How To Kick An AFL Football Further
How do you kick a booming drop punt like Brendon Goddard, Luke Hodge, Michael Hurley and Shannon Hurn?
Kicking an Australian rules football long distances is a combination of power, range of motion, stability and technique. Proficiency in all 4 areas is vital in becoming a long kick.
Get More Powerful
Absolute power (particularly through the hips) is key to kicking long distances - all the best kicker have tremendous strength through the hips. Whether you are naturally gifted in this area or the complete opposite, you can always further improve you power.
Power is a combination of strength and speed. If you are weak, but fast then you'll get the most benefit from improving your strength (that doesn't mean you should neglect your speed). If you are strong but slow then you'll get the most benefit from improving your speed.
Strength is best improved in the weights room, with particular focus on lower body compound exercises. An example of key exercises that will help you achieve this are:
- Single Leg Split Squats
- Reverse Hyper-Extensions
- Romanian Deadlifts
- Good mornings
- Olympic Lifts modfications (Power Clean and Power Snatch)
Mark Rippetoe's and Starting Strength Starting Strength Wiki are great resources to learn more about strength training and how to structure a routine if you are a beginner or novice. If you are unable to get access to a weights room, there's still plenty you can achieve with just your body weight. See the links below for some challenging body weight strength movements that will help you improve your power.
Speed is best improved through plyometrics (exercises like broad jumps, vertical jumps and box jumps - see this article on plyometrics for more great exercises), short sprint training (see this article on how to implement speed training), light resistance training (speed squats, speed deadlifts, jump squats) and Olympic Lifts modifications.
Kelly Baggett's is a good resource for those that are interested in learning more about improving power output and vertical jump in particular. Vertical Jump Bible
Improve your Range of Motion
Without good range of motion you may not be able to generate enough speed from transfer maximum power through impact and also leave yourself more susceptible to injury when.
A combination of static stretching of the hip flexors, quadriceps, groin, hamstrings and ITB and dynamic stretching to improve hip mobility in all directions (front-back, side-side and rotational) will be of most benefit.
Leg Swings are the most directly applicable exercise, but there are a number of other good hip mobility exercises that will help you achieve these goals including:
Improve Your Core Stability
Improve Your Technique
Kicking technique is paramount to being a prodigious kick. You can have all the aforementioned qualities in bucket loads, all of which can help you achieve good technique (you need a baseline level of power and mobility to be able to kick a football), but without the efficient technique to transfer it to the ball, you will never be able to live up to your potential and be able to kick great distances.
The following link has some good technical advice regarding kicking drop punts:
The Punt Kick is an excellent resource those with further interest in coaching and improving kicking technique.
The book covers all the important components of kicking technique in depth, including stance, aim, approach, final stride, ball set and drop, priming the kicking leg, leg drive, impact and follow through.
If you are interested in tips on improving your fitness for AFL football check out FITFOOTY