The key to practice is little and often. Ideally, you will be learning and then relearning as much as possible. For some this may mean three sessions per week balanced around school, work and other commitments. For others, this might mean two short sessions per day with extended sessions once a week.
It is important that players are comfortable and confident with the tee that they are using. It is also important, from our perspective, that kickers are kicking in the strongest position in terms of biomechanics. This ensures both more power and less injury as you are using bigger muscles. As a general principle we would say to use a kicking tee as low as you can.
Each player is unique and will have their own preferences, experience and body. We do not insist that players ‘do it like we do’. We work hard to manage the learning of the players who we are working with. It is also true that every player is working within the laws of physics and biology. Power through the ball towards the target is what all of us are aiming for. It is within this blend of personal preference and universal reality that we work with players to develop what works best for them.
The most important thing is that players enjoy what they do. If coaches are enthusiastic and celebrate every step of development we encourage practice at any age. Practices should be little and often, challenging and enjoyable. We would resist putting pressure on players and resist comparing with others or being too concerned about outcomes at a young age.
Using our kicking philosophy, you should find less strain on your body and be able to practice more often on a little and often basis. Having said that, planning your practice in consultation with physio teams is crucial to avoid doing too much.
The ingredients that we are looking for include:
1) Attitude. This is the most important thing. The mindset and approach of the player comes first.
2) Application. Secondly, those players who follow up with action. Those players who are willing to put the work in when nobody else is watching are the ones who progress.
3) Ability. Third, and lastly, it takes natural talent. We all have varying degrees of natural talent which will determine how well we go. However, we view this as the third in terms of importance.
We are looking for how players react when they can’t do things initially or naturally. The formula for a world class athlete is both humility and being hard as nails. These do not often go together! Players who can face and work tough scenarios and keep getting better are those who will make the most of the talent they have.
We work with players from youngsters to professionals towards the end of their careers. We feel that attitude is the most important thing therefore if you are open to learn you are still able to learn and we would expect anyone to see significant improvements working with us.