Kicking guru reveals key flaw holding back Aussie kickers

 

World-renowned goalkicking coach Dr Dave Alred says Australian and New Zealand goalkickers are miles behind their European counterparts because of a key flaw in their development.

The English coach, who trained two of world rugby's most successful kickers in Jonny Wilkinson and Ireland's Jonathan Sexton, has moved to Queensland to develop the next great place-kicker at the Reds.

British and Irish Lions kicking coach Dave Alred with Jonny Wilkinson in 2005. Picture: Phil Walter/Getty
British and Irish Lions kicking coach Dave Alred with Jonny Wilkinson in 2005. Picture: Phil Walter/Getty

While Alred says the Reds kickers have the shown potential to reach the lofty heights of his former protégés, there are few similarities between them at the moment.

"I think eventually there will be," Alred said.

"The reason I think I'm hesitant is I think English and Irish players, from a starting point, tend to be more educated with their feet.

"A part of that is because so many play soccer and kicking is a natural thing to do.

"In the junior areas, English teams tend to kick more, so if you add all that together by the time someone is 20 they have a lot more experience in learning to kick and goal-kick than their Australian counterparts.

James O'Connor could take the tee this year. Picture: Rob Jefferies/Getty
James O'Connor could take the tee this year. Picture: Rob Jefferies/Getty

"I'm very mindful of trying to develop (the Reds') feel for kicking and their understanding as much as technically trying to get better.

"I can see quite a few of the guys have the tenacity of wanting to do it, it's almost finding the light bulb moment that goes 'I can do it.'"

Alred is coaxing higher performance from the group by sharing the preparation secrets behind Europe's top kickers.

"I'm letting them see how the other guys work," the coach said.

"I'm trying to get them to work at 60 per cent effort and 100 per cent concentration, where previously it's been 100 per cent at both and the body is not good at taking that sort of intensity.

"We do a lot of short kicking and technical work that is not demanding in terms of distance but demanding in accuracy."

Alred is training seven potential goalkickers at the Reds including Wallabies sharpshooter James O'Connor, incumbent kicker Bryce Hegarty, Isaac Lucas, Jock Campbell, Filipo Daugunu, Scott Malolua and Hamish Stewart.


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