When it comes to the rather technical skill of kicking, it is critical that you as a coach view the process as a Whole of Body Movement, not merely a swing of the kicking leg.
This “whole of body” movement requires various segments of the body to move (and rotate) in a particular order (optimal progression). It’s critical that these body segments work as a team & in the right order, to establish control and quality contact with the kicking foot. It is also a known fact, through some research, that kicking is responsive to a wide range of constraints related to the *Player, *Task and the *Environment. For more on Practice Design to enhance learning and performance please click here for a recent article with contribution from Mark Upton of Sports Relations.
Players that kick with this WOBM are those you will recognise as “Fluent”, “Controlled”, “Smooth” & “Compact”
often appearing to kick effortlessly even late in a match when surely fatigued. This is a path of which I aim to travel with all players I work with, but varying circumstances can produce varying results. You must be patient as this is a process you need to competently facilitate.
One constant in a skilful kicker’s action is great timing at contact. It is a trademark of the “Whole of Body” kicking system. Made up of a number of important elements, namely “Arrival at Tee” and “Foot Speed”, optimal timing allows for greater control over outcomes and for the body to ‘efficiently’ create the movements. These efficient movements are ideal in that they use no more energy than is required to effectively complete the task.
Other areas of consideration that affect kicking performance include:
* Balance Control in the Support Leg
* Constraint of Range of Motion (particularly in novice kickers)
* Overall Control Over Balance and Posture
It should be our aim as coaches, to monitor and improve our players in this ‘mechanical’ (physical) area. Close relationships with your players and an understanding of movement principles will greatly assist the development of quality system and process. After all that is what kicking is!
Please watch the video presentation below for a more detailed explanation of “Whole of Body Movement” and its importance in effective kicking outcomes for rugby players.
By Stuart Lierich
Specialist Kicking Coach