When it comes to kicking, it’s like learning and mastering any new skill; it requires a willingness to fully commit to practicing and improving. Outside of having the right attitude towards your training and performance, the two most important parts of a kick would be your posture and follow along.
Practice makes permanent
If you don't practice in the right technique, how can it ever be perfect? Practice, practice, practice. For years we’ve heard that the best way to master a skill is by simply repeating a motor skill over and over again. Now there is truth in volume over time for sure, but for us, it’s not necessarily about how many hours you spend practicing, but rather the way you practice.
It’s always important to spend time working on technique through repair, working into a net or at a near target is a great way to do this so it becomes about feel over where the ball has gone. We recommend keeping your sessions little and often, 20 – 40 minutes long and as often as you can through the week. In that time, you can comfortably get through 50 – 80 kicks per session. Practice more than one kick during your session and create first shot opportunities. During a game you’ll use a range of different kicks and every kick is likely to be different. By keeping your sessions varied, you’ll stay more focussed on the learning process and have far more fun with your kicking.
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Power comes from posture
Having a good posture is fundamental to kicking well and certainly one of the most important parts of kicking to focus your attention on. When it comes to kicking “keeping your head down” is not good advice. It tends to promote hunching which only creates a weak position to kick in. Think strong posture, staying tall and upright with your core engaged. This will give you a stable platform for your legs to work off.
Tip: to improve your posture it must become a habit. Try sitting on a swiss ball while doing homework or studying.
In this video, Dave Alred explains the principle of the ‘Power Posture’ and how you can get more distance behind your kicks.
The follow along
Try to stay nice and fluid through your kick, try landing on your kicking foot and follow along to your target. It’s important your weight and hips travel towards the target after contact. You’ll hear us talk about the pillar always going to the target, because even if you slightly miss hit the ball, it will still go straight. It’s the pillar to target that decides the direction of the kick.
In this video, Dave Alred, Tony Yapp and Stuard Alred highlight the walking kick and how to successfully master the basics of the follow along.
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