For the last year I've been working with punter Jim Squatriglia from North Carolina. I originally met Jim at The University of Alabama kicking camp in 2013 when Jim was offensive lineman/punter at Fork Union Military Academy. As I was instructing the campers on how to 'set their leg' and 'pull thru the ball' in order to create lag and generate footspeed, Jim's father Rob( who is an avid tennis player and Tai Qwon Do expert) noticed the similarities with the Set & Pull punting technique and martial arts. We had a great conversation on the mechanics of punting and the universal movements that are constant in all athletic activities. Basically, we must create lag in order to build kinetic energy which maximizes power with minimal effort.... The paradox of sports and life - Less is More.
Making the transition from offensive lineman to a full time punter would be an arduous task for any athlete at any level. The body movements and skill sets are polar opposites. I informed Jim we must shift our mindset to that of the Peaceful Warrior and allow our body to unfold naturally. Jim originally was a 'hitter', using his quad to hit the ball. When we squeeze our muscles, they actually tense up and slow down. By 'letting go' and allowing our muscles to move freely, they move much faster with less effort. Jim has made the transition from a 'hitter' to a 'ball striker'
With that being said, I'd like to show you the difference that a year of hard work makes. The first clip is of Jim in 2014. You'll notice long methodical steps as he forces his leg to 'hit' the ball with a straight leg at impact. He comes out of his posture and doesn't finish his stroke.Though our mind thinks that more effort will produce better results, the exact opposite is true.
This next clip is of Jim this year. Notice how fast his leg comes through the hitting zone. He sets his leg properly and pulls it through the ball without straightening his leg and squeezing at impact. His steps are compact and he finishes his stroke nicely. His lower leg snaps so quickly, to the naked eye it looks as if it never straightens. This punt stayed in the air for 5.0 seconds. What a difference proper mechanics can make when we focus on the process and 'let go in order to gain control'.