Just for kicks: One-day camp targets kickers, punters, snappers

By Brannon King / For the FCT

Each year at the Russellville High School stadium, young football players get the opportunity to learn fundamentals from Coach Mike King and his staff of instructors at the Shoals Kicking Camp.

This year’s camp took place June 29, and about 40 kickers, punters and snappers from Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and as far away as Athens, Ga., came to RHS to learn drills and show their skills.  The camp is in its 27th year in northwest Alabama, and King shares his knowledge and experience with those who attend.

“Shoals Kicking Camp is the oldest privately-owned kicking camp in the Southeast and probably in the country, as far as privately-owned,” King said.  “We teach fundamentals, and we want them to be the best kickers they possibly can be by giving them some fundamentals and drills they can work on that will help them develop these skills.”

During a football game, kickers, punters and snappers play a key role in the outcome on the scoreboard, and they have a difficult job. “Kicking is a unique position because it’s kind of like a sniper in the military,” King explained. “He sits there all day long, staying calm, and then he has to run out there and kick a ball. They might get three to five 25-second plays, and that’s it. Sometimes it’s only one or two plays, and you really have to have a strong mental game to be able to function under those conditions when you’re playing a game that’s so competitive and so loud.

“Everybody wants to be yelling that we’ve got to make this kick, and half of the crowd is yelling that you better miss this kick.”

King said he was happy with the turnout at the one-day camp and was pleased with how things went overall. Coaches and players in this area have an opportunity to improve their teams by taking advantage of the opportunity to attend such a training session.

“There’s really no reason for anyone in northwest Alabama not to have a kicker, a snapper and a punter because we work on this every year, and we give private lessons, trying to help these young men out,” King said. “All they’ve got to do is find somebody to be motivated and to be willing to work a little bit at this.”

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