WILMINGTON— Hoggard football has a long tradition of excellence in the third facet of the game, which is special teams play and, in particular, it’s kicking game. With alum Connor Barth — now in his ninth NFL season — establishing what has become a long list of solid kickers to come out of the Vikings’ program, Port City Daily’s latest Facebook LIVE broadcast took sports reporter Joe Cats to Shipyard Boulevard this week to learn the ins and outs of kicking a field goal.
Mastering the art of field goal kicking takes time, patience and hours of hard work, but the basic techniques are somewhat simple for any athlete. Ultimately, hours of repetition, practice and communication leads to success in any sport, especially between the three key personnel used to convert a successful attempt.
Leading up to Hoggard’s practice on Wednesday, sophomore kicker Jeremiah Kim joined Cats along with long snapper Bryant Sasser and holder C.J. Pipkin as they talked about each person’s responsibility during a typical field goal try.
The intricacy of a solid specialty unit is three pronged and it starts with the center. A good snap is of the utmost importance during every offensive play on the football field and crucial to the success of a quality kick.
Secondly, the holder must be able to get the ball down, ideally with the laces of the football facing the uprights. Lining up the laces so they are facing the field goal prevents the laces from interfering with the direction of the ball. It also allows you to kick the ball on the back seams, the spot which creates maximum compression when kicked. Maximum compression ensures the football will travel farther and higher.
While the snap and hold must be a split-second reaction from the two players helping set up a good attempt, the kicker’s focus begins before the snap and contains various steps before actually kicking the football.
It’s hard to believe there is no much involved in the proper technique of kicking a football. With that said, next time you see the kicker warming up along the sidelines preparing for his next opportunity, remember the process of what it takes to properly get the football through the uprights isn’t as easy as it looks and takes hard work and dedication to the craft.