80th minute field goal, 10 foot putt to win a tournament, last penalty in a shootout, what do all these moments have in common. Pressure. When we enter a stressful state we aren’t always consciously aware, and commonly stress causes our awareness to diminish. As we become tense and tighter our body language and posture becomes more rigid and smaller leading to technique to alter in the action. We believe that movement has to be as free as possible in order to be the best kicker you can be. One thing we work on with players is the ‘follow along’ technique which relies on the movement after the kick as you follow the path of the ball.
When entering a stressful situation, especially as a kicker, it is always worth resetting your posture. A posture we often tell kickers to work with is referred to as the ‘command’ posture. This posture helps the player to remain as big as possible reducing the chances of technique changes occurring. This posture is useful for anyone to adopt leading up to a potential high-stress situation.
The ‘command’ posture involves your shoulders being down and packed, neck stretched and the chin held in line with the sternum. Another advantage of this posture is that you are not standing to the attention of someone or something else. You can see this in a variety of elite athletes, athletes such as Cristiano Ronaldo often adopt this ‘command posture’ before striking a free kick as this makes them as big as possible.
Next time you’re at training, take a second before you enter the task to reset your posture. This puts you in control of the situation instead of the moment being in control of you. The great thing about this ‘posture’ is that it is something you can practice anywhere, anytime. The more you practice this the quicker the action will become normal and eventually in a game you will be doing this subconsciously.
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