Punting Mechanics 101



Coach Greg Montgomery will be working with select athletes this winter in Houston ,TX and Boca Raton, FL.

These instruction sessions include a full bio-mechanic evaluation, custom workout program, one on one instruction and film analysis.

Contact Greg at gmonty23@gmail.com or 616-975-1788 to discuss his availability.

Saturday

NFL Punting Mechanics and Analysis

                                                   


           As a swing coach, the most important(and most difficult) thing to do is understand each players 'stroke' and know how to diagnose the inconsistencies. The exact  mechanics of the punting motion and leg action has to be defined to each and every punter. I try to emphasise the important of balance and the need for one fluid motion. I've found that if the proper posture(neutral hips) is maintained throughout the entire punting motion(catch to kick), the steps, drop and leg snap will follow in harmony.

            That being said, I've had great success this year as Bio-mechanics Adviser to Cincinnati Bengals' P Kevin Huber, St. Louis Rams' P Donnie Jones and New England Patriots' P Zoltan Mesko.  

           The following is an analysis of St Louis Rams All Pro punter Donnie Jones prior to the 2009 season. Since being the first punter in NFL history to average over 50 yds gross and 40 yds net in 2008, Donnie has proven to be one of the premier punters in the NFL. Take note of Donnie's posture and drop preparation(inset). By maintaining this posture and preparing the drop 'out in front', the odds of making solid ball contact are greatly increased.

                 

      
THE ART OF PUNTING



        Rhythm, timing and patience are the key elements required to execute an effective punt. From catch to kick, punting is one fluid motion. After all the work, after all the repetitions, after the mental  preparation, we must trust the process while in the heat of battle. A great punt is the product of trusting the process. An 11 yard block point is a product of trusting the process. A 1.2 second “catch to kick” is the product of trusting the process. A punt with 5.0 second hang time is a product of trusting the process. As in all aspects of life, we have to let go in order to gain control. We can’t squeeze it, white knuckle it or force it to happen. We have to let it happen. Less is More - Once a consistent rhythm is minimal physicaeffort by allowing your lower leg to properly release which will violently snap your foot through the hitting zone established, less effort actually produces better results.  We need to take a deep breath, relax, trust the process, and finish.




                                    INTRODUCTION
             

              Field position is one of the key ingredients to winning in the game of football.  An effective punter that can change field position is a priceless commodity. The process of punting has four major elements: 1) The Posture/ Body Angle, 2The Footwork, 3) The Drop and 4) The Leg Snap. Mastering each element will be only made possible by being mentally and physically prepared to compete every time you step on the field. By following faithful daily routines of drill work and conditioning, the punter will be able to repeat the one fluid motion needed to achieve effective hang time, distance and placement.

        Maintaining the proper body angle, “letting your hands work on the grip“letting your get feet into the ground on the approach, "floating the drop" to the hitting zone, the patience of  "waiting” on the leg snap and finishing the kick will give you the best chance of becoming an efficient punter.

       Due to the aggressive nature of the game of football, patience and timing are skills that are only mastered through mental preparation, repetition and muscle memory. The philosophy of the “Set and Pull ” technique is to maximize foot speed with minimal physicaeffort by allowing your lower leg to properly release which will violently snap your foot through the hitting zone.





                      PLAYER ANALYSIS


     Donnie Jones is a great  athlete with sound flexibility and technique. He has worked exceptionally hard to master the "Set and Pull" technique in order create exceptional leg speed. Donnie's success is directly due to his focus on the process. He has contined to do the  work necessary to be consistent mentally as well as physically. After years of snapping his leg properly, he knows what it feels like to do it right . Donnie knows he needs to start his "RHYTHM" as soon as the snap hits his hands. His get-off times are quick and his hang times are consistant because he works the drills daily.
     
      Donnie's make exceptional progress working on the following : 


1) "LETTING" YOUR FEET GET INTO THE GROUND - As he receives the snap, start his rhythm - keeping his steps short and  behind him on the approach,


 2) WORK YOUR HANDS and FLOAT(STICK) IT adjusting his drop during his approach and floating it outside his left knee with more urgency (keeping it on the “PRO SIDE”)


3) STAND TALL - by bending at the waist and maintaining his body angle and  stable/neutral hips(neutral hips won’t slide),


 4) SET IT - setting his leg properly and keeping it set prior to leg snap,


 5) GET UP THROUGH IT- integrating his plant leg into the process, pushing off up and through the ball as the kicking leg snaps, and most of all, 


6) PATIENCE – WAIT ON IT - waiting on his knee to clear, snapping his lower leg up versus down. On film, he should be snapping his lower leg "up and through" the ball in front of his body vs down/behind his body.

   Donnie knows to embrace the drills and workouts as well as really focus on his concentration. Mental toughness is needed to replicate the technique consistently. A good rhythm of “Catch to Kick” will be needed to be successful in the 1.2 get off range.  Starting his consistent rhythm, working his hands effortlessly, setting his leg,  letting his feet fall into the ground on approach , floating his drop, and finishing his kicks will be the focus point.


Good punting - GM

Wednesday

Michigan State Punter ...... Or Linebacker?

Patience Process Letting Go

      I'm sitting in my hotel room contemplating the word  'destiny'. How do I share my message of hope? How do I get kids to take action? Do I need to package it in a way that kids can digest it? I know my Rise Up Detroit project is noble. I'm working out the details w/ founder Michael Corbin for the everyminute.org relaunch. I'm coaching aspiring punters across the nation. I'm trying to 'help'.

      This week I'm at the University of Alabama, helping the coaches learn how teach my 'Set & Pull' technique. Seeing the droves of kids coming in for workouts, it takes me back to my first days in college......wanting success so bad I could taste it. My heart would pound when it was my turn to 'show my wears'. To punt the football. It's taken many years of deep reflection to answer this question  "Why was I  so stressed out when it came to performance?" The answer lies in the work.

    The science of punting was in it's early development in the '80's. With the evolution of film analysis and integration of bio-mechanics, I've finally realized how the punting motion works. The elusive 'why' I'd been looking for all these years. When I was playing, I had no concept of the word 'relax'. My 'repeater swing' needed to be meticulously practiced. Even though I had to re-learn it every day,  I would eventually 'find my groove'. I can remember going in after practice and watching film.  I focused on my body angle, leg extension and foot position at impact. I made sure to finish each kick with my leg high in the air.If  I wasn't doing it to my satisfaction on film, I would go back out and fix it. That's what I 'saw' in pictures while growing up in New Jersey. Legendary punters Ray Guy and Dave Jennings would always finish with their leg  high up into the air. I did my best to imitate this technique my entire career. But in the depths of my subconscious mind, I knew there was an easier way. 

        My 'Set & Pull' punting epiphany came to me in the spring of 2000. Three(3) years removed from the game, I finally understood the concept of 'letting go in order to gain control'. I realized why I had such a tough time having fun playing the game of football. Undiagnosed torn ligaments in my hip and a broken back didn't help things much,  but I knew there was an easier way to create leg(foot) speed.  I didn't have the patience(or bio-mechanic) knowledge to relax and allow my leg to release. My negative mental 'chatter' caused me to drift. I focused on 'results' versus 'process'. I knew I could do better. I wanted to be perfect.

         The game of life has a strange way of teaching us lessons. After all the years of work. The countless  hours of frustrating trial and error. The lesson was this ....  All I had to do was "let go". 

 This is why I teach................GM





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Tuesday

A Ticket To Ride

           One of my goals is to teach as many kids as possible the secret to punting the football consistently. Many retired college/ NFL players and coaches can 'pop a Bud", tell war stories and go on about who they played with. This is whole different ball game...... I want to teach what hasn't been taught before. I want to share my hard earned wisdom and give every dedicated high school/college punter the ability to earn a scholarship and experience the thrill of punting in front of 100,000 fans. I want to let each athlete know the importance of being part of a team. The importance of getting your degree and using football as a stepping stone to life. My relationships with head coaches across the country will open the doors. There are hundreds of schools that are looking for punters, kickers and long snappers. And if I believe in you, I'll make sure every college and university is aware of your talent. It's a matter of developing a consistent rhythm and being able to repeat it under pressure. The Set & Pull punting technique is the ticket to be part of a team, to build self esteem and fulfill a dream.

        There are many camps and great coaches that can help you develop into a competitive punter. Steve Hoffman, Pat Sempier,  Mike McCabe, Gary Zauner to name a few. Not for their lack of effort or passion, but too many coaches fall into the trap of focusing on the 'results'. The hang time. The 'get off' time. The drop. High extension. The secret is to learn how to 'snap your leg'. These are all products of a process. When you learn to snap your leg properly, the get off time, the stepping pattern, the drop, your extension, trajectory, placement and hang time will simply fall into place.This is where the 'Set & Pull' technique comes into play.

  While I was playing at Michigan State and then the following 9 years in the NFL,  I would tell myself -  "Get the drop out", "Take short, urgent steps" , "Keep your head down", "Get your leg up into the air". These are all valid goals and coaching points. And I did a pretty good job of executing them. However they are all 'products' of the the 'process' of snapping your leg properly. The Set & Pull. 5.0 The "All Pro Move". Staying balanced physically and mentally. Keeping your shoulders, hips and feet square. Letting go in order to gain control.

      During my whole career, I was constantly looking for the perfect stroke. I would say to myself " It's got to be easier than this!!!". Grinding it out on the practice field. Always feeling 'rushed'. A tendency of mine was always trying to 'kill it'. Which would lead to long steps, inconsistent drops and mis-hits.When I finally figured out how to REALLY snap your leg, I was 5 years removed from the game. It's definitely not easy to do. If it was, everybody would be out punting footballs. It takes time and dedication to the 'process'.

If you can get a hold of some old film of Ray Guy, you'll see poetry in motion. Ray Guy's flexibility and innate ability to snap his leg has been a mystery.......... until now.

     While coaching St. Louis Rams' Donnie Jones the technique at LSU, he struggled at first. The patience and timing needed to execute the Set & Pull technique can be elusive. I've had many students that would say "I can't do this!". But Donnie stuck with it and is one of the premier punters in the NFL!

    The same can be said of Alabama's PJ Fitzgerald. At first, PJ struggled with the idea of  using the S&P  move. "Letting go in order to gain control". But he stuck it out, worked with Mike McCabe at One On One Kicking, and had a brilliant senior season and was an integral part of the 2009 National Champion Crimson Tide.

      Years of trial and error in the heat of battle, infinite hours of film analysis and coaching  has led to my development of the most efficient style of punting to date......... The Set & Pull 5.0. The 'All Pro Move'. I'm looking forward to teaching this technique to the masses........ Parents and coaches included.

Thursday

Balance and Posture

There are many reasons why I teach the 'Set & Pull' technique, but one of the most important is that it eliminates the many 'moving parts' that come with punting the football at the amateur level. If we can simplify our 'stroke' and repeat it consistently, we'll have the best chance at having fun and performing at our highest level.

    One of the most over-looked aspects of punting the football is balance and posture. Similar to a golfer getting ready to start his/her swimg or a baseball player in the batter's box, one common denominator is the positioning of the feet and body. In order to create the most kinetic energy possible( foot speed, club head speed, bat speed, etc), our posture and balance must be solid. With solid balance, we'll be able to allow our body to unfold naturally, giving us the least resistance and maximum foot speed.



    

    Within the 'Set & Pull' technique, I teach an 'adjustment step', so my balanced 'ready position' is as follows:

      With feet shoulders width apart, take a balanced stance with the 'plant foot' forward.  The toe of the kicking foot aligns with the instep of the plant foot. The enables us to athletically move  laterally and vertically if the snap is off target. Since I teach our athletes to have a  'bounce in their step', I like the weight of the body slightly towards the toes.  With your chin up slightly, take a deep breathe, exhale and bend at the waist. (see photo). The shoulders, arms, hands, hips and feet are square to the target. Let your arms hang naturally in front of you with your thumbs gently opening outward. This will give your long snapper a good target.

      Energy is stored in both of our legs(plant and kicking). In true game conditions, the flight of the ball from the long  snapper will vary. Being in a relaxed  'football position' when the ball arrives helps us get into 'the  flow' of a smooth stepping pattern. This balance and posture will keep our feet 'under us' during the stepping pattern. In order to take advantage of all of the leverage and power of the 'Set & Pull', we must have patience and remain relaxed and balanced throughout the motion.

      One of the many benefits of keeping our feet 'under us' with a solid base is that the drop will have a better chance of being released into the 'hitting zone'. When we take long steps, lean back and 'come out of it' at impact, we 1) lose balance and power, 2) lengthen our kicking leg and 3) shorten our drop. This leads to the feeling of having a 'short drop', when in reality you've created a 'long leg'.  Work on keeping your feet 'behind you' during the stepping pattern and you'll feel the balance and control needed to 'rip it'.

Good Punting- GM

Monday

All-Pro Special Teams Academy

    
        To have success in the kicking game, foot speed is most vital component.

       Beginning November 15th, 2011, my team of current/former All-Pro NFL players will be available for individual and group instruction in  Florida. In addition to a step by step introduction to the 'Set & Pull' technique, the 'a la carte' menu will include in-depth film analysis, a bio-mechanics evaluation, pool training as well as customized strength and conditioning programs with former NFL strength coach Jeff Fronk (www.fitnessbyfronk.com).

   To inquire about available times and pricing,  please contact Coach Montgomery via thepuntingcoach@gmail.com or call 248-752-7572.

Saturday

Aussie Footballers - The Transition

                                                            Chris Bryan

         When it comes to punting in the NFL, there's a new trend that is giving many Australian footballers the opportunity to showcase their talent. In recent years,  Darren Bennett (Chargers), Matt McBriar (Cowboys), Ben Graham (Cardinals), Chris Bryan (Buccaneers) and  Sav Rocca (Eagles) have all suited up on Sundays and showed they can not only compete, but dominate. With a wide variety of kicks, Aussie footballers are also making their way to the USA by way of college scholarships, with the ultimate goal of having a shot to play in the NFL.

       During my recent trip to Australia, I had the opportunity to work with coaches Nathan Chapman and John Smith from ProKickAustralia (www.prokickaustralia.com). Since 2006, Nate and John have been training Aussie footballers to make the transition and land scholarships in Division 1A schools(Tom Hornsey (Memphis), Alex Kinal (Wake Forest)). We also have three studs that are in the process of solidifying scholarships in P Christian Eldred, P Sam Irwin and P/PK Marcus Kinsella...... ( D1 Coaches - For inquiries of availability/eligiubility,  please contact Nathan Chapman at nathan@prokickaustralia.com

       ProKickAustralia has been training AFL veterans in order to land a roster spot in the NFL. P Chris Bryan, who played 6 games for the Tampa Bay Bucs last season, is a player who really stood out as a 'game ready' punter that can hold for FG/PAT placements as well. His tall frame (6'5") and sound form give him the ability to create excellent leg speed with minimal effort. Others names to look out for in the NFL in 2011 are P/PK David Lonie (California), P Josh Bartel and P Scott Crough

    As you can see in the video clip below, Chris takes nice short steps, maintains proper posture/body angle, floats the drop and snaps his leg up and through the impact zone effortlessly. The slight lean backwards after impact has since been corrected. During May/June/July, I will be working with Chris at my Michigan facility in preparation for the his upcoming 2011 NFL season.

video
                                                           

Tuesday

Discovering The Ultimate Impact Zone

     People ask all the time, "What is the Set & Pull technique anyway?"

       Do I need to start all over and use the Set & Pull immediately? Nope

       Is it a style that needs to be followed point by point? Nope. 

      Is it a style that every high school college and pro punter and/or kicker should use? Nope.

       Fact is the Set & Pull isn't a punting style or technique at all. 

      The' Set' is strictly a reminder of how to set your lower leg(knee) to 85-90 degrees while gliding into your plant foot placement. Setting the leg properly is vital in creating the much needed lag in order to create maximum foot speed.

    Once the leg is "Set" and as the plant foot 'posts' into the ground (hopefully pointing to the target line), the 'Pull' is a simple reminder of how to begin the downswing on the punt or kick.

    The final violent snap through the impact zone is the product of letting the lower leg swing freely.

    After speaking with my former team mate and 19yr NFL veteran kicker, Matt Stover, we both agree that putting any label on a punting, kicking or snapping style would only serve to confuse our athletes. Matt and I both know old habits are hard to break. In discussing our years working together. I explained the work I've done with many college players as well as current St Louis Rams punter Donnie Jones. And the consensus was - every punter and kicker that ever suited up on Sundays all had one thing in common -  a lower leg that snapped violently THROUGH the ball in the impact zone.

 And why is it so important to snap your lower leg/foot THROUGH the ball at impact?

 1) When you snap your foot THROUGH the impact zone, you are using maximum foot speed due to the fact the ball will accelerate OFF your foot while it is still moving with maximum velocity(on target).

 2) When you snap your foot THROUGH the impact zone, the ball will stay on your foot longer, hence creating better spin and direction control on the kick. When you make sure to accelerate THROUGH the impact zone, the ball will compress decompress and spin/turn over in the direction intended as well.

Your STYLE Is Yours!

Whatever posture, balance, stepping pattern, head position, grip on the ball  a punter chooses leading up until impact of the ball (when the foot hits the ball) is his 'STYLE'.

And after the ball is off his foot, any and all  feet, body, hip, arm  or head  posistion  along with their own follow-through  is his 'STYLE'

Our goal is not to change your STYLE.

Grip It and Rip It

With over 50 yrs of NFL experience, our goal is to share the All Pro Secret that  has known for decades, but never articulated. We want to show you the EXACT positioning of your feet, knees, hips, core, arms  and  body in order to maximize foot speed and accuracy.

     When you watch super slow motion of all the great ones, there are many discrepancies in their posture, hip stability and alignment, balance,  the timing of the setting of the ankle(pronation), the timing of the setting of the leg, foot placement on the plant foot and even on the impact on the ball itself. The athletes all have different STYLES. Landeta, Roby, Stark, UG, Bennett, Feagles, Guy, Jennings all had different STYLES..

      However, the most distinguishable constant with all these great punters was that  they all had identical lower leg action at the impact of the football.......  the actual upper and lower kicking  leg position during the milliseconds prior to ball contact.... all the way through impact..... and then to the release of the ball off their foot. At impact, all within a few milliseconds, the ball compresses and then decompresses off the kicking foot.

   The direction of the punt FG and or kickoff is directly related to:

 1) How long you can keep the ball on your accelerating foot and

2) While the ball is on your foot, maintaining the snapping motion through the ball towards  intended target.



   Post Script  -  We will teach you, bio-mechanically, the 'how and why' your body must be aligned and then unfold perfectly at impact. How the timing of the release the kicking leg is the most vital component in creating the consistent foot speed needed to punt and/or kick a football effectively.

'Set & Pull' are simple reminders  ..... The STYLE is up to you!

Friday

The Art of Punting

    

                  

                  When it comes to player analysis, the most important(and most difficult) thing to do is understand each players 'stroke' and know how to diagnose the inconsistencies. The exact  mechanics of the punting motion and leg action has to be defined to each and every punter. If the proper posture(neutral hips) is maintained throughout the entire punting motion(catch to kick), the steps, drop and leg snap will follow in harmony.

                  While working with Cincinnati Bengals punter, Kevin Huber, we really focused on proper posture, neutral hips, a consistent drop to Kevin's impact zone and accelerating 'through' the ball vs. 'at' the ball.





video







THE ART OF PUNTING



        Rhythm, timing and patience are the key elements required to execute an effective punt. From catch to kick, punting is one fluid motion. After all the work, after all the repetitions, after the mental  preparation, we must trust the process while in the heat of battle. A great punt is the product of trusting the process. An 11 yard block point is a product of trusting the process. A 1.2 second “catch to kick” is the product of trusting the process. A punt with 5.0 second hang time is a product of trusting the process. As in all aspects of life, we have to let go in order to gain control. We can’t squeeze it, white knuckle it or force it to happen. We have to let it happen. Less is More - Once a consistent rhythm is minimal physicaeffort by allowing your lower leg to properly release which will violently snap your foot through the hitting zone established, less effort actually produces better results.  We need to take a deep breath, relax, trust the process, and finish.




                                              INTRODUCTION
             

              Field position is one of the key ingredients to winning in the game of football.  An effective punter that can change field position is a priceless commodity. The process of punting has four major elements: 1) The Posture/ Body Angle, 2The Footwork, 3) The Drop and 4) The Leg Snap. Mastering each element will be only made possible by being mentally and physically prepared to compete every time you step on the field. By following faithful daily routines of drill work and conditioning, the punter will be able to repeat the one fluid motion needed to achieve effective hang time, distance and placement.

        Maintaining the proper body angle, “letting your hands work on the grip“letting your get feet into the ground on the approach, "floating the drop" to the hitting zone, the patience of  "waiting” on the leg snap and finishing the kick will give you the best chance of becoming an efficient punter.

       Due to the aggressive nature of the game of football, patience and timing are skills that are only mastered through mental preparation, repetition and muscle memory. The philosophy of the “Set and Pull ” technique is to maximize foot speed with minimal physicaeffort by allowing your lower leg to properly release which will violently snap your foot through the hitting zone.
                              



                       




Monday

My Aussie Mum and Dad

   Taking the trip to Australia to meet and work with Nathan Chapman was a life changing experience. My trip gave me the opportunity to interact with a foreign culture on the other side of the globe. The experience opened my eyes to a whole new way of approaching life.

    The talent pool of special teams prospects (punters, kickers, long snappers and kick returners) will put ProKick Australia, and now ProKick America on the map.

  Though many different business opportunities are on the horizon ..... they're all a distant second  to being introduced to my family away from home. Nate's parents were not only accommodating, but treated like I was one of their own. Thank you, Chapman Clan.

Cheers - GM

Sunday

UG and The Worm


Ran into my man, Dennis Rodman in Ft Lauderdale yesterday. This cat definitely knows a little about 'Special Teams'



Friday

Congrats to George 'The Animal' Slupski

I'd like to give a shout out to Golf Gym/Fitness By Fronk client George 'The Animal' Slupski. George has been training with Coach Joey Diovisalvi and Jeff Fronk. He's proven that success after the age of 45 is not only possible, but expected. Way to go, Georgie.

http://www.worldgolf.com/newswire/browse/65405-George-%E2%80%9C-Animal%E2%80%9D-Slupski-Wins-REMAX-Long-Drive-Championship

Tuesday

S&P Training in FL

I'm having a blast building my Punting Academy in Jupiter/Boca Raton/Ft Lauderdale, Florida. I just finished up with Univ of New Mexico punter, Andre' Archuleta. He made great progress during our punting sessions last week. We identified areas Andre' needs to work on such as 'allowing his hands to work' quicker when adjusting his drop, shortening up his stepping pattern and maintaining a solid ankle lock through impact. Andre's leg strength will continue to increase once he embraces the workout regime he received with coaches Joey Diovisalvi and Jeff Fronk at D1 Athletic/Golf Gym in Jupiter, FL..


   I've been extremely impressed with the progress on Univ of Miami (FL) punter, Cameron Dean. He reminds me of St Louis Rams' All Pro punter Donnie Jones. I started working with Donnie in 2001 while he was at LSU. They have similar physiques and I truly feel Cam is way ahead of schedule. In addition to physical training, Cameron will be working with mind skills coach Michael Cooper from Human Performance Mentors in Boca Raton, FL. As long as Cam commits to getting focused, stronger and continues to embrace his S&P technique, there's no doubt you'll be seeing him punting for the Canes next fall.

    Probably the biggest surprise has been first time punter, Mike Navarro from Chicago, IL. Having never played organised football, Mike has one of the most 'live' legs I've seen in a long time. He is a rare natural. Mike is committed to taking advantage of coach Joey Diovisalvi's 21 point bio-mechanic evaluation and Jeff Fronk's strength and conditioning program. As long as Mike masters his version of the Set & Pull, we will definitely see him punting for a major university in the near future.

Good work boys - UG