How to fix goal kicking in the modern game

Summer Nights

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Jul 11, 2010
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Goal kicking in the modern game has not improved upon generations past. We all know this.

When you have an oval ball being dropped longways onto a foot about 8-10 cm in width that is also somewhat rounded, things are bound to go sideways with such a small margin for error.

I'm really surprised that nobody has tried this in the AFL but I used to do it in school with great success and I'm sure it's been done by the odd guy in bush leagues.

This technique drastically improves set shot accuracy at short to mid ranges. I'd only recommend it at 40 metres or less as it generates a lots of wind resistance.

If you hold the ball sideways with your preferred hand so that the ends point left and right and just kick through the centre of the underbelly, it's hard to not kick straight. You do need to kick high and it can result in less predictable distances because the ball doesn't cut through the air like a regular punt, but it results in much better accuracy. It can create "drift" but reduces "swing".

Think about how close to the posts a banana kick from the boundary usually gets - it's because the player is kicking the chunkier underside of the ball, providing more control.

I guarantee the average player's conversion rate lifts 10% with this technique.
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74561347

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Apr 3, 2016
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Goal kicking in the modern game has not improved upon generations past. We all know this.

When you have an oval ball being dropped longways onto a foot about 8-10 cm in width that is also somewhat rounded, things are bound to go sideways with such a small margin for error.

I'm really surprised that nobody has tried this in the AFL but I used to do it in school with great success and I'm sure it's been done by the odd guy in bush leagues.

This technique drastically improves set shot accuracy at short to mid ranges. I'd only recommend it at 40 metres or less as it generates a lots of wind resistance.

If you hold the ball sideways with your preferred hand so that the ends point left and right and just kick through the centre of the underbelly, it's hard to not kick straight. You do need to kick high and it can result in less predictable distances because the ball doesn't cut through the air like a regular punt, but it results in much better accuracy. It can create "drift" but reduces "swing".

Think about how close to the posts a banana kick from the boundary usually gets - it's because the player is kicking the chunkier underside of the ball, providing more control.

I guarantee the average player's conversion rate lifts 10% with this technique.
View attachment 400995
more practice

less suit surfing

problem solved
 

Rabman

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Mandatory every club has a goal kicking coach, would help a lot.
 

Doss

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Could you really kick it 50 metres kicking it in such a fashion though?

I agree that the ball does go much straighter when kicked that way, but getting a smooth run up and then almost 'cupping' the ball in your hand in the way that is necessary to drop it like that doesn't really lend itself to particularly long kicking.
 

Great8

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Mandatory every club has a goal kicking coach, would help a lot.
This and practice far more despite what the medical staff have to say.
Only have to talk to many of the better goal kickers and they will tell you they spent hours each day taking set shots. Compare that to now and you hear guys like Carey, Lloyd and Brian Taylor say that they only get small windows to work with players and that they are only allowed x amount of shots at practice as to not interfere with the high performance teams data
 

TBellicious

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Sep 4, 2013
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First step is to fix the goals at Etihad.

They are the width of the ball narrower on both sides than any other ground in the comp.
 

sprockets

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Spin on the ball helps direct where it goes. Kicking it in the 'belly' won't get that spin. Think golf ball with the dimples.
 

demondavey

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Apr 18, 2005
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Could you really kick it 50 metres kicking it in such a fashion though?

I agree that the ball does go much straighter when kicked that way, but getting a smooth run up and then almost 'cupping' the ball in your hand in the way that is necessary to drop it like that doesn't really lend itself to particularly long kicking.
I think you've made a good point re run up. You couldn't build up momentum running and holding the ball that way.
 

Summer Nights

Very stable genius
Jul 11, 2010
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Could you really kick it 50 metres kicking it in such a fashion though?

I agree that the ball does go much straighter when kicked that way, but getting a smooth run up and then almost 'cupping' the ball in your hand in the way that is necessary to drop it like that doesn't really lend itself to particularly long kicking.
It wouldn't work at that distance. As per the OP, it's better for short to medium distances up to 40m (max).
 

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harrythetiger

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Do we really care? If one club starts to value it over other things, they'll work something out and then if it works everyone else will copy them.
 

The_Steadier

Norm Smith Medallist
May 6, 2009
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Tony Lockett was the best set shot in history.

He also spent his entire career doing practically nothing more than 20, 20 metre sprints out of the goal square each week.

Same applies to every other top goalkicker before sports science took over circa 15 years ago.

Today's current players have remarkable goal kicking accuracy.
Given they are often having shots after running a dozen kms and have their heart beating out of their chest at 180bpm.

The best thing an AFL club could do to improve goal kicking has nothing to do with technique fiddling that a 'goal kicking coach' like BT or someone would do.

Wanna improve goalkicking?
Go find one of these winter olympics biathlon experts.
Where they go from extreme endurance skiing... to needing to steady to shoot a gun at a tiny target... all while their body is screaming at them
 

Football Tragic

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Nov 11, 2010
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Problem
I've thought about the goal kicking problem myself. Most of the inaccuracy in recent years seems to be due to fatigue. In the past forwards would stay in the F50, lead & mark and then (when they were finally ready) kick for goal. Today forwards are desperately trying to lock down their opponent, create pressure and force turn overs. By the time they get the ball they are frequently exhausted.

Similarly, there are a lot more rotating midfielders 'resting' forward now days and midfielders pushing into the forwardline after running off their opponents. This also means they are fatigued by the time they kick for goal.

Lastly the amount of defenders and opposition midfielders who flood the forwardline now is considerable. This puts far more pressure on 'snap' or crumbed goals too. So all in all this is why teams frequently kick more points than goals now days.

Possible Solution
My idea to improve the situation is to train for it. We all hear how conditioning coaches don't allow players to spend great deal of time practicing the skill in fear of injury. I think this is ridiculous. Instead of telling players that they can not practice after training kicking for goal, I would integrate the goal kicking throughout the training. In other words, I would have them do their repeat sprints and cadio drills and then get them to kick for goal. Lock in routines and get them practicing their goal kicking under the same duress they would experience during a real game.

It makes perfect sense to me. With every other game-day skill or tactic we try and emulate it during training - why not Goal Kicking?
 

Wallaby

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Found this.

Analysis of scoring shots and conversion rates by quarter from 2008 to 2014.

http://www.matterofstats.com/mafl-stats-journal/2014/9/9/when-do-afl-teams-score

Basically it shows that Q1 has the worst conversion rate (goals/behinds). Q2, Q3 and Q4 are basically identical. That would seem to go against the accepted wisdom that 'players get tired'. If that was true, then:
a) The first quarter would have the best conversion rate,
b) The conversion rate would decrease as the game goes on.

The first season where total conversion rates (all teams H&A) went over 50% was 1967. The next was 1975.

Since 1975, the only time goalkicking was below 50% was 1981.
Conversion %age rose steadily until 2005 (Peak was 2000 - the only year with above 55%. Then hovered around the 54% for a few years.).
In 2006, it dropped significantly back to 52%. Since then it has been around the 52-53% mark.
2017 - 52.5% so far.

The 'goalkicking has become worse' argument doesn't stack up. Goalkicking is a skill - it is far harder than NRL-type place-kicking. (I think the AFL should ban place-kicking for that reason).
 

The_Steadier

Norm Smith Medallist
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Found this.

Analysis of scoring shots and conversion rates by quarter from 2008 to 2014.

http://www.matterofstats.com/mafl-stats-journal/2014/9/9/when-do-afl-teams-score

Basically it shows that Q1 has the worst conversion rate (goals/behinds). Q2, Q3 and Q4 are basically identical. That would seem to go against the accepted wisdom that 'players get tired'. If that was true, then:
a) The first quarter would have the best conversion rate,
b) The conversion rate would decrease as the game goes on.

The first season where total conversion rates (all teams H&A) went over 50% was 1967. The next was 1975.

Since 1975, the only time goalkicking was below 50% was 1981.
Conversion %age rose steadily until 2005 (Peak was 2000 - the only year with above 55%. Then hovered around the 54% for a few years.).
In 2006, it dropped significantly back to 52%. Since then it has been around the 52-53% mark.
2017 - 52.5% so far.

The 'goalkicking has become worse' argument doesn't stack up. Goalkicking is a skill - it is far harder than NRL-type place-kicking. (I think the AFL should ban place-kicking for that reason).
Why is goal kicking a different skill to kicking a ball to a teammate?

Goal kicking isn't a skill, kicking is.
 

The Gong

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Oct 24, 2012
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Found this.

Analysis of scoring shots and conversion rates by quarter from 2008 to 2014.

http://www.matterofstats.com/mafl-stats-journal/2014/9/9/when-do-afl-teams-score

Basically it shows that Q1 has the worst conversion rate (goals/behinds). Q2, Q3 and Q4 are basically identical. That would seem to go against the accepted wisdom that 'players get tired'. If that was true, then:
a) The first quarter would have the best conversion rate,
b) The conversion rate would decrease as the game goes on.

The first season where total conversion rates (all teams H&A) went over 50% was 1967. The next was 1975.

Since 1975, the only time goalkicking was below 50% was 1981.
Conversion %age rose steadily until 2005 (Peak was 2000 - the only year with above 55%. Then hovered around the 54% for a few years.).
In 2006, it dropped significantly back to 52%. Since then it has been around the 52-53% mark.
2017 - 52.5% so far.

The 'goalkicking has become worse' argument doesn't stack up. Goalkicking is a skill - it is far harder than NRL-type place-kicking. (I think the AFL should ban place-kicking for that reason).
I was about to ask for the stats and here they are.

Funny how everything was supposedly better in the olden days. Another myth busted.
 

Hungdaddy

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I wish Clarkson would give Langford his blessings to try a torpedo or this sideways kick next time he lines up. Surely trying something different if you've got a serious case of the yips is a reasonable idea.
 

mish33

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Feb 19, 2008
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Why is goal kicking a different skill to kicking a ball to a teammate?

Goal kicking isn't a skill, kicking is.
The usual field kick, which players practise regularly, is a lot flatter than a set shot for goal where you have to kick over the man on the mark. I reckon it is a lack of practice of this type of kicking that may cause some missed attempts. Probably why many midfielders are better kicks at goal when on the run too.
 

MC Bad Genius

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Apr 15, 2008
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I've been thinking about this for a while, but surely someone could do a statistical analysis of where shots at goal are coming from. My gut instinct is that players are trying to kick goals from longer distances, tighter angles and with more pressure than in years passed. So although kicking might be getting better, players are pushing themselves to attempt even harder kicks.
 

The Gong

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Oct 24, 2012
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Any stats on kicking position? Is it possible with more flooding in the 50 that players are forced to kick further for goal on average in the modern game. Just a hypothesis.
 

The Gong

Norm Smith Medallist
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I've been thinking about this for a while, but surely someone could do a statistical analysis of where shots at goal are coming from. My gut instinct is that players are trying to kick goals from longer distances, tighter angles and with more pressure than in years passed. So although kicking might be getting better, players are pushing themselves to attempt even harder kicks.
Snap!
 

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