Learn some field goal basics to get you off on the right foot

Elvis Elvis

Learning the correct field goal basics in your approach, positioning, and follow-through of the kick, are the keys to consistent success. It is very important to learn and become consistent with these fundamentals. Doing so will help you become comfortable with both your movements and your ability to control the results.

Once you feel comfortable with the mechanics of correctly kicking a field goal, you may introduce subtle changes to establish an individualized style that works best for you. It is essential, however, to always apply the same kicking technique to every field goal attempt.

Optimum kicking position of the football.

When preparing to kick the football, it is vital to make sure that the ball is in your optimum kicking position. As a kicker, it is best to use the same teammate to hold the football on every field goal attempt. This helps to assure that the placement of the ball will be consistently correct.

Position the football on the tee with the laces pointing away from you, toward the goal posts. Lean the top of the football slightly toward you. After your consistent form has been established, the amount of lean on the ball will be your decision and the ball holder must be able to accommodate your requirements intuitively during game play.

Field goal basics suggest that when the laces of the football are turned away from you and you kick the seam on the opposite side, the football will travel the farthest. If the football is incorrectly positioned and the ball’s laces are turned to the side or directly facing you, it will shorten the distance the football travels and will force the ball either wide left or wide right. The lean of the football, if incorrect, will also affect your ability to get the needed height after kicking the ball.

Learn some field goal basics to get you off on the right foot

Field goal basics on where you should start.

Once you’ve determined the football placement seven yards behind the line of scrimmage, you’ll want to position yourself to correctly kick the ball. Before you can take the essential three steps toward the football, you must first move backward away from the ball. Take two to four normal-size steps back, then two normal steps sideways, in the opposite direction of your kicking foot. In other words, if you are a right-footed kicker you will move sideways to the left.

You will also need to align your shoulders and hips so that you are in a straight line with your intended target. Now, you are ready to kick a field goal using a three-step diagonal approach.

Three steps of the approach.

There are essentially three steps of approach when preparing to kick a field goal. The first step starts your momentum and is called the ‘jab step’. This step is done with your non-kicking foot and is barely a step at all. The ‘jab step’ is simply a very small step or a step in place, putting your foot back down where it originally started.

The second step of the approach is your first normal-sized step and is done with your kicking foot. As your foot reaches the ground, you need to turn your foot slightly toward your target spot on the ball. This is called ‘pre-locking your foot’.

The third and final step of your approach is called the ‘plant step’. This step is slightly longer than your normal stride and should firmly be planted five to seven inches beside the football as you begin your leg kick.

The kicking tee and how it relates to your kick.

The length of the tee that you are using determines the exact placement of your ‘plant step’. In the NFL and College games, where no tee is used, the ankle of the plant foot is positioned to the side and extends past the ball in order to get the necessary height.

TheIn high school games, using a 2” tee, your “plant step” should land so that your toes extend past the football to achieve the needed lift. When using a 1” tee, your ‘plant step’ should land so that the middle of the arch of your foot is even with the ball.

Kicking the football.

When it comes to field goal basics, it is very important to keep your head down and your eyes on the ball, while keeping your body square to the goal posts at all times.

Make contact with the ball using the inside top of your foot or on your shoelaces. Contact with the football should be near its bottom. Kick through the ball – not at it.

The ball should be kicked using a soccer-style, rather than a straight-on-with-your-toes, technique. When using your toes to kick the ball, much of your control is lost. Young players often use the toe-kicking method until their legs have strengthened enough to use the correct kicking technique. They then adjust to the proper form as they mature.

It is recommended that you use proper field goal basics, specifically the soccer-style kicking technique, because it is difficult to change an incorrect form that you’re accustomed to at a later date.

The essential follow-through.

The follow-through is an essential part of field goal basics. The follow-through is the continuation of your leg up into the air after you’ve made contact with the ball – kicking through the ball toward your target. The higher your follow-through after the ball is kicked, the higher the ball will travel.

Essentially, think of follow-through field goal basics as being similar to that of slowly bringing your car to a stop by using its brakes. Stopping your car gradually keeps your car in line and applies little stress to the car’s components. Slamming the brakes hard causes the car to spin out, and is more likely to cause harm to its components.

The follow-through is similar. By quickly stopping your leg upon contact with the football prevents you from getting your full power behind the kick, as you’re using some of that power to stop your leg. It also causes you to change your technique, causing the ball to fly in an unintended direction.

You want to apply the brakes to your leg once the ball is clear of your foot – minimizing the likelihood of injury and maximizing both distance and accuracy.