Updated: Sep 12
In part 1 of this series I will share everything you need to know to prepare yourself to have the best season of your career - no matter what level of footy you play.
In this post I will answer the main areas of kicking for the off-season:
Introduction into the Off-season for AFL Footy
The footy off-season can be a tricky period for a lot of people. Often players don't know what they should be doing and how they should be doing it. As a High Performance Manager (MS in High Performance Sport, BS in Sport Science, Accredited Strength & Conditioning Coach) I'm here to provide guidance so you can attack the off-season with confidence!
There is a lot of information out there about how you should be training for footy. Some good. Some crap. Social media can be deceptive. Fancy videos that boost engagement and increase follower count can make a person seem credible, when in fact they have little accreditations at all! Don't fall victim to that. Find reputable sources of information from people with knowledge and experience in the industry.
This series can be your source of information for the best training advice on kicking, running, resistance training and more!
Melbourne Demons young gun, Kade Chandler working on his technique with me last off-season.
The off-season is the time to reflect on your past season, set goals, work on your deficiencies and bolster your strengths.
As a former GWS Giant in the AFL, I understand the importance of giving yourself time to rest and recharge before getting straight back into training. So I suggest giving yourself 2-3 weeks away from football-related activity to recover both physically and mentally. Play other sports, travel, enjoy yourself. If you are anything like I was, this will make you hungrier to get back into it when the time comes!
How Much Kicking Should Be Done In The AFL Off-season
Once you are refreshed and ready to get back into it, you can introduce kicking technique training.
The off-season is a great time to make significant changes to your technique that you would not do during the season. This can include adjusting your grip, changing your set shot routine, and working on ways to add more distance and penetration to your kick.
My suggestion is that you aim to do little bits of training often. Avoid long, drawn-out kicking sessions that wear you out to a point where you are just practicing bad habits. Performing kicking training under fatigue has it place, but not at this time. You want to be focused and attentive when working on your technique.
Aim to complete 10-20 minutes per day for at least 3-5 sessions a week. This can be made up of kicking and "non-kicking drills" such as ball guides, ball drops, ball handling skills, stability swings and more. Non-kicking drills are great because they are not taxing on the body and can done anywhere. You can do these drills as much as you like!
How to Improve Your Kicking Technique for AFL Footy
To improve your technique firstly you must identify what issues you have.
The most common issues I have seen after thousands of hours of kicking coaching include:
Hand placement on the ball
Lack of guiding the ball causing it to lean back too much at contact
Instability in the core/plant leg
The first thing I suggest is that you record yourself kicking. Aim to get 5 videos of yourself kicking from the side and 5 from the front. This will allow you to identify any inconsistencies in your technique. Do this for every type of kick you want to improve (ie. On the run, opposite foot, set shot goal kicking, kicking for distance etc.)
Then find footage of players with good techniques and identify what they do well and how you can emulate them.
I love biomechanics, and after being a punter in American Football in the United States for 5 years I am an expert at video analysis. I can provide you with tips and drills you can do to improve your individual technique through my AFL Training Program.
Or you can download my comprehensive kicking guide which includes tips, drills and video demonstrations in all one place to improve your individual technique.
How to Improve Your AFL Kicking on Your Own
If you were like me and love kicking the footy way more than your friends and family members, then you need to come up with way to practice your kicking by yourself.
I grew up on a farm kilometres from my nearest neighbors. My older brother was away at boarding school and my parents worked late. So I would kick the footy by myself. I got creative and would kick the ball onto our house. The slanted roof would allow it to roll off so I could practice my kicking and overhead marking. I also turned our trampoline on its side and would kick into that repeatedly and gather the ground ball as it it were a rebound net.
One way that might work for you is to kick into a net such as a soccer goal at your local park. This allows you to get a lot of reps in during a short period of time, as you do not have to go and retrieve the ball after each kick. Watch the video below to see it in action with a player I worked with:
This also allows you to focus on the process of your technique without worrying about the result. This can be beneficial as often when adjusting your technique it is 1 step back to go 2 steps forward. Without seeing the result of your kick you can keep working on the process and not be deterred by the results.
Knowing how to undertake the footy off-season to get the best results without overloading and burning out can be tricky. Take the advice from this post to get the most out of your technique this off-season so you can have more confidence in your kicking next season!
Give yourself a physical and mental rest from footy for 2-3 weeks
Film your kicking technique and learn where you need to improve
Complete a small amount of kicks often (10-20 minutes for 3-5 sessions per week)
Do non-kicking drills as much as possible
Get creative in your kicking drills
Apply these principles to your training and let me know how you go. Share this post with someone you know and if you have any questions comment them below.
Want a comprehensive Off/Pre-Season Training Program that incorporates kicking technique training? Click the button below
Click here for part 2 of The Ultimate AFL Off-Season Training Guide where I provide valuable information about cardio training and running.
The Kicking Consultant aka Josh Growden is a High Performance Manager & expert kicking coach, making elite-level coaching accessible and affordable to all - not just the professionals. He holds a Masters degree in High Performance Sport from the University of Technology Sydney, and a Bachelors degree in Sports Science from Louisiana State University. He played for the GWS Giants when they first entered the AFL and then became a punter for American Football where he played in front of 100,000 people weekly!