The two most common ways to kick a field goal are the toe poke and soccer style. Toe poking was used by many professional and collegiate place kickers in the past, including Tom Dempsey who is currently tied with Jason Elam (a soccer style kicker) for the record of longest field goal ever made in the NFL. Although over the past few years the soccer style kick has taken over and is now used today by almost every collegiate and professional place kicker. It’s popularity is largely due to the fact that it enhances the amount of foot to football contact which significantly increases consistency and accuracy.
There are five basic parts to kicking a field goal soccer style. These include setting up the ball, taking your steps back, proper stance, approach steps, and ball contact. To help you learn this style of kicking we have broken down each part for you in the steps below. Learn how to kick farther with Insanity
Kicking Equipment You Will Need:
(Follow the link to order on Amazon.com)
1. Setting Up The Football
- Position the ball perpendicular to the ground and leaning slightly towards the holder.
- Make sure the laces are facing the field goal, this will give you more accuracy by eliminating the variable of hitting the laces when kicking a field goal. It will also allow you to make contact with the seems on the back of the ball and produce maximum compression, resulting in farther, higher, field goals.
2. Taking Your Steps Back
- These vary for each kicker and may take time to find what works best. The important thing to remember is that they are consistent and you end in the same position from the football every time.
- For starters you can use one of the most common combinations, 3 steps back and 2 to the left (or right if you kick left footed).
- It will take some trial and error to determine what steps you should take so we encourage you to experiment a little bit.
3. Proper Stance: Athletic
- You want to be in an athletic stance (knees slightly bent, on the balls of your feet, and body weight centered), ready to approach the ball.
- Your plant foot (the foot that will be planted next to the ball) should be slightly in front of your kicking foot and pointing to where it will be planted during the kick.
- Your kicking foot will be behind your plant foot and pointing to the football.
4. Approach Steps
- If you take to many approach steps it will take longer to kick the football and will increase the chances of a blocked kick. Similarly, if you do not take enough steps you will significantly decrease your kicking distance and might kick it short.
- For a good balance between timing and power take 2-3 approach steps.
- The first step (an optional one), often called the jab step, is a short step toward the football with your non-kicking leg. This short step will help shift your body weight forward.
- The second step, called the drive step, is taken toward the football with your kicking leg and is usually a stride in length.
- Your final step will be taken with your plant leg and will anchor you to the ground during the kick.
5. Plant Foot and Ball Contact
Using the right type of plant will allow you to make good contact with the football, a critical part to kicking a good field goal.
- When planted your foot will be pointing to the target.
- The depth of your plant foot depends on how high the ball is off the ground. If you are kicking on the ground your plant foot will be deeper than if you’re using a 1 or 2 inch tee.
- The pictures below will help you determine the right plant foot depth for you.
When making contact you want to hit the “sweet spot” of the ball. That spot is located about 4 inches above the tip of the football. Kicking the sweet spot will enable you to get the right balance of distance and height on your field goals. Making contact on the football with the large bone on top of your foot, the 1st metatarsal, is critical for producing maximum transfer of energy to the ball. Contacting the football with your toes or ankle will decrease accuracy and distance when kicking a field goal.