JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – After nine years in the NFL, Mike Hollis is used to being coached. The roles were reversed when he was coaching a group of high schoolers in his annual kicking camp Thursday morning.
"What I teach is a lot different than what a lot of the other guys are out there teaching and it's a matter of introducing a new way of thinking," says Hollis.
Since 2009, Hollis has made it his mission to bring that new type of thinking to the field. With his pro form kicking camp this summer, he is instructing a group of high schoolers to focus on their techniques, and embrace their size. Hollis know that he "wasn't the biggest guy in the world", and compared to those in the NFL, 5'7 is quite small. But he trusts that with more focus on form and technique, he can get the boys right where they need to be.
"There is some athletic ability that you need to have, but if you just put your mind to it and work hard on it, especially the stuff that we teach, cause it's not very easy to learn, you know it's just a matter of having the will to learn."
You would think that having goal posts is essential for a kicker, but to Hollis they're just a distraction. He says that it's more important to worry about watching the ball, and trusting yourself to kick it straight, rather than between the two poles. Some of the kickers attending the camp had no problem adjusting. Jameson Vi, a kicker from South Korea says, "You kind of have to get that thought out of your mind that, I have to make this. And when you have goal posts outside it kind of makes you want to swing harder and it makes you want to drag the ball to the goalpost so I think it's a lot better."
Riley Robbins from Columbia High School adds "In Jacksonville where we work at there's no field goal posts, it's just like indoor, and it's just a net, so you usually know whenever you have a good kick or not."
Hollis also emphasized the importance of a good starting point. "If your building a house, when do you put the roof on the house? You can't put the roof on first because there's nothing to put it on." "You need to build the foundation first and then the roof will happen."
Hollis also added he is excited to watch Jaguars kicker Jason Myers this season. "He's just getting some experience and his first year was obviously an experience, and he did great. He had a fantastic year."