Develop muscle memory through drill work on and off the field
The bench drill, also known to me as “The Chris Sailer” drill is an excellent way to work on form and body position without having to worry about your approach, the ball, or any other factors involved with kicking a field goal. Our goal with the bench drill is to create the ideal body position that we want just before, at, and after ball contact without moving our plant foot. We call it the bench drill because, you guessed it, we perform it on a bench. There are a number of key elements to the bench drill that we must always keep in mind.
First, we want to start with our hips and shoulders parallel with our kicking line. We want to keep our right hip and eyes back as much as possible throughout the entire drill. We begin with our ankle locked at ball contact (ideally even with the heel of our plant foot) and our counter-arm high in the air.
Secondly, we begin to bring our kicking foot back (hinging at the knee) keeping our ankle locked and mirroring our leg with our counter-arm. As we get better at this, we can start to bring that leg back as far as we can extending at the hip.
Third, we bring our foot back down to contact, keeping our ankle locked, eyes & hips back, chest up, and counter-arm continuously mirroring our leg.
Last, we swing our leg up and through our line while maintaining all of the aforementioned elements. We repeat this motion for 5 minutes a day and we begin to build that muscle memory. 5 minutes may not seem like you are accomplishing much, but believe me, you will feel a burn where you never knew you had muscles.
The no-step drill is a great drill to start your kicking workouts. It is essentially the bench drill with a football and with more force. The idea of the no-step drill is to make sure that you are striking the ball well, thus achieving that solid ‘thud’ and good ball rotation. We want to focus on keeping our eyes at the back of the ball and keeping our ankle locked out. We must keep in mind that because we are not building momentum into these kicks, we will not have the same body lean as a full field goal. Because of that, the depth of our plant foot might be slightly shallower. In the video, you will notice that my counter-arm remains high mirroring my kicking leg and my chest stays upright. A slight variation of this drill uses the momentum of our leg swing to follow-through and walk down-field a few steps towards our target.
The one-step drill is the next progression in our field goal warm-up. The most common steps for the one-step drill are 2 steps back and 1 step over. We place our kicking foot in front and square our bodies to our plant-foot destination and the ball. Keeping our eyes back and our chest up, we begin our approach. I like to take a small ‘timing’ jab which helps me spring into my plant foot. Still keeping our eyes to the back of the ball, we plant our plant-foot, and from there the rest becomes our no-step drill. We want to keep our ankle locked, chest up, counter-arm high, and eyes back as we skip through our follow-through.