Prior to Victoria University, Kevin, with a specialization in AFL Kicking Techniques, worked across multiple High-Performance sporting teams including Melbourne Football Club, Hawthorn Football Club, Fremantle Football Club, and the Australian Institute of Sport.
Highlights from the episode:
- Drills to improve a footballer’s strength, skill acquisition, and confidence
- How much is the healthy amount volume of kicks for players
- Mentors who influenced his career
- Things he does to build confidence and technique
- What he learned from the best kickers
In the world of the Australian Football League (AFL), mastering kicking techniques is a game-changer. The ability to deliver accurate and powerful kicks can make all the difference on the field. Whether you’re a young and developing footballer or a seasoned player looking to refine your skills, understanding the biomechanics, strength training, and confidence-building strategies behind successful AFL kicks can elevate your game to new heights.
AFL Kicking Techniques: Building a Solid Foundation
When it comes to training young and developing footballers, a comprehensive approach that combines physical conditioning and skill acquisition is essential. One of the fundamental aspects of this approach is a well-structured strength training program. For athletes in the 14 to 16-year-old range, core strength and glute function are vital components that lay the groundwork for powerful kicks. These foundational elements not only contribute to the strength required for accurate and forceful kicks but also play a crucial role in injury prevention.
The Impact of Biomechanics: Unleashing the Power
Biomechanics, the science of analyzing human movement, plays a pivotal role in understanding and enhancing kicking techniques. A fascinating insight into biomechanics reveals that the contact between the boot and the ball lasts for a mere 10 milliseconds during a kick. This fleeting moment demands precise force application and coordination. When kicking the ball long, the impact can generate a force equivalent to a thousand Newtons or 100 kilograms. Interestingly, replicating this impact in the gym proves challenging, underlining the unique demands of AFL kicking.
Eddie Jones’ Perspective: Volume and Conditioning
Eddie Jones, renowned for his coaching expertise in rugby union, offers valuable insights into the concept of training volume. During a collaborative discussion with AFL coaches, Jones highlighted the importance of ensuring athletes are fit enough to sustain the demands of extensive kicking practice. His perspective underscores the significance of developing the physical stamina required for rigorous kicking sessions. Jones’s approach encourages coaches and players to embrace conditioning as a means to optimize kicking proficiency.
Mentorship and Off-The-Ball Observation: Shaping Excellence
In the journey toward mastering AFL kicking techniques, mentorship and insightful observations play a pivotal role. Drawing inspiration from mentors, such as family members or coaches, can instill a passion for the sport and provide valuable guidance. Additionally, the practice of off-the-ball observation, as championed by certain mentors, contributes to a deeper understanding of gameplay dynamics. Analyzing player positions, movements, and tactical choices unveils the intricate strategies that influence kicking decisions and success on the field.
Fusion of Skill and Confidence: Nurturing Excellence
As athletes progress in their kicking journey and hone their technique, the pivotal fusion of skill and confidence takes center stage. Transitioning from proficient technique execution to game-time success requires the cultivation of self-assurance. Players can effectively boost their confidence by acknowledging and celebrating their improvements. Statistical analysis of performance, combined with constructive feedback, provides tangible evidence of progress. While accolades are often directed toward exceptional kickers, the quiet progression from struggling to competent often goes unnoticed—an achievement in itself.
Learning from the Best: Notable AFL Kickers
Studying exemplary AFL kickers reveals key insights. Nathan Chapman, a Pro Kicker, highlights technical precision’s importance. Kicking mechanics, like knee/hip motion, enhance kick power. Players like Greg English, Matthew Pavlich, and David Mundy exemplify biomechanics’ impact.
Mastering AFL kicking needs holistic biomechanics, strength, and confidence. Combining these unlocks potential, elevates kicking. From core strength to biomechanics, each facet contributes to kicking artistry. Athletes enhance performance and celebrate transformation—novice to mastery, uncertainty to confidence, good to exceptional.
Jack McLean is the founder of Prepare Like a Pro. He loves coaching people so that they can reach their personal/professional goals and become the best that they can possibly be. He is currently the Strength & Rehab Coach of Melbourne Football Club and has worked as Strength & Conditioning Coach at Hawthorn Football Club. Jack is a Level 3 Australian Strength & Conditioning Association and Professional Coach and a Level 1 Australian Weightlifting Federation Coach.