Learn To Look Away.
Whenever you are competing for a starting role on your football team or about to go head to head against a top kicking prospect or punting prospect with scouts in the stands, LOOK AWAY.
During a stressful situation our body releases a chemical into our body called adrenaline. Adrenaline can lead to a raised heart rate, memory loss, loss of focus. Our brain basically becomes ultra vulnerable at this point leading to a place kicker or punter to make simple mistakes.
What makes matters worse is what our brains are already programmed with flaws. For instance, Psychologist say that we are inherently wanting to copy those who we are currently studying, or respect, or hate, such as our competition. Psychologists call this affect mirroring.
Here is how psychologist describe it in their “scientific way”.
Mirroring is the behaviour in which one person subconsciously imitates the gesture, speech pattern, or attitude of another. Mirroring often occurs in social situations, particularly in the company of close friends or family (how about a stadium full of them). The concept often affects other individuals' notions about the individual that is exhibiting mirroring behaviors, which can lead to the individual building rapport with others.
Mirroring is the subconscious replication of another person's nonverbal signals. This concept takes place in everyday interactions, and often goes unnoticed by both the person enacting the mirroring behaviors as well as the individual who is being mirrored. The activation of mirror neurons takes place within the individual who begins to mirror another's movements, and allows them a greater connection and understanding with the individual who they are mirroring, as well as allowing the individual who is being mirrored to feel a stronger connection with the other individual. Mirroring is distinct from conscious imitation under the premise that while the latter is a conscious, typically overt effort to copy another person, mirroring is subconsciously done during the act and often goes unnoticed.
Back to Football
So now our brain has fired this chemical and physiological cocktail through our veins and nervous system of Adrenaline where we become more susceptible to subconscious behavior like mirroring. Our brain has basically been weakened and have lost our brains focus on what our ultimate goal is (performing our kicking or punting technique perfectly). Now our brain begins to take much easier to this Mirroring affect leading us to copy the bad habits from our competition. All that time we put in the off season working our tails off disappears and we start kicking like the other guy. So to combat this, learn to look away when your competition kicks a ball. Put your back to them during their rep and get into a zone where you are fully focused on Your Technique. When coach calls your name, step up and get in that killer mindset of performing your technique at the highest level. You don’t have the added stress of trying to “Beat” their kick because you weren’t watching so you don’t know what the other guy did. All you can do is control you. As a football punter or kicker you have to learn to only worry about controlling what you can control and performing to the best of your ability.
When Competing for a Kicking or Punting Position
Look away from your competition during their rep.
Get into your own zone to focus while your back is turned.
When your name is called, step up and get into that "killer mindset"!
Remind yourself of something simple in your stance "Keep your head down".
Take your moment you have been training for this. Be confident in your technique!