Kicking is a strange position. It’s unlike any other in all of sports. I’ve often described it as trying to play golf in a war zone. Unfortunately, for Cade Foster (Alabama’s long field goal kicker), Saturday night against LSU was a painful learning experience. This reminds all kickers everywhere that no matter how confident you may be, you too can fall victim to a bad game at any time. Anyone who kicks long enough will have a bad game– maybe even an awful one, I know I sure have. The key is to forget the mistake and remember the lesson. Another lesson here: it’s much less painful to learn from the mistakes of others. What are the lessons that can be learned from Cade’s experience and similar experiences that many of us have suffered at the hands of a treacherous position? I think there are several key ideas to maintain:
1.) Always separate your personal worth from your athletic performance. There are plenty of really great people who are going to occasionally suffer a bad game. The inverse is true also. There are some athletes that act as if a great performance gives them the right to be an inconsiderate jerk. The ultimate goal: be a great person and a great athlete, but never forget that athletic performance should have nothing to do with your self-worth as an individual.
2.) Recognize that being a kicker is a unique position and that excellent preparation is different for every position. The old football mantras of hard work, extra effort, high intensity, etc. do not always apply to kickers. It’s important to emphasize smart work as a kicker, the proper energy level (both mental and physical) as well the right forms of preparation.
3.) Remember that if you are going to do anything great in life that you run the risk of public and embarrassing failure. This isn’t a bad thing. Some of life’s greatest learning experiences (almost all I would argue) stem from our most memorable failures. It is important to always credit those who have the courage to try. It’s all too easy to criticize from the sidelines. I think this quote says it all:
“The greatness comes not when things always go good for you. But the greatness comes when you’re really tested, when you take some knocks, some disappointments when sadness comes. Because only if you’ve been in the deepest valley can you ever know how magnificent it is to be on the highest mountain.” — Richard Nixon
Success is never certain. Failure is never final.
Until next time,