The Reason for Poor Goal Kicking

Sentinel

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What stats don't lie? There are no stats earlier than 2000 on set shots.


I must admit though, I did simply assume it is worse.


Interestingly though...

The figure in 2000 for set shot conversion was 58.9%. By 2015 it had increased to 62.3%. So it improved from 2000 to 2015. However in 2000, 49 per cent of kicks for goal were from set shots whilst in 2015 it had come down to only 45.7%.

So let's put that into perspective...

Hypothetically, if a team had 20 shots at goal on a day in 2000 they would have had 9.8 set shots for the day, and converted 5.7 of them. So they missed 4.1 set shots.

In 2015, they'd have only had 9.1 set shots for the day and converted 5.6 of them. They'd have missed 3.5 of their set shots.

So although the 3.4% increase in set shot conversion seems quite high, in practical terms, it's less than 1 miss better. Better, but not much better at all.
The stats I'm talking about are the historical data for goals vs behinds. Whilst it's not a flawless model due to factors already discussed, it displays a pretty clear trend that goals are continuing to be scored at a higher rate than behinds, and a natural link to that is accuracy of goal kicking.

Those stats from 2000 - 2015 would also support the view that goal kicking is actually improving rather than going backwards. You didn't actually specify in the OP that this discussion was for set shots only (as opposed to also including 'in-play' shots on goal) but regardless, that 3.4% increase between 2000 and 2015 stands no matter the frequency of set shots vs others.
 

Wallaby

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I think there are a couple of reasons why set-shot goal-kicking seems to be not great.

1. The set-shot kick is different to most kicks players do during the game. Most kicks are on the run, or umps saying 'move it on quickly'. An in-play kick only has to be accurate to an area about 10-15 metres wide, and it looks ok - your teammate will run onto it, and hide the deficiency. A set shot is generally after a rest, a slow walk up after a standing start. It needs to be practiced - as a set shot. That means - stop, walk back, take a breath, have someone standing the mark, kick the goal. A lot of players do not practise a set goal shot - they just practise kicking. Also, if you have a 30-metre shot, use a 35-metre kick. A technique for a shorter kick will ALWAYS be more controlled. But players don't practise them, then during the game they pull something out trying to stab a half-distance shot, yip it, and the commentators start wittering on about 'kicking through the ball etc'. All us amateur golfers know it's easier to hit a 30-40 metre chip/pitch than a 5-10 metre one - the short one is where we will stab/twitch/poke etc. The pros don't because they practise that shot.

2. Players develop bad habits in kicking from a very young age - we run around the backyard and at school trying to kick the ball as hard as we can from the age of 3 or 4, and develop rubbish techniques (particularly the 'big wind-up wave the ball around before the ball drop', and 'run in a curve' (the Buddy arc) - we all did variations on these growing up, we all still do them under stress or in game situations because they are the most comfortable.
I find it interesting that Mason Cox is a reasonable shot for goal. He never learned bad habits as a kid, and was taught from scratch as an adult - ie 'this is how you kick'. Result - his kicking looks a bit awkward, stiff and unnatural, but it is fundamentally sound.

In baseball, pitchers have to be taught how to throw properly (they get taught as kids). The 'natural' throwing action is fine for mucking around in the backyard (or even playing the outfield), but to be a pro-level pitcher, you have to be taught slightly different mechanics to what comes naturally.

One day - one day - I am going to break another television when a player from my side runs in to kick a goal, runs in towards the points, and then kicks it straight down the line - through the points.

By the way - I am on the bandwagon that goal-kicking today is better than it has ever been, and is continually improving (albeit very slowly).
 

harrythetiger

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I'm not arguing that the game isn't hard, nor that the players are incredibly skillful.
You literally said "I love the execution of fundamentals in sport. And unfortunately the AFL has lost this badly"
You have to be perfect at the fundamentals now more than ever, you don't get the time to think about everything you do.
 

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Lavender Bushranger

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The stats I'm talking about are the historical data for goals vs behinds. Whilst it's not a flawless model due to factors already discussed, it displays a pretty clear trend that goals are continuing to be scored at a higher rate than behinds, and a natural link to that is accuracy of goal kicking.

Those stats from 2000 - 2015 would also support the view that goal kicking is actually improving rather than going backwards. You didn't actually specify in the OP that this discussion was for set shots only (as opposed to also including 'in-play' shots on goal) but regardless, that 3.4% increase between 2000 and 2015 stands no matter the frequency of set shots vs others.
I don't agree at all.

Conversion rates mean nothing. As I said, over half the entire data set is totally irrelevant. Useless.

And a 3.4% improvement from 2000-2018 tells us nothing, other than there was a 3.4% improvement in set shots from 2000 to 2015!

I haven't seen the stats from 2015-2018, and I have seen the stats prior to 2000 either.

One thing is clear though, that even know it seems that set shots accuracy has gotten worse since the 70s, it hasn't gotten far worse.
 

Herne Hill Hammer

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Player A - Runs 60m, having a couple of bounces then hits a team mate on the tit who is 50m further down the field, running at an angle amongst 3 opponents.

Player A - Resting in the forward pocket, takes an uncontested mark on the lead, 30m out, directly in front. Kicks it out on the full.

It's 70% mental and 15% technique and 15% routine.
 

Sentinel

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I don't agree at all.

Conversion rates mean nothing. As I said, over half the entire data set is totally irrelevant. Useless.

And a 3.4% improvement from 2000-2018 tells us nothing, other than there was a 3.4% improvement in set shots from 2000 to 2015!

I haven't seen the stats from 2015-2018, and I have seen the stats prior to 2000 either.

One thing is clear though, that even know it seems that set shots accuracy has gotten worse since the 70s, it hasn't gotten far worse.
Again, you're basing this on 'the vibe' rather than anything of actual substance. That 'one thing that's clear' is not actually clear at all.
 

Furn2

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It doesn't give any indication of set shots though.

Those figures includes rushed behinds, set shots, and shots on the run.

And it doesn't include out on the full or shots that didn't make the distance.
All the data includes those factors from all years.

Wheres your'e evidence that set shots are getting worse or are poor ?
 

Richo83

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In 1968, the scoring accuracy of the league was 47.54%

In 1978, it was 51.55%

In 1988 it was 50.78%

In 1998 it was 52.95%

In 2008 it was 53.22%

In 2018 it's 51.67%

source: afl tables

I'm sorry but this all seems like fake news. And sure, I haven't excluded rushed behinds, but is there any evidence that rushed behinds are a thing of the past? I also haven't delineated set shots on goal versus kicking on the run, but they're both goal kicking.

I think this talk arises from the fact that the football media scrutinises everything to the nth degree and footballers are seen as professionals who should be able to execute skills like professionals and are thus supposed to be better than players from yesteryear. That's great and all, but then you're not really saying "poor goal kicking", you're saying "poorer goal kicking than I expected", which seems like a media story generated by a hot take from some former player now media head being like "back in my day we never missed a shot! AND we trained harder!" I get that 51.67% seems low, but considering how taxing the game is on forwards, how we often select forwards for aerobic capacity not kicking efficiency, and how intense the pressure is across the ground, is it really surprising? Poor implies it should be better. I'm not sure it should be. It was slightly better in the 90s, you know, that golden age of footballing purity every poster above the age of 30 on this site bangs on about, but only 1.28% better, which in the scheme of things, is nothing. The 90s wasn't the playstation/social media era, so that wasn't the issue.

I also think we wouldn't care so much about accuracy in front of goals if teams kicked more goals, and scoring is something which is going down.
 

Jack Gun Cyril Stun

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Player A - Runs 60m, having a couple of bounces then hits a team mate on the tit who is 50m further down the field, running at an angle amongst 3 opponents.

Player A - Resting in the forward pocket, takes an uncontested mark on the lead, 30m out, directly in front. Kicks it out on the full.

It's 70% mental and 15% technique and 15% routine.
A good routine builds a strong mentality until barely either is consciously required as they become 2nd nature. Ask any golfer why a routine is the foundation.
 

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fpcookie

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I agree with all the reasoning in the OP for possible effects on goal kicking but I think the general improvement of players' skills over time has offset these effects. All data shows that goal kicking is improving over time, albeit quite slowly.
 

Hammoose

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I think this talk arises from the fact that the football media scrutinises everything to the nth degree and footballers are seen as professionals who should be able to execute skills like professionals and are thus supposed to be better than players from yesteryear. That's great and all, but then you're not really saying "poor goal kicking", you're saying "poorer goal kicking than I expected", which seems like a media story generated by a hot take from some former player now media head being like "back in my day we never missed a shot! AND we trained harder!" I get that 51.67% seems low, but considering how taxing the game is on forwards, how we often select forwards for aerobic capacity not kicking efficiency, and how intense the pressure is across the ground, is it really surprising? Poor implies it should be better. I'm not sure it should be.
Apart from Richo83's comment, I haven't seen much reference to the fact that footballers today are fully professional. They are being paid squillions to supposedly be the best there is. If I were to make even one blunder of this magnitude in my paid profession, I'd be out on my ear (as would most of us). And I'm sure as hell not being paid anything near the $$$ the footballers are!

Whether we question it's better or worse than yesteryear, or whether it's not as good as we think it should be, the fact is there's no excuse for coaches not trying to dramatically improve these skills. Or especially for the talent scouts to draft better skilled players to start with. The potential benefits are huge - it can be the difference between winning a GF or not even making the finals. I don't accept that such improvement is a lost cause. eg. I know of a lad who's only missed one set shot in the past 5 years, so it can definitely be done. The point is if you don't expect to do better, then you won't get better - it's commonly called 'aspiring to mediocrity'.
 

jesterwester

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Goalkicking is as much mental as anything - I can almost guarantee the guy missing the goal 30m out in front kicks that same goal at training the next day. As soon as you add that game pressure the mind starts to wander. Which is why the guys that have a set routine & kicking action tend to do well. Ben Brown wanders to full back when kicking for goal, but his kicking action is the same each time. Luke Shuey, Sam Lloyd have kicked goals after the siren in recent years to win matches for their sides- Both of those guys have a deliberate set shot action.

Another factor is tiredness, definetly. Focus goes on to goal kicking at training, but how much is done at load? Teams are hesitant to really load up players at training too much- workloads are managed so much now it’s difficult to be able to replicate that same level of fatigue.

Also, I’d be curious to know the stats on where the set shots were taken in the 90’s compared to now. I’d say it was much more central than now. How often do we see the set shots converted from the boundary? These days, players just kick them consistently from any angle.
 

Snake_Baker

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My hunch is that it relates to the modern biomechanics that see contemporary players become endurance machines.
 

4tone

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Kids like juniors, cant kick local footy is horrible. The reason may be is that kids dont play outside like they used to in previous generations. Ive noticed horrible ball drops and no coach intervention to iron it out due to possible parental backlash or hurt feelings.

Secondly. Fevola is spot on, use knocked in footys. The bloke played 200 games i would take his ideas over a AFL excutive trying keep their sponsers logo nice and shiny on new a hard slippery footy.

Third point. Footy pressure has gone through the roof, alot of quick rushed kicks. Not sure on the stats but i bet the first half disposal efficientcy would be much lower than the second half. Pressure drops off as players tire and the game trend has been established.
 

Richo83

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Apart from Richo83's comment, I haven't seen much reference to the fact that footballers today are fully professional. They are being paid squillions to supposedly be the best there is. If I were to make even one blunder of this magnitude in my paid profession, I'd be out on my ear (as would most of us). And I'm sure as hell not being paid anything near the $$$ the footballers are!
Doctors misdiagnose patients all the time (and often earn similar salaries to footballers). I don't think many doctors get fired for misdiagnosing their patients. Now, sure, doctors probably have a better success rate than 51.67%, but misdiagnosing of patients can be more serious than missing a set shot (there's more to life than footy). There's also a problem in comparing athletes to non-athletes.

Whether we question it's better or worse than yesteryear, or whether it's not as good as we think it should be, the fact is there's no excuse for coaches not trying to dramatically improve these skills. Or especially for the talent scouts to draft better skilled players to start with. The potential benefits are huge - it can be the difference between winning a GF or not even making the finals. I don't accept that such improvement is a lost cause. eg. I know of a lad who's only missed one set shot in the past 5 years, so it can definitely be done. The point is if you don't expect to do better, then you won't get better - it's commonly called 'aspiring to mediocrity'.
We don't know if coaches are skimping on goal-kicking training. I think we do know that scouts are probably not considering skills as much as they could, but considering how athletic the average footballer needs to be, it makes sense. 25 years ago you could draft a forward with a great technique, strong body and great marking skills. Now, the question is: do they have a tank?

I also think, and I mentioned this before, that the AFL hasn't gotten to a stage where forwards can be marathon runners covering everywhere from the wing to the goalsquare and kick lots of goals and kick accurately. And the pressure impacts on things. Malcolm Blight has noticed how the pressure is just different to yesteryear.
 

RedBullRacing

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Perfect kicking action. Got a bit of Suckling about it.

I can't see why teams can't nominate kickers after free kicks. Certainly would make it interesting. Teams could bring in a professional kicker to come in only to take set shots. I'm absolutely sure you would see an increase in goals.
 

Pessimistic

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Perfect kicking action. Got a bit of Suckling about it.

I can't see why teams can't nominate kickers after free kicks. Certainly would make it interesting. Teams could bring in a professional kicker to come in only to take set shots. I'm absolutely sure you would see an increase in goals.
Huddo and Piggys careers would have been so much longer. Tayla Harris an immediate in
 

eastfreo75

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Doctors misdiagnose patients all the time (and often earn similar salaries to footballers). I don't think many doctors get fired for misdiagnosing their patients. Now, sure, doctors probably have a better success rate than 51.67%, but misdiagnosing of patients can be more serious than missing a set shot (there's more to life than footy). There's also a problem in comparing athletes to non-athletes.



We don't know if coaches are skimping on goal-kicking training. I think we do know that scouts are probably not considering skills as much as they could, but considering how athletic the average footballer needs to be, it makes sense. 25 years ago you could draft a forward with a great technique, strong body and great marking skills. Now, the question is: do they have a tank?

I also think, and I mentioned this before, that the AFL hasn't gotten to a stage where forwards can be marathon runners covering everywhere from the wing to the goalsquare and kick lots of goals and kick accurately. And the pressure impacts on things. Malcolm Blight has noticed how the pressure is just different to yesteryear.
Hard to focus when you run around like a headless chicken and then have a set shot.

I really think that their are lessons from Biathlon for set shots.

The ability to go-go and then get into a zen like mental state is difficult.

 

TigerGlory

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I think it’s already been mentioned but footballers are time poor when you consider all their extra demands now.

Its the same in a lot of professional environments now. Firstly, more meetings for the sake of meetings in a lot of jobs now. I’ve heard AFL is no different. Leadership meetings and match reviews and individual performance meetings, not to mention sponsorship requirements and mandated media interviews and what not.

The other thing is the obsession with data now. It’s everywhere and in a lot of professions. AFL is no different. If you’re -0.005 on tackles then you’re probably going to spend all week tackling.
 

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