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  • Writer's pictureKeith Duncan

How to Develop a Routine and Why It's Important

"Having a routine" is often mentioned by coaches, but no one really knows what it means to have one or how to develop it. The Merriam-Webster definition of routine is "a sequence of actions regularly followed; a fixed program." I like to think of a routine as an adaptation process that allows you to complete your task in an efficient way. There are many different types of routines and each one should serve its own purpose. On this blog, I wanted to specifically talk about an in-game routine. It's taken me five years to fully develop this routine, and I will admit that it still changes. Developing a routine takes time, awareness, and the ability to understand what makes you feel most comfortable. It isn't easy going into Happy Valley as a true freshman and expecting to feel right at home. The field goal script that is written below is what goes through my head the second my "rep" starts.

  • The ball is on the 25 yard line, I take a seat on the bench after Nate gets up.

  • I take in the environment, not focused on my potential rep.

  • I watch Colten and Jackson get a practice rep and see how the ball rotates and focus on the CONTACT of my foot on the ball.

  • I do not get up for a practice rep until the ball reaches the 50 yard line.

  • After the ball reaches the 50 yard line (or we are in FG position), I get one rep into the net on first down.

  • I focus on contact, pace to the ball, and my body language.

  • On second down I relax and wait for the field goal opportunity.

  • After second down, I get another rep before the ball is snapped on third down.

  • On this rep, I focus on my target (vision), CONTACT, and my body position.

  • Immediately after the rep, I stand next to Coach Ferentz and visualize a previous rep that felt perfect.

  • After Coach Ferentz say “points” or “kick it”, my intensity increases and I run onto the field with a purpose/plan.

  • I run onto the field on the 45 yard line, not looking at the crowd. My head is down just like it would be on a field goal.

  • I run up to the spot that the ball will be placed, tap Colten’s helmet, and visualize where the ball will go through the uprights.

  • I take my steps back with great pace and focus on my angle for my sidesteps.

  • I look THROUGH the uprights at my target and nod to Colten.

  • I attack the ball with a straight line and strike the ball with a clean hit.

  • I skip through my target and finish the kick.

  • As the ball goes through the uprights, I celebrate with the FG unit by beating Colten in rock-paper-scissors (routine)

  • Wirfs is the last O-lineman I give a handshake to.

  • Colten, Jackson, and I run off the field like we came on.*****

  • My rep is over after I shake Coach Ferentz hand

  • I go behind the bench and drink 2/3rds of a water bottle then throw it in the trash and prepare for my next OPPORTUNITY.

After reading the script, it is easy to ask, "doesn't the rep start when the ball is snapped?" I believe that the rep is started right when the ball has potential of getting into field goal range. Be VERY specific in your routine as this will minimize your margin of error. It is important to highlight trigger words such as opportunity, contact, or extension. These words create a dopamine rush that will spike adrenaline and simulate a high intensity moment. Use specific names of your holder, snapper, or even protection unit as this will help you visualize the moment and attack the opportunity.

This is just one of the many routines that I have written down to help me simulate the game reps and take pressure off myself. My mindset is that, if I've been there before (or as close as I can), I will have the best opportunity to make the kick. A routine does not guarantee success, but it increases the percentage for success.

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