How to Kick a Rugby Ball: with Jack Carty
Ever wondered how to place a rugby ball on a kicking tee properly and kick successfully under pressure like a professional rugby player?
Fortunately, Connacht Rugby’s Jack Carty will bring you inside his kicking routine and show you how he performs under the highest pressure.
The Irish International out-half has performed on some of the biggest stages across Europe, so who better to show us what it takes.
Before you begin, you might be interested in our List of the Most Famous Irish Rugby Players in history?
If not, take it away, Jack.
How to place a rugby ball on a tee
“Once the opportunity to kick comes, I like to take a sip of water, take my gumshield out and line up the ball.
“The initial part setting up your tee is making sure the middle of tee is directed toward the direct. I also usually face the valve of the ball towards the target, where I want the ball to go.
“After lining up the ball towards a target behind the sticks, probably the most important part for me is ensuring you draw a 45 degree line from the kicking tee to the target and back. I’ll align my left foot to the Rhino sign on the ball, or in the Pro 14 it will be a Guinness sign, so I align on the ‘G’, before taking 4 steps back.”
How to Kick a Rugby Ball
“When I’m away from the ball, I’ll take a couple of moments to compose myself, ensuring I’m at the 45 degree angle to the ball and take 2 or 3 breaths to make sure I’m in the right mental space to take the kick.
“Obviously a situation you don’t want to be in is when you miss a few kicks, but that happens in games. And if it does, I like to go back to my process of what I’ve done during the week; you’ve kicked a lot of balls from that position in training, so I like to bring myself back to that moment and visualise that.
“When striking the ball at that 45 degree angle we’ve talked about, the two most important things is to strike low on the ball and kick through, which will bring your body through the ball and you’ll end up with your body naturally swinging to face the target. I have played GAA in the past and I’ve had issues where I’ve kicked and finished with my body facing outside the target. So I really try and work on bringing my body through to face the target after the kick.”
Key points in taking the kick
“The main thing for me is about consistency of the approach. I sometimes might lead with my left foot first and take a large first step which affects my footing coming in and results in me wrapping my foot around the ball and getting too tight.
“So once I’m at the 45 angle, I ensure that first step is consistent, nice and small, almost a half step. I also like to mark the ground just in front of me which subconsciously teaches me to take that first small step on approach.
“When I’m about to take the kick, I always tell myself to ‘trust and commit’. I have done all the work in the lead up during the week and I like to think my process is in a good place, my alignment, my marking with my left foot, and if there is a strong breeze blowing, to really commit to striking the ball, and believe that if I follow those key things, it will lead to a successful kick.”
Jack Carty’s Top Tips
“My tips for young kids is : I know sometimes it can feel that there is a lot of pressure on kickers, but it really helps if you can get to that place where you enjoy taking kicks during the week, as it is a privilege to do it for your team. And also to ensure you are practicing as much as you can and make sure you enjoy it.”
How to practice kicking a rugby ball off a tee
“When I practice, my week to week routine doesn’t change in terms of goal kicking.
“Monday is light, but one of the most importance days in terms of ironing out issues that might have arose from the weekend’s game. Tuesday to Friday is about getting reps and volume in. On Wednesday and Thursday, I like to try and put myself under a bit of mental fatigue, put your skills under pressure, run out 20 metres, run back and then try and compose yourself for a kick.
“We have a kicking competition we like to do with Andy Friend [Connacht Head Coach] – he gives us odds of 10/1 and we like to put a bit of wager on it. We will take ten kicks based across the pitch and see what we can score, and that’s what the 10s like to do every couple of weeks with him.”
We hope you enjoyed Jack Carty taking you Inside the Kick and describing how to place a rugby ball on a kicking tee properly before kicking under pressure.
So before you go out and start practicing, why not check out our Rugby ranges.
Or, check out our other rugby related blog – the ultimate guide to rugby positions explained.
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