Whats in a kick? The main kick we use in Aussie Rules is called the drop punt. That in itself gives some clues that defines it from a drop kick, torpedo, or worm runner.
There are many components that go into doing a really sweet drop punt, and no doubt you’ve heard most of them. Head/shoulder positioning, balance arm placement, ball angle, drop height of ball, non-kicking foot placement, head position, run up speed, foot angle, even the size and inflation of the ball matter. But today, I will summarise to three important areas to focus on.
Ball Drop: The ball needs to hit your foot at a vertical angle to the ground. It can be held in different ways, but still needs to hit the foot at this angle. This will aid in the spin of the ball and therefore making it easier to mark. The more tilt you have on the ball, the greater the surface that will contact the boot and increase chance of the ball spinning off at a less controlled angle.
Experienced players may use the ball in this manner to gain different bends etc though for beginners it is best to keep it simple, keep it vertical. The drop height is usually from about waist height, though this may be tweaked to match the speed of your leg swing. As the name suggests, drop the ball. Just open the hand and release.
Ankle Lock: Lock your ankle in while your toes are pointing to the target. Many beginners point their toes to the sky and you will likely be sending the ball more on an upwards trajectory rather than down the pitch to your teammate, or through the big sticks.
If you consider banging in a fencepost with a tennis racquet or a cricket bat. It can be done with the racquet, just won’t be as good. You can kick the ball without locking in your ankle, but it won’t travel as well.
Landing Foot: An important part of the kicking action that is often forgotten, is to land forward. After your leg swings through and makes contact with the ball, ensure your weight transfers forward and you land on that foot. This aids in kicking through the ball, gaining more distance on your kick, better accuracy and brings your bodyweight through to put you into a forward running position, to then be an option up the field, making use of that momentum.
Apart from really refining some aspects of the kick routine, try to always practice the kick with a few steps prior and a few steps after the leg swing. Our biggest error is teaching from a stationery position and then continuing that as training when this game is all about movement, and therefore kicking on the run becomes a very important skill. That kicking leg should always swing in the direction of your target, following through from those pointed toes.
Get these three parts right and you are well on your way to hearing that sweet kicking sound!
- Disclaimer: I grew up on a farm and do not advise using a cricket bat or tennis racquet to bang in fence posts. You probably won’t be finished in time for milking.