One key component of the School of Kicking’ framework is the idea of the ‘ugly zone’. For rugby kickers working within the ‘ugly zone’ can lead to a lot of angst and frustration through trying and failing until suddenly everything seems to come together. This is something in rugby kicking we refer to as the Eureka moment, and then we try and repeat our success and we fail. What’s gone wrong, we just did this so why are we struggling?
‘The Ugly Zone’
This occurs when we do not reset our minds and do not approach the attempt with the same mental state. Instead of refocusing our self after a success we get excited and rush straight into the action and take for granted the success leading to us going back in to the ‘ugly zone’. Rushing any action often leads to poor results especially when it comes to kicking. Kicking is a purposeful action so rushing this process will often lead to issues such as poor ball contact, decreased accuracy and less distance in the following kicks.
We have worked with a wide variety of rugby goal kickers during our path in coaching. One common theme that occurs is that this ‘Eureka’ moment occurs when the kicker has struck the ball from the tee with great distance, power and accuracy with very little conscious effort. This leads them to think ‘If I’m hitting it this well with this amount of effort, what can I do if I really smash it’? This approach often in our experiences leads to the kick going astray. All the work they have done becomes compromised by the desire to get more power behind the kick and the focused process that did exist previously has gone out the window.
Resetting our minds just like your posture (Click HERE to read that blog) is essential in getting consistent results in your kicking game. If you do take one thing away from this blog take this away; while it is important to acknowledge the Eureka moment, it is extremely important to not get carried away by it. Repeating the same action will help you to learn more effectively overall and help you improve much quicker.
Learning A Skill
We are all too aware of how easy and natural it is to stay in the comfort zone. It is simply not possible to master something new without first going in to the ‘ugly zone’. Something that we would recommend is to not burn yourself out when you’re trying to learn a new skill, instead look at learning piece-by-piece. This allows you to receive feedback on a regular basis and the boost this will have to your self-esteem will be extremely beneficial. We often like to say that learning a new skill is similar to revising for a test. When it comes to an exam if you put a giant folder of notes in front of you the task will seem impossible. However, if you break these notes in to sections the task becomes much more manageable for you to achieve.
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