Sherrin Precision

INTRODUCTION TO PRECISION

The Precision concept explained.

Recognising that kicking in AFL is one of the most challenging skills to learn, Sherrin has partnered exclusively with AFL Premiership Coach and PE Teacher Mark Williams, to launch Sherrin Precision. The brainchild of Mark Williams, the Precision concept features a larger sweet spot on each end of the Sherrin (red dots) which provides a greater area for the foot to connect with and a visual aid for the player to understand the ideal impact zone on their foot.

Show More

The product also features a yellow spin line designed to provide immediate feedback to the player. When a player connects successfully with these sweet spots, the Sherrin will continue in the designated flight path and spinning pattern to hit the desired target.

These images below demonstrate the variation between a standard Sherrin football and the Sherrin Precision. You’ll see the spin line and sweet spot highlighted. The concept is inspired by the larger headed tennis racquet that has been developed. This racquet offers a bigger sweet spot compared to a small headed tennis racquet. Similar technologies have been developed in cricket and golf. The beauty of a sweet spot is that it gives a player something to aim at and then the spin line confirms how successful their kick was. This provides motivation for the player to keep practicing and see their success.

It is important to remember that elite AFL Players will only ever hit 8 out of 10 targets. To get to an elite kicking level, consistent practice is required. Patience and understanding is key. At times, kids will get frustrated but it is important to persevere. Stay positive, encourage them to have 2 or 3 more kicks and then re-visit their kicking technique again soon. Ensure the training session is fun and enjoyable. We recommend 3-5 sessions of 20 minutes in duration per week, in addition to team practice.

Note: If a player kicks straight whilst walking, jogging, running, with pressure on, in the wind or rain, with opposition around them and still hit most targets, then don’t interfere.

Access to online training tools

Upon purchase of your Sherrin Precision football, you will be entitled to exclusive access of a unique online training module that features skills content, videos and tips to improve AFL kicking. This exclusive content has been produced to assist coaches, parents and teachers to become more comfortable and confident with their instruction and feedback, which in turn improves their players' kicking efficiency. These insights will help you notice common kicking faults and provide suggestions on how to correct them.

Who is the Sherrin Precision football suitable for?

Sherrin Precision is designed for players and coaches at all levels, as well as teachers and parents that are instructing the game. Available in size 2 for Juniors, 4 for Women/Youth and 5 for Seniors, this product caters for everyone in the game. In terms of selecting the correct ball size – ensure the player can control the ball with their guiding hand. (same side as their kicking leg)

BEGINNER LEVEL

- The sweet spot on the Precision ball provides an easy, understandable target to kick at

- The yellow Spin line provides instant feedback for the kick so a player can self-correct their technique

- This allows new players to the game to improve quicker, see success and progression and ultimately stay motivated to practice more

ADVANCED LEVEL

- Sherrin Precision is suitable for advanced players that have an inconsistent kick (from club, local and school levels)

- This product allows players to revert back to the basics and get it right from the start

- Players can grow confidence in all types of kicking situations

- By having a product that facilitates learning, feedback and kicking progression, players can learn to not be influenced by any pressures around kicking

- Experience and then “let go” outside distractions by practicing being “in the bubble” – as shown in the advance kicking section

ELITE LEVEL

- Even elite players are inconsistent kicks. Remember the best players only hit 8 out of 10 targets, so all players have room for improvement. No one is perfect

- Elite players understand the kicking process. With the Sherrin Precision ball integrated with the online content, players coach themselves to become even better kicks

- This product allows elite players to quickly refresh on the basics of kicking

- Identify the area of a kick that is causing problems and facilitate a solution

- Experience instant kicking feedback that the Sherrin Precision offers via the spin line

PARENTS/COACHES/TEACHERS

- Irrespective of the player skill level being coached, kicking skills and teachings are the same across the board

- Improved results take time and patience, so learn how to instruct kicking with our step-by-step guides and the assistance of the Sherrin Precision product

- Become confident in kicking knowledge, understand how to identify problems and provide solutions via our online insights and content

- Provide the correct feedback to players via visual cues and helpful sayings that are included in our feedback section

To purchase your Sherrin Precision click here

THE KICKING PHASES

There are a number of kicking phases that players must progress through to become elite kickers. The below flow chart will help you understand the kicking progression levels and process. There are 3 primary levels of kicking progression – Beginners, Advanced and Elite.

Show More

Using these levels, there are key kicking techniques that each player must perfect before progressing:

  • Beginner - One Step Kick
  • Beginner - 3-5 Step Kick
  • Advanced - Kicking on the Run
  • Elite - 90 degree One step Kick

Remember that learning each kicking phase is a gradual process and will take time. It’s not possible to grasp each and every instruction at once. Take a step-by-step approach. At times you may have to revise a previous step.

THE BASICS OF KICKING

The basics of kicking form the foundation for all kicking techniques. Always refer back to these basic points if having issues or problems – these hold the key to success. To become an elite kick, these steps below must be perfected.

Show More

KICKING TECHNIQUE

  1. The Grip – spread the fingers of your guiding hand – "load the gun"
  2. Look, search and set the feet quickly – Find your teammate (consider their speed and your opponent’s position)
  3. Carry the ball in the channel and build momentum towards your target (keep the ball over your kicking leg)
  4. Look down at the sweet spot and hit the red dot on the Sherrin
  5. Kick the Sherrin - Point your toe and connect with the top of your foot
  6. Only look up now – check the yellow spin line and flight of the ball
  7. Your body weight must move forward and follow through towards the target

It is important to re-visit these steps if a player is experiencing difficulty at any kicking progression phase.

Note: When we refer to the plant foot, we talking about the foot planted on the ground at kicking point. (the opposite foot to the kicking foot)

BEGINNERS - ONE-STEP KICK

One step kick is the first progression of the kicking phases. It is ideal for those players who have been playing AFL for under 3 years. Remember that you don’t need to do all the stages at once. You need to work through each step and get them right before you progress to the next one. It’s natural for a player to get frustrated and take some time to perfect these steps.

Show More

You may need to assist the player in demonstrating the steps involved, or show them the instructional video. Hold a player’s hand and guide them through the steps. You may need to assist with each step involved until the player understands and then shows some success. Praise and feedback even on minor improvements is vital.

ONE-STEP KICK TECHNIQUE

  1. Look at the Target, then watch the ball
  2. Turn the ball to point down at 90 degrees
  3. Have the laces facing outwards and your hands on the side of the ball
  4. Turn the wrist down and ensure your fingers are pointing downwards
  5. Spread the fingers out on the ball to make sure you have a strong grip
  6. Look and search for your target, set the feet quickly
  7. Look at the sweet spot whilst keeping the ball in place so that it drops at 90 degrees to the ground
  8. Guide the ball down with one hand (same hand as kicking leg)
  9. Bend your arms and hold the ball in line with the kicking leg (the spin line should be facing upright)
  10. Take one step and kick the ball (Head towards the target by stepping forwards on the left and kick on the right). Ensure the correct contact point with the foot via connection with the red dot (sweetspot).
  11. Have your leg swing and follow through straight at the target

COMMON PROBLEMS WITH ONE-STEP KICK

There are a number of common errors that players commit with the one step kick. These are highlighted by the images below.

A – Incorrect grip and fingers not spread

B – Holding the ball too high

C – Not guiding the ball to the foot (no hand on ball, ball drop too high)

D – Leaning back in the kicking action and not following through to the target

BEGINNERS - 3-5 STEP KICK

Once a player has mastered the one-step kick, they are ready to move onto the next kicking phase; the 3-5 step kick. This kicking technique is most suitable for players that have been in the game for under 3 years. Remember to get the basics right first.

Show More

The 3-5 step kick is outlined in this video.

3-5 STEP-KICK TECHNIQUE

If you are kicking with the right foot start on your left foot and vice versa if you are a left foot kicker.

  1. Start with the feet together
  2. Get the grip right (laces facing out, hands spread and pointing downwards)
  3. Look around and find your target, set your feet
  4. Keep the ball in the channel (over the right leg for a right footer and left leg for a left footer)
  5. Step with the opposite foot to the kicking leg first
  6. Then take steps 2-3-4-5 and kick by guiding the ball to the foot with the same hand as your kicking leg
  7. Follow through towards your target (this is crucial)

As a player grasps this technique, gains confidence and the success rate increases -you can build up their running & kicking speed.

Co-ordination of hands and feet are vital for this kick. To help perfect the 3-5 step kick and get the hang of all the steps and coordination involved, you can start with a player kicking a soccer ball. A soccer ball is a simpler shape to kick so takes away the pressure of trying to master the oval shaped Sherrin. This drill is shown below:

You may even want to practice this type of drill with a stationary soccer ball.

Where you impact the Sherrin with your ball drop and foot connection, determines how high the ball goes. To improve a player’s ability to hit a leading target, the ball needs to travel lower across the ground. To find out more, refer to this video:

COMMON PROBLEMS WITH 3-5 STEP KICK

There are a number of problems that can impact a player’s kick with this phase. If a player is having issues with mastering a 3-5 step kick, we suggest you refer to the common kicking problems table below and also re-visit the kicking basics.

ADVANCED - KICKING ON RUN

Once the 3-5 step kick has been mastered by a player, it is time to move onto Advanced kicking - “kicking on the run”. This will take some time to perfect. Adjustments to distance, speed, height all takes many weeks of practice and do not come easy. It’s more about trial and error, so stick with it. This will be a challenge but enjoy it.

Show More

ADVANCED KICKING TECHNIQUE:

  1. Get the basics right first – the correct grip, set your feet, look at your target (Quickly adjust the ball from the various way you may have received it – i.e off the ground, from a mark or a handball)
  2. Track your teammates – adjust for the speed and angle of the lead, work out how fast the target is running, as well as how far you need to kick in front of your teammate
  3. Jog or run, get your balance, keep the ball in channel and then kick through the ball. (It is vital to trust the kick and don’t look up early)
  4. Follow through directly to the target – this involves 3 or 4 steps after the kick (It is crucial to not step off line, or this will make the ball spin violently away from the target)

As players develop this kicking phase, they need to be able to successfully execute their kick within game like situations that have distractions, outside influences and pressures. The “Kicking in the bubble” concept teaches players how to cope with these elements.

COMMON PROBLEMS FOR ADVANCED KICKING:

To understand further about how to keep the ball in the channel, view these tips and advice:

Note: If a player is having issues with mastering this kicking phase, we suggest you refer back to the common kicking problems and re-visit the kicking basics.

ELITE KICKING - 90 DEGREE, ONE-STEP KICK

The last progression of the kicking phase; “1 step kicking to a teammate at 90 degrees” is the most difficult. Remember to only attempt this kick when all other kicking progression phases are mastered. This Elite Kick is very difficult to perform consistently. To showcase the elite kicking, Sherrin bought in a superstar of the game; Dustin Martin.

Show More

ELITE KICKING TECHNIQUE:

It’s important to get all of the basics of kicking correct quickly with this phase (grip, feet, look at the target)

  1. Mark the ball
  2. Prepare to kick quickly
  3. Look for a target
  4. As you take one step, change the direction of your hips towards the target (the plant foot should point directly at the target)
  5. Step forward onto the plant foot and kick the ball
  6. Move your bodyweight forward and try to take at least one extra step towards your target (This will ensure the bodyweight continues the momentum through the ball to hit your target)

The number one error that occurs is when players try to kick leaning backwards.

At this level, players should be able to self-coach their technique and regularly practice for 10-15 minutes per training session.

This kick is to help break through a zone team defence.

ELITE KICKING – KICKING IN THE BUBBLE

Elite kickers need to block out all outside influences and always ensure they are successfully executing “The Basics of Kicking.” Eventually these basics will become second nature.  To develop this and shift the players' focus away from thinking through the basics of kicking each time, players need to practice various ways to start their kicks.

The drill below is an AFL Kicking drill and will challenge even the best players in the game -THE ELITE.

Ensure a player stays calm and doesn’t get too flustered or rushed when participating in this drill.

Begin by having player’s rapidly dancing their feet on the spot waiting on your instruction - then on the whistle/your call have them react & do the action described below. 

They will gradually get better & better at handling the outside pressure of the various starting situations. Try 3 or 4 of each action, then move to the next.

 Begin by trying to kick after: 

  • a handball receive
  • a mark - or the player throws the ball to themselves then kicks
  • a gather -ball coming towards the player 
  • a gather -ball rolling away 
  • a gather -ball rolling across the player’s path 
  • facing 180 º away, then turning 
  • faking a pass at 90 º then hitting a target the other way
  • a player getting off the ground, and gathering then kicking 
  • ripping a ball off an opponent 
  • bouncing the ball 
  • closing eyes then open to quickly find a teammate 
  • coming forward, then going back, then forward, then back, then kick
  • looking left, then right, then left, then kick 
  • standing and kicking as quick as a player can - on command 
  • having 5 balls quickly given to a player to hit 5 different targets in a circle, at various angles & distances 

 If at any time during this drill a player finds it too difficult, then encourage them to CALM DOWN & GO BACK TO THE BASICS OF KICKING.

This drill also allows players to have fun creating other difficult kicking situations.

As a player develops, keep decreasing the time and space they work with and increase the difficulty of the decision-making scenarios. 

COMMON KICKING PROBLEMS AND SOLUTIONS

Below is a table that outlines the common kicking problems that can occur, as well as solutions to correct them.

Show More

KICKING DRILLS AND SOLUTIONS

There are a range of drills players can use to help master their kicking technique. Each drill below refers to a specific, common problem that can occur. Before you view these drills, it is important to remember to keep going back to the basics and re-learn the kicking techniques.

Show More

Ensure you keep feedback one-to-one between a player and coach where trust has been established. (don’t mix the messaging)

HAND GRIP & MOTION (Hand on Ball Drill)

This drill addresses the most common problem with kicking. Even top AFL players still struggle with this, as they never practiced this at an early age. Over the last 15 years as an AFL coach, Mark Williams has spent countless hours re-wiring players with their hand on the ball action. This specific drill provides a solution for perfecting a player’s grip and ball motion towards the foot. It is ideal for beginners but also appropriate for more advanced players. When doing this drill, make sure the player has the correct sized ball for their hand size/age. Also ensure a player practices on both sides of their body. It’s important to practice this regularly and is as simple as doing it at home on the couch watching TV. A player should be repeating this drill constantly – thousands of times!

HITTING THE SWEETSPOT (Tennis ball on a string drill)

Connecting the foot with the correct spot on the Sherrin (sweetspot) is essential in the process of executing an accurate kick. If a player makes connection outside of this sweetspot area, the ball will not hit the target. The ball will instead spray off to the right or left. To practice hitting the sweetspot and develop consistency with where the foot connects with the ball, use this “Ball on String” drill.

Ensure with this drill that that player’s kick the ball straight and continually connect with the same spot on the laces. Set the plant foot quickly, and adjust the feet as you need to.

This activity is very easy to practice at home with a tennis ball on a string. Players may also want to have a kick with bare feet, to feel and see where the ball hits the top of their foot. As a player does it, they need to learn to understand if this is consistent or not. The red mark on the player’s foot should be in a small area. This will provide brilliant feedback on how consistent they are at connecting their foot to the Sherrin.

KEEPING THE BALL IN CHANNEL (Self Kick Drill)

Another drill for enhancing kicking technique and ensuring a player’s foot connects with the correct area (sweet spot) on the Sherrin is the Self Kick. Do note that this drill also helps with carrying the ball in the channel. A player should practice walking with the ball in the channel and kicking the Sherrin to themselves (ensuring the ball travels above head height).

With the Self Kick, the objective is to make the Sherrin spin violently whilst keeping the yellow spin line up straight. The ball should travel straight, not inside or outside. As a player walks they need to try to reduce or prevent the arms from wobbling. The spin line will provide valuable feedback as to the success of the kick each time. The player should try 10 - 20 in a row as they walk and count the successful ones. The more practice, the greater percentage of successful kicks.  Players can then do this at a faster speed.

Another basic drill to help keep the ball in channel involves the below:

  • Walk with a ball ready to kick and practice keeping arms still (creating minimal wobble).
  • First practice walking, then running with the ball, all whilst trying to keep the ball in the channel. As a player masters this, they need to try lifting the ball up and down as they run, rather than side to side movements with their arms. The less movement with the arms, the more likely success of an accurate kick.

Remember, it’s important to understand that every player wobbles the ball. When watching them kick from the front, monitor if they keep the ball in channel or if they wobble it too much outside the line of their body. This is both when the player is walking and running at speed.

FOLLOWING THROUGH STRAIGHT TO THE TARGET (Garden Hose Drill)

Running towards your target and following through straight is vital to kicking accuracy. This drill featured in the video can be easily done in the backyard or at the park. All you need is a surface with a line or access to a garden hose.

To complete this drill:

  • Stand either side of a line or hose (with each foot staying on its correct side)
  • Make sure a player keeps the ball in the channel and ensure the plant foot points directly at the target
  • After the kick, you must check if the player’s feet remain on the side they started (prevent the feet from crossing over at the end of the kick)

Ensure that the plant foot is not turned outwards as this will turn a player’s hips and cause the ball to be dropped inside, ultimately making it fly off target in front of the player.

You may also go down to the beach for kick on the sand. Kick, then check the foot prints after the kick. Check if the footsteps continued towards the target. A player should ask themselves questions such as - Did you cross over your feet? Did the plant foot point straight at the target?

Note: If you find the player’s feet are crossing over, continue to practice this drill. Practice getting the feet pointing straight and then following through straight after the kick at the target. 

KICKING IN THE BUBBLE DRILL

Elite kickers need to block out all outside influences and always ensure they are successfully executing “The Basics of Kicking.”

Eventually these basics will become second nature.

To develop this and shift the players' focus away from thinking through the basics of kicking each time, players need to practice various ways to start their kicks.

The drill below is an AFL Kicking  drill and will challenge even the best players in the game -THE ELITE- see how you go!

Ensure a player stays calm and doesn’t get too flustered or rushed when participating in this drill.

Begin by having player’s rapidly dancing their feet on the spot waiting on your instruction - then on the whistle/your call have them react & do the action described below. 

They will gradually get better & better at handling the outside pressure of the various starting situations. Try 3 or 4 of each action, then move to the next.

Begin by trying to kick after: 

  • a handball receive
  • a mark - or the player throws the ball to themselves then kicks
  • a gather -ball coming towards the player 
  • a gather -ball rolling away 
  • a gather -ball rolling across the player’s path 
  • facing 180 º away, then turning 
  • faking a pass at 90 º  then hitting a target the other way
  • a player getting off the ground, and gathering then kicking 
  • ripping a ball off an opponent 
  • bouncing the ball 
  • closing eyes then open to quickly find a teammate 
  • coming forward, then going back, then forward, then back, then kick
  • looking left, then right, then left, then kick 
  • standing and kicking as quick as a player can - on command 
  • having 5 balls quickly given to a player to hit 5 different targets in a circle, at various angles & distances 

If at any time during this drill a player finds it too difficult, then encourage them to CALM DOWN & GO BACK TO THE BASICS OF KICKING.

This drill also allows players to have fun creating other difficult kicking situations.

As a player develops, keep decreasing the time and space they work with and increase the difficulty of  the decision-making scenarios.

Giving Feedback

Feedback is an important component of learning how to kick. When providing feedback to a player we suggest the below guidelines are followed. One option you can consider is using an iphone/ipad (or similar) to film a player’s kicking technique to provide immediate feedback. When a player can see themselves in action, they can believe and understand what they are doing.

Show More

It is really important to build the relationship and trust with whoever is instructing the kicking technique. Provide appreciation and encouragement for a player’s good kicks – ensure your feedback is not intimidating or negative. (i.e As the player improves use words such as – “that’s good” / “that’s better” / “that’s perfect”, “that’s close”/ “that’s almost there”/ “that’s improving”)

Always take the player back to the kicking basics and identify the problem area so that they can perfect it. Make sure they understand that they need to get the basics right. Click here to the view the kicking basics (link to kicking basics)

When giving feedback on a player’s kicking technique, it is important to ensure feedback is one-to-one and from a consistent individual at all times. The teacher/coach/parent must have the same set of instructions. We strongly advise against receiving different feedback from multiple people.

Always identify the problem and offer only one or two solutions.

Ensure your player understands that you are there as an instructor to help.

Advise the player on how they can coach themselves and ask them for feedback as they are practicing kicking – ensure the player can acknowledge the mistake and state the solution. i.e – What do you think happened that time? How did the ball spin? Was the spin line up straight? Can you remember looking at the sweet spot?

Build your player’s development to a stage where they can “Kick in the bubble”. This means successfully kicking without being affected by any outside influences. For example, put them under pressure and create interference around them. This may include making them kick it quick, change direction quickly, gather the ball in different ways, execute with opposition pressure. Refer to the Kicking in the bubble here.

FEEDBACK FOR BEGINNERS:

Here are a range of suggestions for the types of words to use with players at the beginner level:

  • Short quick steps to set feet
  • Hand on the ball a little longer –spread your fingers and guide the ball down
  • Watch the target, now watch the ball
  • Hit the point of the ball – make it spin rapidly
  • Believe in your kick – don’t look up
  • Follow through straight and run directly towards your target
  • Find the contact point on top of the foot and make sure it is the same each time
  • Ask them for feedback on how it felt and sounded

FEEDBACK FOR ELITE PLAYERS:

Here are a range of suggestions for words to use with players at the elite level. Remember to not utilise these all at once. Based on what you see, select the most appropriate feedback (one or two items at a time)

  • Relax and be calm (you are in the bubble)
  • Let outside influences go
  • Face up or get back off the mark quickly – give yourself time to set up and get the hands ready
  • Let your feet dance – take short steps and set your hips towards the target
  • Scan quickly to find your target – have the ball ready to kick then go back to the basics
  • When running fast, keep the ball slightly outside your kicking leg
  • Run at the target – and don’t run off line
  • Watch the target, then watch the ball and trust your kick
  • Concentrate every time and make your kick count

More clips and drills to come, so stay tuned.