He continued that Saturday morning with his second kicking clinic, where for four hours he taught all aspects of kicking and punting to kids aged 13-18 at Rancho Bernardo High School.
“I love to coach,” said Novak. “It’s a great way to give back to San Diego. I’ve spent most of my adult life learning how to kick and trying to master the skill. And there’s nothing better than giving that back to the kids that are coming up. I think that speaks a lot to the great coaches who have helped me along the way and have instilled that desire to help kids younger than me.”
Novak brought along a member of the Chargers strength and conditioning staff to warm the kickers up with the same exact drills the Chargers do before each practice. The first half of the clinic was dedicated to punting. Novak stressed that young kickers need to also know how to punt in addition to kicking field goals, saying how those who have both kicking and punting skills increase their value, affording them a better chance to be recruited collegiately.
“I’m focusing on a lot of basics,” Novak said. “Coach (Mike) McCoy says it all the time. You need to master the things that take zero talent. So I’m going over some things that may seem monotonous to some people like the no-step drill and the one-step drill and a lot of dry runs without kicking. But we try to rewire the kids way of thinking, focus on the outcome and pay attention to the process before the kick is perfect.”
Novak brought along a top notch coaching staff, complete with Cleveland Browns kicker Brandon Bogotay, renowned kicking and punting coaches Lance Ortega and John Koker, and representatives from Ikkos, a cutting-edge company that takes a scientific approach and applies it to sports.
“The Ikkos process shrinks the amount of time it takes to get perfect body movements,” said Randy Massengale, a representative of Ikkos. “What we are able to do is through neuroplasticity, take what you can do normally, and improve that by order of magnitude. We use 3-D glasses and use Nick as an idealized model and the kids will use that and put their own style into it. Then we merge the two. And when we do that, they end up kicking more like Nick than they kick normally. Neuroplasticity is one of the big things in neuroscience now, and we’re able to work with the kids to bypass some of the bad habits they learned and learn the new habits.”
Novak’s involvement with Ikkos shows his intense desire to improve by any means necessary. It also shows how he will do whatever he can to assist up and coming kickers.
“We found Nick and he was very interested,” Massengale continued. “He is a passionate guy who wants to be on the cutting edge of technology. So I think this says a lot about him.”
The kids in attendance certainly appreciate the opportunity to learn firsthand from a professional kicker from their hometown team.
“I wanted to come out here today to get better and I think learning from Nick Novak is the best way to improve” said 16-year old Sam Fenlason. “This is awesome. I appreciate the experience having him teach me how to kick.”
To learn more about Novak’s kicking camps, visit his website at www.nicknovak.net.