Why you shouldn’t always listen to ex-players

Why you shouldn’t always listen to ex-players

At the School of Kicking we have huge respect and admiration for all former players, especially kickers. Between us we have played in nearly every tier of English rugby and have a combined xx years of match experience. But perhaps more importantly, we have the coaching nous to match.

Our Head of Performance and Mindset, Dave Alred is widely touted as the best kicking brain in the business, helping Jonny Wilkinson, Jonny Sexton and Morne Steyn (among others) to reach the pinnacle of rugby kicking. Tony and myself have reached Level 3 and 2 of the RFU coaching standards respectively and follow the proven scientific framework developed by Dave. We know that a great player doesn’t always make a great coach and feel it’s important that you know why.

There is a significant difference between passing on your own technique and tips, and helping somebody to build and develop their own. As former players, it is easy to pass on what ‘worked for us’ and ‘how we like it’. As coaches, we are aiming for far more than that.

Our methods are based on universal biomechanics principles. We want to teach players the rules of gravity and mass, and how they impact our bodies. We want to help players create movement patterns that work within the laws of physics, whilst helping them to move more effectively, efficiently and consistently.

Within these principles, players have the freedom to create their own style and how they want to execute their kicks. ‘It’s up to you’ and ‘whatever makes you feel comfortable’ are key phrases for us. We understand that what works for one player, doesn’t necessarily work for another and so we focus on controlling the controllables.

Too often we see tips and advice prescribed where it should be left down to individual preference. At the same time, the laws of physics are completely ignored and players get stuck in terms of development.

We suggest you listen with a critical ear to weed out those who can kick well, but may not be best placed to offer coaching advice, and those who truly understand kicking. This will enable you to work within the laws of physics and create your own signature style.

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