Seven Easy Steps to Help Kick A Conversion – league or union
Goal-kicking can be the difference between winning and losing a game of rugby league or rugby union, so it’s important to learn the correct technique in order to be the best goal-kicker for your team.
Like any skill, learning to be a successful goal-kicker takes time and practice. By breaking down the movement into simple steps, any goal-kicker of any expertise can improve their skills.
It is important to note that there is no one size fits all approach to kicking, here are some things to remember:
- each conversion is unique in its positioning, with both its width from the posts and its depth from the try-line. In order to cater for this, slight adjustments should be made to the balls upright position
- Right footed and left footed kickers experience opposite curvatures of the ball in its flight path, meaning that the direction of the ball and the placement of the tee will vary depending on which foot you kick with
- you must also consider the speed and direction of the wind
The goal-kicking or conversion process can be broken down into seven simple steps, which should be used each time a goal-kicker is attempting a conversion or penalty goal. The seven steps are as follows.
Step 1 – Placing the tee
The first step of the conversion process is placing the tee on the ground. Now this may seem like a simple task, which it is, but it is still an important part of the process.
Assuming you kick the ball in a straight line, the midpoint of the tee should be aimed at the middle of the cross bar, between the two upright posts. Picture the tee with a laser pointer projecting from the middle of its face, the laser should dissect the black dot on the cross bar as it projects a straight line.
- If you are a right footed kicker, the ball will tend to hook from right to left and if you are a left footed kicker, the ball will tend to hook from left to right. In order to compensate for this, place the tee on the outside of the black dot, closest to the upright on the side of your dominant foot. This will allow for the ball to finish its flight path over the middle of the posts as it will experience a natural curve.
- It is important to note that the closer you are to the posts, the less curvature you will need to account for. You also need to consider the direction and speed of the wind. For example, if you are a right footed kicker and wind is blowing from left to right, you need to aim the tee further towards the right hand up-right, perhaps even beyond it.
Step 2 – Positioning the ball
After you have positioned the tee, positioning the ball is easy. At this point you have already decided the flight path of the ball by accounting for the hook and the wind, now all you need to do is place the ball on the tee.
- The point of the ball should line up directly with the mid-point of the tee (remember the laser) and sit on the tee, exposing the face of the ball to your foot.
- The angle that the ball should sit at is determined by the distance from the posts. The closer you are to the posts, the more upright the ball should sit.
Step 3 – The set up
Once you have placed the ball on the tee, you can start to measure the set up. The set up is used to create a powerful kick through the ball and is unique to each individuals style. Remember, each persons set up can vary.
- Start by placing your kicking foot underneath the ball, with your opposite foot past the tee.
- The shoulder on your dominant side should be above the ball at this point.
- Take four paces backwards, starting with your planted foot. Each pace should represent one normal sized stride.
- Take two paces sideways towards the opposite side of your kicking foot.
Step 4 – Calming & Visualisation
Once you have set up the ball, you need to take the chance to calm yourself down. Goal-kicking is a high pressure skill, with both teams and the crowd focused solely on you as the game comes to a stand still.
- Take three deep breaths, inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth. This will lower your heart rate, as well as calm your nerves.
- At the same time as you are taking your deep breaths, visualise where you are aiming to kick the ball and imagine the ball sailing through the posts.
Step 5 – The Run Up
The run up is the final step before you make contact with the ball, so make sure you get it right. To successfully perform the run up:
- First take half a step backwards with your kicking foot, followed by your other foot, the backwards motions starts the momentum of your routine
- Pace forward half a step with your kicking foot,
- Stride forward with the opposite foot
- Stride forward with your kicking foot
- Stride forward with the opposite foot
At this point your opposite foot should be planted next to the tee, with your dominant side’s shoulder over the ball and your head down. At this point, your dominant foot is at the top of its swing, ready to connect with the ball.
Step 6 – Contact
As your head and shoulder sits over the ball, your opposite arm should be extended to form a 180 degree angle with your shoulder, allowing for increased balance. As you swing your kicking foot through the ball, connect with the sweet spot of its face.
Step 7 – Follow through
After you make contact with the ball, you need to follow through the line of where you want the ball to travel. If you do not follow through with your kicking foot, the ball will end up traveling in the wrong direction. Follow through while keeping your head faced down in a stable position.
With these seven steps, you now know the basics of how to kick a goal in rugby league and rugby union. The more you practice, the better you get.