking technique,
or for that matter style, no matter what the distance of the
Sure, with greater distances, players may increase the obliqueness
of their approach or step across technique into a more open
hip position to the ball to ensure greater body and leg
However the additional power generated from such a refinement
of the skill should not change their core kicking template.
So it is with some disbelief that one sees elite players
to goal ignoring this kicking template and attempting to steer
the ball between the posts. Such a change in technique completely
alters the dynamics of the kick and most importantly the players
balance and rhythm.
Failure to convert will be the price to pay for those who take
a more casual approach at distances perceived to be ‘safe’.
Players in this instance often hold back in the mistaken
the energy conserved will somehow assist in accuracy. This
is a fatal mistake! A 30-40 metre punt kick should be approached
with the same patterning and deliberation as a kick from beyond
One of the most critical elements in the patterning of the
kick is the length of the final stride. Note the short stride
Gilbee of the Western Bulldogs and the long stride of Nick
Riewoldt of St Kilda. Riewoldt is clearly kicking for distance.
this case Gilbee was also kicking for distance then he is
The final stride of Riewoldt demonstrates
clearly heel strike
occurring with pronounced dorsiflexion of the foot. In
addition the lower leg angle is at about 45 degrees, with
well in advance of the knee, all characteristics of
a long final
stride. Gilbee, on the other hand, demonstrates a flat-footed
the foot directly under the knee. Clearly the kicking
muscles have not been put on stretch and their contribution
the forward leg swing has been compromised.
A long final stride is designed to ‘prime’ the principal
kicking muscles – in other words to place them on ‘stretch’
that they are ready to deliver an explosive force at the
moment of impact with the ball. The stretched muscle will
more forcefully than a muscle that has not been stretched
and will deliver a more dynamic ‘whip kick’. Furthermore,
alter the timing of the leg swing relative to the descent
rate of the ball after it leaves the hand as well as affecting
balance of the player. Players who alter, or break the
template developed and reinforced over extended practise
are destined to alter many aspects of the kick including
memory’ and a compromised delivery will be the result.