Increasingly, we’re witnessing how many kickers are not performing satisfactorily at all levels of football. To put it bluntly, many kickers are causing many teams to lose. Although it’s kind to say that “we win as a team and we lose as a team,” the reality is one player can cause the team to lose. As a football and basketball coach, I know how important it is to teach your players about teamwork and winning and losing as a team. However, as a successful young coach, I’ve learned that it’s vital to hold a player accountable for the things he does on the field or court. It’s not always the team that does not do what it is supposed to do, but it is often an individual player who does not do what he is supposed to do. Coaches must hold a player accountable and not the team accountable when a player does not do the things he needs to do to help the team win. Without question, many kickers are costing teams games they should win.
It’s understandable if a kicker misses a 40 yard field goal or longer. However, when a kicker misses a short 25 or 30 yard field goal, it’s completely unacceptable. Missing an extra point is unpardonable. Kickers need to understand that they need to work as hard as anyone else on the team to be ready to execute the tasks they are asked to perform during a game. We’re all going to make mistakes, but missing a short field goal is something a kicker should not do during a game. One cannot even begin to defend a kicker who misses an extra point.
We’re learning just how valuable kickers are to the game of football.
When punting the ball, it’s essential for kickers to make an effective punt to put the opposing offense in a spot on the field that is unfavorable for the opposing team. During the kickoff, they need to put the ball in a spot that is going to make it most difficult for the opposing team to be able to get good field position.
Many coaches are going to have to put greater emphasis on establishing and maintaining a good kicking game. While we don’t want to cause a kicker to commit suicide because of a missed field goal or extra point that resulted in a loss for his team, coaches are going to have make sure that a kicker is just as ready for each game as any other player is.
While most people who desire to play football want to be a quarterback, running back, wide receiver, or some other high profile position player, it’s a good time for you to become a kicker because you could make a significant amount of money right now, considering there’s a dearth of good kickers currently playing the game.
If you have a good kicker on your team, make sure you let him know how much you appreciate him. If you have a struggling kicker on your team, then let him know how vital his improvement is to your team being able to be successful.
Antonio Maurice Daniels
University of Wisconsin-Madison