The extent of the Bulldogs' inaccuracy - petsitterbank

The extent of the Bulldogs’ inaccuracy

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The second point is that, contrary to assumptions in recent years, players are significantly more accurate using a snap set shot, kicking the ball across the body at 90 degrees even when right in front of goal, than they are using a drop punt.

Wheadon says the standard line of inquiry when a team kicks poorly is to query how much time players are working on goal-kicking at training.

“For some players you might just be putting repetition into inaccuracy – go out and practice my slice,” Wheadon said.

So, the aim must be to make sure the technique is effective. Kick the ball higher and with more rotations to get a more accurate kick.

Some players routinely kick unerringly in practice. But there are not 50,000 people in the stands at practice sweating on the kick.

The player at training is also not shouldering the cumulative pressure of his teammates’ missed shots with the opposition seemingly kicking them at will, as happened in the Collingwood-West Coast game.

So goal-kicking is about routine that works, visualization, relaxation and momentum.

“Picture in your mind of what you are aiming at – small target, small miss,” Wheadon said. “Josh Kennedy picks the corner of a letter on the stadium and kicks to that point. Not even a letter, the corner of a letter. The smallest possible target you can get.

“The most common mistake in set-shot goal kicking technically is to run off-line. Some players will run off-line from 30 meters out so, it’s not about trying to get distance. Watch the great ones, Kennedy, Darling, Ben Brown, Luke Breust: they all run straight.

“If you run straight, drop the ball straight, and swing your leg straight, it’s more likely to go straight. If you run off-line and swing your leg across your body, it’s more likely to go off-line.

“Four things can happen: you hit the outside of the ball and hook it, you swing your leg across the inside of your body and you slice it, you kick it where you want and it goes dead straight, or you hit it well and it goes the way you are running – and you miss.”

Then it’s about momentum transfer. Why do lawn bowlers crouch down and walk straight after a bowl? It’s body weight transfer and momentum, said Wheadon.

“Jimmy Bartel was fantastic. Peter McKenna used to keep running at the man on the mark after he kicked it, “he said. “They are body kickers rather than leg kickers, who slow up and rotate the leg quickly to get power.

“Tommy Hawkins jumps, and it’s very hard to jump sideways when you are kicking, so he jumps in a straight line.”

Momentum is true not just of the kick but the impact it has on the team. Nothing lifts momentum more than kicking the goal. Noting deflates it more than missing and the opposition scoring.

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