Wednesday August 7th I had the opportunity to meet up with long time long snapping client Ross Markham formerly of Stillwater High School, now a student athlete at the US Coast Guard Academy! Ross came to me a few years ago looking to better his long snapping, and get better he did!
When I first met Ross he was a very raw snapper with little to no coaching before we met. Starting from the bottom and building up we have worked together to form a great snapper! Ross came in today and surprised me with the speed and accuracy he gained while he was away at school! Even with me being impressed we still made 5 big adjustments to his form.
Ross had an issue with rotating his hand under the ball making his shoulders offset. When your shoulders are uneven there is a greater chance for errant snaps as you have to adjust your shoulders mid snap to get them even again. We under rotated his hands on the ball and he was snapping straighter and more accurate in a matter of seconds.
Another issue we focused on today was that when he snaps his head was consistently late getting through. His head would still be up when the ball was already out of his hands. To be an accurate snapper you must get your eyes to your target as soon as you can! If your eyes are not getting there you are just guessing on where to release the ball. We drilled a little and I could see improvements right away. This is something he will have to keep practicing as it was a bad habit that he had built up from snapping on his own.
Today we focused on getting his back flat and tight. I have found that if you are too relaxed pre-snap your speed will suffer. I had Ross lift his chest and tighten his upper back and it seemed to put a little extra zip on the ball.
We also focused on leg drive. I feel like no matter how long you have been snapping you can never work too hard on being explosive and locking your legs correctly. Ross was having a slight difficulty locking completely but with a few drills he was back on the right track.
Finally we focused on blocking. At the college level it is almost always a good idea to learn to block. We focused on breaking down the components of a good kick slide while getting the snap of first. Your priority must be to make the perfect snap, then you can block.
Overall we had a great lesson and I will be seeing him tomorrow for another tune up before he ships back out east for school!
I was also able to meet up with brand new client Teddy Bowie of Mahtomedi High School in MN. Teddy is going to be a senior and has been long snapping since junior high, but without any coaching.
Coming into an initial lesson I like to warm up the client and then have them show me what they can do to give me a good idea of what we will need to work on in following lessons. When Teddy got into his stance I was thinking that this was going to be like any other beginner lesson until he zipped a fast ball right at my hip.
Teddy’s form was far from perfect but the hand speed he showed was phenomenal. After seeing what he could do we started from the basics to make sure we were both on the same page for form and what I was going to teach him.
Teaching Teddy the release was a little bit of a challenge for him as he likes to release the ball with his hands spread out at the finish. If you have been following this blog you know that I teach tight wrists…. He was able to eventually get some spirals with a little coaching but we still have a lot of work to do.
After working the release we moved on to the arm motion, then leg motion, then worked balance. After putting all of these components together in a slow choppy manor he seemed to be getting the hang of it! One thing I did notice is that his flexibility could use a lot of work. He is unable to fully lock his legs due to tightness in the hamstrings. This can be fixed with foam rolling of the hamstrings, hips, and lower back as well as frequent stretching.
I prescribed him a stretching routine that he should follow and hopefully he will be more flexible next session!
Overall Teddy showed great potential and had a great day! He is a very fast learner and very coachable as well. I look forward to coaching Teddy to the ranks of a college athlete!