The Punt Kick – A statistical analysis of the set punt kick in the elimination final between Adelaide and Collingwood
The ‘Puntkick’ team has performed a detailed statistical analysis of the set punt kick for goal for all finals games. As the task has yet to be completed, this bulletin will concentrate on some early observations from the preliminary final between Adelaide and Collingwood. At a later stage a complete analysis of all finals games will be presented on the Bulletin Board. Final score was Collingwood 19.11 (125), Adelaide 14.10 (94) and from these totals the number of set punt kicks for goal numbered 27, 17 of which were goals.
Players used the conventional symmetrical grip on the ball for all kicks bar one in which the player (right foot kick) placed the left hand higher than the right. This asymmetrical grip is also considered sound, as the player has to reach further across the body with the left hand. However an asymmetrical grip with the right hand higher than the left has no scientific base and is contraindicated.
An interesting statistic is that of the 27 kicks, 21 were taken from the on side, the side that is most conducive to a successful ball contact and conversion – for a right foot kick it is a kick taken from the left side and vice versa for a left foot kick. It can only be surmised that players are placed in, and favour their preferred side or get themselves into the optimum position for a successful kick.
Of the10 kicks from around 50-55 meters distance, 7 were converted from a variety of angles. Of the 10 kicks from around 30-35 meters distance, only 5 were converted. In addition most of these kicks were from angles fairly straight-on to goals. It may be concluded that the more relaxed mindset of the player when kicking from further out and with less expectation of success may help him to overcome the jitters resulting in greater accuracy. And of course there was the customary miss from 10 meters where a lack of concentration results in the inevitable breakdown of the players kicking template and routine.
A surprising result was that of 10 behinds kicked by right foot kickers from their preferred side of the ground, 9 were pushed out to the right side of goals. Anecdotally, for this condition, it is believed that the majority of kicks will be pulled to the left side of goal due to the bias created by the large adductor muscles of the thigh that tend to pull the leg across the body. More statistics are required in this area.
Arm swing during the approach was moderate in almost every case with only 2 players demonstrating excessive movement. The majority of players used a straight approach. 3 used a step across – a straight approach with a step across in the final few strides to open the hips. No player used an oblique curved approach.
Almost all approaches were a combination of walk/jog. The average number of preparatory walk/steps across all players was 7.4 and jog/steps was 4.9. In 3 instances a 3-5 run approach only was used over distances from 10-30-40 metres.
Our science suggests that for maximum control and distance only 5-7 jog steps are required with no walk steps at all – walking biomechanics is very stop-go affair and different to the smooth jog biomechanics with the transition from walk to jog implying adjustments that only serve to unbalance the player. It was interesting to note that while there is obviously a transition from walk to jog there was only a few instances of a marked adjustment step, which is highly contraindicated.
One player used 14 walk steps before 5 jog steps and it can only be commented that this gives him enough time to completely psych himself out of the kick, which he did! And the player who missed from 10 meters and straight in front – well what do you say?
So, there is little consistency as to how players approach theirå kick in terms of walk/jog steps. And it is not a question of individual style and preferences as much as it is simply incorrect science. Never get the two confused! All that is required for a successful kick from any distance is a 5-7 step approach, and the same approach applies from any distance as well, up to between 40-50 metres.
To clarify any of the concepts mentioned in this article refer to ‘The Science of Kicking’.