• Help Support The Rugby Forum :

Help with Goal Kicking


Academy Player
Mar 6, 2016
Country Flag
Club or Nation
hey guys I am flyhalf from zimbabwe. I am looking for tips to improve my distance on goal kicking and punting.
What sort of distance are you getting at the moment?

The follow through is hugely important, you'll want to kick right through the ball while maintaining a sweet strike. Striking the ball well consistently is the most important thing, if you can consistently kick the ball well distance will come with confidence.
vote of thanks

thank you very much for the tip.I'll put it to good use.
P.S;My max distance is 35m
One part of kicking seems to be neglected . It`s what you should do with the non kicking foot or leg. On a dry/damp piece of turf the studs will grip . Imagine kicking on a sandy beach. The foot will slip away if you take it for granted that it will hold. It is possible to maintain the forward movement while kicking but to be aware of the difference is a good thing . Stopping dead on the standing leg can be a disaster on a slippery ,muddy pitch . Maybe this has been talked over already but some recent instruction videos makes that unlikely . I would say stopping dead will limit the distance . Next part of the distance topic is maybe side of ball contact versus end of ball contact .How does end kicking affect accuracy ? Or does it ? It may be a sin to mention Jimmy Greaves here but in his book he advises you to "Lock the Ankle" as you kick to get more power in the kick. It takes concentration to focus on a player`s ankle and watch for that important detail . So 3 things to ponder on already .
I should have added something to make your games more interesting . I have seldom , if ever ,seen an international match where a kicker deliberately makes the ball spin and tumble. The trick is to kick the "side of the end ". Not a torpedo kick , which is straight on the end . And also kick a little across the line of the ball to add the wobble. You need to imagine a shorter kick with defenders turning back and the unfortunate devil who is trying to catch this spinning wobbling object without dropping it . It`s great fun to watch if you surprise them with that . NB Foot contact will be with the toe of the boot .
Last edited:
The fashion for kicking "torpedo style" seems to have drifted away these days . That`s looking at international matches . The elaborate plastic supports was all part of that too. What was wrong with another player laying down to steady the ball in a strong wind ? It gave the game a bit more flavour . I expect the torpedo thinking was the ball was more airodynamic end on but without a ball spinning (like a shell ) it could drift off course . Kicking the side of the ball has a much springier feel . Does that give more distance or less.? People in universities must have studied these problems at some time. But they may have kept the answer secret so their own team would win . So how much difference in contact /springiness /aerodynamics/ instability /accuracy /would there be. Time to get your boots on and find out . But first check the air pressure for best readings .
Gareth Edwards used to practice with Phil Bennet kicking the ball along the touchline in a competitive sort of way . You could try that too .
I can give you another idea to work on for goal kicking. This is for striking the side of the ball . I never tried kicking it end on . But I had no trouble scoring from either touchline . As you set the ball in position think about the part of your foot that will contact the ball . That will be the top of the foot just behind where the toes hinge . Then imagine inside the oval shape a smaller, spherical ball which you need to kick. Don`t copy the details of any other players in the non kicking foot position . You must work out where your foot lands yourself. People`s feet are all at different angles . Just concentrate on yours .
It`s worth chipping away at this topic as once I worked out my personal run up angle there was no problem . It will help a younger player . (Younger than 73 ?) . So how did you work out your run up angle? Start with the run up to the ball on the touch line. Mark the start and finish points . Put the ball in position on the line. Run straight up to it and kick the ball. Quickly check the angle from the touch line. Hold your arms out to remember that . Rotate at the kicking point so the left arm points along the line. now step back at that angle the same distance as the run up . Count the number of steps sideways back to the touchline. Those vital sideways steps will be your personal angle setter . From then on you don`t need to keep looking up at the goal posts as they do on the telly . Just concentrate on the ball and kick straight through it. Do that mental countdown as you prepare . Forget all the rest of it .Just kick straight through . Adjust the start point if there is a strong side wind by throwing some grass in the air to double check .
I have just seen a video about the torpedo kick and it is not at all what I thought it was. The theory is that the side of the boot makes the ball spin . But a torpedo does not spin . It`s a Teachers`s video and the Teacher`s pensions ad almost obliterates the video just as the action starts . If the kicker`s head was covered we could follow the foot to ball sequence . But no the ad covers the bottom of the picture (removing it is a silly distraction ) . Also if you kick a spherical ball with the outside of the right foot it will swerve right and vice versa . So part two of my ignorance is that all the kickers in the Scotland /France game kicked the end of the ball with mixed success . Notice that cameras are hell bent on looking at the kicker`s face as he eyes up the posts . Sometimes you don`t see the ball at all . No slow motion for the foot .
Some more ideas to think about in the Scotland v France game 2016. First penalty kick and miss by the great Trinh-Duc.That kick preparation seemed too relaxed .Just a few steps back .I did not see the straight back from the post line steps and then side steps. The kicking action was more like a corner kick in football. The body leaned sideways and the kicking action had a sideways curve. Greig Laidlaw missed a few kicks as well . He gets into the right kind of starting position but after his run up his body looks straight on to the posts.I could be wrong but he seems to run in a curve and thus destroys the benefit of the natural kicking angle. That comes (I think ) from the distraction of eyeing up the posts instead of concentrating on the ball . You need to approach the ball in a dead straight line from your start point. If you don`t believe the natural leg swing produces a kick at an angle to the straight ahead then you are stuck with split second adjustments as you strike the ball . Often that produces a miss . It was a calm day and the wind direction from the right was 2 mph . You won`t generate much electricity with that . But Greig missed one to the left and another to the right .That`s a huge change with no explanation given .
There is a bio-mechnical description of the kicking action which I found hard to read as it seems to be some kind of translation . But it mentions that the kick has more power if there is a bigger back lift. Well many years ago there was a Leeds United winger called Peter Lorimer. He had one of the most powerful kicks ever in football .We always noticed he had hardly any back lift .His shot timings could exceed 100 mph . He was quite a wiry ,slim player too . The main muscles to train will be the High Knee Lift muscles used by sprinters and the front thigh muscles that bring the lower leg forward. Then make sure those muscles get plenty of stretching each day to keep them supple . Don`t tie yourself in a muscle bound knot .

- - - Updated - - -

I came at this topic from the era when a place kick involved digging the heel into the pitch to form a hollow for the end of the ball to rest in. So the end -on kicking did not exist as it does now . So you can look on plastic widgets to prop up the ball as a modern perversion . Why put the groundsman out of a job ? No , it can`t be that . We have seen in recent years floppy grass carpet tiles draped over loose sand . Not much use when the scrum gets to work . Just roll up a piece of turf and prop the ball on that ?
Tigs Man may be closer than you think to the solution .I looked up information about Peter Lorimer to see if the player himself could shed some light on his kicking power and an interview with the man himself reveals that there was no secret . It came to him naturally .Sorry to disappoint you there .
I have just seen a short video of Johny Wikinson showing ball placement and run up . Spot on in almost every detail as far as I could see . The tilted ball allowing the imaginary spherical ball inside the oval would fit the "one third up "description . That`s the sweet spot . However I would disagree with the statement that the run up to the ball should be a curve . But that`s my personal feeling . There`s a right way , a wrong way , Johny Wilkinson`s way and my way .
I expect the torpedo thinking was the ball was more airodynamic end on but without a ball spinning (like a shell ) it could drift off course . Kicking the side of the ball has a much springier feel . Does that give more distance or less.? People in universities must have studied these problems at some time. But they may have kept the answer secret so their own team would win . So how much difference in contact /springiness /aerodynamics/ instability /accuracy /would there be. Time to get your boots on and find out . But first check the air pressure for best readings .
In my experience, and from what i've seen/heard from quite a few coaches, the main advantage is not aerodynamics but more what the bounces will be like. They are a LOT more predictable and it is easier to aim.
If you take the distance from where the kick takes place to where the ball hits the ground, i'm pretty sure standard kick beats torpedo kick in terms of distance. If you take bounces into account, my money is with torpedo.

In order to know how to improve your distance it'd be helpful to see what you are doing now.
I have tried to explore many aspects of kicking to give you things to chew over and experiment with . Leave nothing untested . See what works for you . Go back and try things that you rejected just in case there is something new to discover . Looking at players who do the run up in a curve (eg the immortal Wilkie ) you can add a few sideways steps preparation to get the ideal kicking angle as you meet the ball. If you do not lean to one side a litlle the kicking foot may hit the turf . The locked straight ankle takes up more room than the bent ankle . Avoid being straight on to the posts when you kick . Try to work on that apart from a match though . Keep to a reliable method in a game . One of my best kicks was in a gale . I did the adjustment by reducing the sideways steps . No grass test was needed . The fir trees at the end of the pitch were bending over in the wind . First half of the kick the ball travelled parrallel to the touch line ,then veered right as the wind above the school roof hit it. A cry of "Oh, Blimey" was heard at the odd flight . But it went inside the posts nicely . Just believe in your own method .
Looking up the longest penalty kick ever there is a youtube from 1986 . So in 1986 it was the longest . There have been later , longer ones unsurprisingly . So cue Paul Thorburn for Wales . Penalty for obstruction. (one of the old fashioned rules that is fading fast ). A thick soggy pitch .10 metres inside his own half , over on the 5 metre line. Change metres to yards in old money for an authentic feel . The comment shows that the kick was made before the invention of the kicking tee . The side of the ball was kicked , please note . The other comment praises the fact that eyeing up the posts had not begun in those days . He gets on with it . But each time you watch it seems imposibble for the ball to get inside that left hand post . Clever to hit the ball with such a low trajectory . and in a damp misty atmosphere with a leather ball that must gain a few extra points. Noticeable was the absence of beer glasses held aloft after the score . As long as none was spilt we should not worry .
There is another detail I noticed in the Johny Wilkinson video which matches the kick by Thorburn. As the ball is kicked the left foot is pushing up and leaves the ground .Some other instruction videos show the foot planted stationary as the right leg follows through . That could lead to sliding trouble . The Wilkie/Thorburn method would still work on loose sand I think . Perhaps some practice on a beach would be a good idea . I am picturing a view now of a rugby pitch on the West Coast of Wales. You look down the cliff from the road to see a rugby pitch almost next to the beach . A very attractive setting for a game . Somewhere close to Aberystwyth is the closest I can guess at the moment .
Once upon a time the bowler Fred Trueman must have worked out a reason for such a long run up as a fast bowler. To get maximum power in a kick it is necessary to accelerate towards the ball and it might be worthwhile to experiment with that . Too much is as bad as too little . In the case of a dropped goal you sometimes need to slow down a bit to get it just right , but that`s different .
The follow through got a mention earlier . That would concern the kicking leg mostly . But think about the arms as well . If the arms are held away from the body as you kick there is a marginal extra leverage going into the mixture of movements . Similar use of the arms applies to a scissors ( bicycle ) kick . Think about ballet dancers here or ice skaters ,or even a cat held facing the ceiling and then dropped .(Poor thing ). Better still try a few kicks with your arms by your sides for comparison .The energy to rotate the outstretched arms gives an opposite reaction in the lower body which will add a few per cent to the kick . Looking at photos of Peter Lorimer there is a major twist in the vertebrae during the follow through .Both arms out to the right and right leg following through to the left . In the images section the picture of the late "Jack "Taylor crouching and wincing at the fearful power of a Lorimer blaster is a classic .

Latest posts