Field goal kicking is one of those activities which looks easy but is actually quite difficult. Field goal kickers are often placed in high-pressure situations, and their ability to accurately kick field goals in a consistent manner is obviously vital to their success. Of course lots of practice is needed to improve field goal kicking, but the type of practice is most important. Simply kicking a football around without a plan or purpose will not help you get much better. Instead, you need to practice with purpose and a goal in mind, using good form and performing the same mechanics each and every time. To help you along the way, read below for more tips on how to improve your field goal kicking.
When kicking field goals, the first thing you need to remember is that each kick should be the same in terms of your mechanics. Line the ball up as you wish, and then take your steps backwards. The spot where you start in relation to the ball should be the same each time, but your spot may be different than that of another person. You want to start where you can comfortably take two medium-sized steps, planting on the second and then kicking the football. For most kickers, this is three small steps back and two small steps to the left (or right for left-footed kickers). All kickers nowadays line up to the side of the football (as opposed to straight on) in an effort to kick it as one might kick a soccer ball.
When kicking in a real game, you will obviously not be able to line the ball up prior to kicking it. Instead, have the holder place a finger down on the ground where he plans to place the ball. Start there, looking up between the goal posts at a location where you plan to kick. This should be right in the middle of the goal posts if there is no wind. NFL kickers generally pick out a single person or sign that they can easily locate, attempting to kick the football directly at this landmark. After you locate this landmark, you can take your steps back. Look at the landmark again prior to giving the holder the go-ahead to snap the ball.
Work with your holder regarding how the football should be placed. Many kickers like the football tilted slightly, but this will be up to you. When you give the holder the okay to snap the ball, he will lift his fingers from the ground. This tells the center to snap the ball, so you should start your kicking motion right when the holder lifts his fingers. Do not take your eyes off of that spot, aiming to kick the ball right in the middle (or just below) once it lands. Your plant foot should be about a foot away from the ball. When practicing your kicks, visualize yourself in a real game situation. Although the ball will already be placed on a tee, you can pretend it is being snapped and you are kicking a real field goal.