Learn from your miss so that you make.

Every kicker wants to get their season off to a perfect start… and for kickers, I do mean a perfect start.

Sadly, for a half dozen NFL kickers, that just wasn’t the case as late game missed field goals cost their teams the game in Week 1.


OK, it’s just one play and how many other scoring or defensive mistakes were made in the 59 minutes and 56 seconds before that last second field goal attempt?

Am I right?

That’s right, but the truth is that everyone will remember your mistake (at least for a week). You will get to be the goat (and I don’t mean the G.O.A.T).  It’s just a right of passage for kickers of all abilities and at every level of football — NFL on down to pee wees.

Handling pressure, and better yet, handling an big miss is not for the feint of heart, nor the timid. You’ll feel down, but it’s crucial to get your mindset back to one of confidence.

“But how? I feel like crap…. and did you see it? I suck.”

The first thing is that on any miss, get to the sidelines and shake your Etch-a-Sketch clean. THINK…  first think that you may get a second chance and you better be ready to make that kick. There may yet be time on the clock. A big turnover, a freak play, maybe overtime, or, worst case, it ain’t happening til the next game.  No matter, you have to begin immediately to repair the damage. Can you honestly assess what went wrong without turning your head inside out? You need to. No one wants the “flaky” kicker. As soon as you can sit and think, put on your coaching cap and figure out what the issue was for the miss…

1. It actually was a bad snap, hold or blocking. Not sure i could have done anything to make the kick. (Then shake it off and be ready to go the next time. Your confidence shouldn’t be shattered. Trust your training and do it.)

2. It wasn’t them, it was me…

2a. I just miss hit it. Dumb steps, awkward timing, bad plant. It was so obvious. (Then shake it off and be ready to go the next time. Your confidence shouldn’t be shattered. Trust your training and do it.)

2b. It was ugly. I really shanked, hooked or sliced that one. I might be the worst kicker of all time. (Then shake it off and be ready to go the next time. Your confidence shouldn’t be shattered. Trust your training and do it… and when you get back to practice — really practice like you mean it. Stay simple. Keep yardage short. Focus on a good ball strike and driving though the ball. Are you walking to the post after your kick? You should be…. and regain your confidence to try again. your team is counting on you.)

And then you actually get a second chance to win the game. 

Doesn’t happen often, but in Week 1, Chris Boswell of the Pittsburgh Steelers was called upon to kick a 55 yard field goal to win a crucial divisional game against the Cincinnati Bengals. With just seconds to go, Boswell gets a “good strike” on the ball, but in a way that can easily happen at that distance… he his a “powerball” (a knuckler that can sometime “S-curve” in the wind). At that distance, it’s asking a lot of your ball to stay true when you got a little bit of your toe hitting the sweet spot and then that “third eyelet bone”. Chris is excited and over swings …and the ball comes to the loudest conclusion I’ve ever heard in game.

Instead of crying on the sidelines, he goes through the steps above. What it his line, the snapper, the holder? No.  Was it squarely on him? Yep.

Why? Terrible form? Awkward steps? No… just a little overexcited… next time, I’ll trust that I’ll have the distance and swing through the ball instead of overpowering it.

He just re-grouped and hoped that he’d get another chance.

He did, from almost the same spot (53 yards) and nailed it right through the uprights. That is impressive, and gives a coach all the ammo he needs to use him again and again.

The DOINK heard round the world… well, in Cincinnati anyway. 🙂

If you can’t view this because the NFL strips it from my blog, you can view Chris Boswells knuckleball DOINK at this URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W92a62xMv1E