Got Football Kicking/Punting Soreness? Check out Functional Movement Screening (FMS)!

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This blog is going to look at something that I researched not only as a kicking coach for over 26 years, but more importantly, as a Dad of a High School Football combo kicker/punter who HAD been having chronic problems from hip flexors to long term muscle soreness, after kicking.

As a backgrounder, about a year ago I was working with about 10 of my High School College-Bound kickers/punting specialists who were all complaining of kicking soreness (many who were also playing competitive club soccer; to include DA and SPL/RPL during the same season as football – but that is another blog discussion) as well as being told by their High School Head Football Coach/Strength Conditioning/History/English Teacher that as kickers and punters, they were “just not working hard enough in the weight room”.

More heavy dead lifts and box squats were what they needed to get them to “the next level” – whatever that means (to me did they mean the next level of pain – the next level of improper kicking etc. or potential season ending injury that happened to a D1 college kicker last year – who nearly broke his back from improper lifting and was out for 6 games (4 of which were lost on the kicking game).

So as I do in all my tasks of trying to educate our kickers, I reached out to my network of “experts” (specifically related to body building and strength/conditioning): Mr. Al Vaughan (our Chief Physical Fitness Officer here at VAS – who has been ranked as high as 3rd in the World in body building) and another great local Atlanta sports trainer who our son had worked with in the past, Mike Berringer – CEO and owner of Rapid Performance ( for some help and guidance.

Both told me about something called Functional Movement Screening – (FMS) – where many college and NFL Professional Teams have been experiencing great success with their athletes! After researching this, and hearing from some of the professional athletes and teams who had used FMS, I turned to a local certified FMS team called The Starting Block ( and the two men who run it; Dr. Jeff Paul and Tim Johnson.
We then set-up a free FMS 7 test “screening” for our kids with the Starting Blocks guys, and along with the parents and kickers were just blown away with how the screening showed that these kickers were not “weak” but in fact because of the screening results these young athletes just COULD NOT perform some of the weightlifting techniques; which quickly dispelled the notion that as kickers/punters we did not want to train lifting the 500 lb dead lifts as the linemen everyone else was doing. They just could not do that exercise based on how their muscles and bone structure was currently being worked and the “muscle memory” they had been using.

I also want to point out, that those who know me, will attest I spent a lot of time in the gym (and have the “gams” to prove it) and strongly believe that EVERY kicking/punting specialists needs an effective strength conditioning coach/program that addresses the Twitch Fiber, and Short Fiber leg work-out for our kids to become better and stronger kickers – but also more EFFECTIVE kickers/punters.

I won’t bore you with the details of our boys’ successes but can tell you that each kicker (and more importantly their parents) stated what a HUGE difference in leg extension, flexibility, overall better kicking/punting accuracy and less soreness in their legs after kicking and weight training exercising upon completing their FMS tests! Personally, our son has pain free for first time in about four months- and continues to show greater flexibility and strength in his core workouts.
The one final piece The Starting Block team gave us was a specific set of daily and weekly workouts for our sons’ to do at home and even take these workouts to their high school coaches/strength conditioning and tell them just what our kickers could/could not do (more importantly how can they argue with the success the NFL is having in combating potential long term injuries with multi-million dollar star athletes who if they can be back one or two weeks sooner-can be a game changer?)

Lastly, since The NFL uses FMS at some of the college/professional combines to “screen” potential high draft choices for possible related “hidden” potential injuries of a multi-million dollar potential draft pick who is going to cost a team several million dollars (BTW- for the 2011 NFL Football Season the average Punter last year made $858,000 and the average Kicker made $1.3-look this up again) I would encourage you to go to the FMS website or call someone from Mr. Gray Cook’s staff to find out more about FMS- because as a coach and a Dad of kickers our son and the other kids who have gone through FMS, it really can kick your game up a notch to the next level! ++++

Coach Nolan

3 Comments to “Got Football Kicking/Punting Soreness? Check out Functional Movement Screening (FMS)!”

  • Couldn’t agree with you more Coach Nolan, FMS did wonders for Jimmy.

  • Coach Nolan,

    Thank you for posting this blog. As usual, I found it very useful and informative.

    I passed it along to the coaching staff at Dallas’ school, and I know they will feel the same way.

    Please continue your awesome work helping our son’s to be the best they can be.


  • Thank you so much for this and all the other information you provide us(kickers&parents). The biggest obstacle we face is ignorance. I don’t especially mean this in a negative context,more from the angle of ignorance simply being a lack of knowledge. Ignorance is curable/preventable when one uses the given information to achieve better results. The direct denial or refusal to apply or use knowledge & information to improve oneself is called stupidity. Most high school football coaches are ignorant because they lack the resources we as parents have found in the quest for knowledge we seek out in an effort to help our kids improve beyond what they get at school. One thing is for sure,most of what seperates the good coaches from the bad ones is their willingness to learn( an open mind) and stay ahead of the game as it progresses.Hopefully through the efforts of great coaches like Coach Nolan, we can break the cycle of ignorance and pave the way for the future generations of up and coming kickers.