TJK BLOG is continuing it’s interviews with TJK Coaches that will be working the TJK Clinic on January 28, 2012 at Houston Academy in Dothan, AL. The next coach is former Iona Kicker, Spencer Callahan, who has the most years of coaching experience with Kickers on our staff.
Spencer will be working with Classes 2015 (Sophomores) and younger – Kickers at the TJK Clinic on January 28, 2012. He gives great insight on kicking mechanics and knows numerous ways to get in the best shape of your life.
Coach Jackson – 1. Explain how you ended up at IONA with a full scholarship?
SC – I ended up at Iona basically because I kept an open mind throughout the recruiting process. I wanted to play at a more well known school, but none of the big southern schools were offering kickers scholarships, my senior year in high school. This prompted me to look more at D-1AA schools. I had never heard of this small school in New York that kept sending me mail, and calling my dad, begging me to just give them a chance and take a visit. I finally gave in and as soon as I called my main recruiter, they had a plane ticket and flew me from Mobile to NYC. I landed at LaGuardia Airport on a cold and rainy night, and the coach picked me up and drove me straight into Times Square. I was there for about 30 seconds before I walked over to a payphone, called my parents and told them that I knew where I was going to school. I guess the bright lights of NYC were like a bug zapper luring me in from small town southern Alabama.
Coach Jackson – 2. When did you get offered from IONA, and did you have any other offers?
SC – I had offers from a bunch of schools, mainly 1-AA. The only other visit I took was to Colgate University in upstate New York and that was my first official visit (Iona was the second/last because I knew as soon as I got there that it felt right and I make all my big decisions based on my gut feeling). Well, my official to Colgate was the first weekend in January and I had never seen snow before. I flew into Albany and the high temperature all four days I was there was 5 degrees. It was a beautiful place and an outstanding school but it just wasn’t for me.
Coach Jackson – 3. Just from your experiences, if a player hasn’t been offered by now, is there still hope to receive an offer from a D-1 school?
SC – You should never be concerned if you haven’t been offered. There are so many schools looking for kickers and struggling in the kicking game. The only problem is that if you are looking for a scholly then you have to be ready to head to a small school because so many of the big SEC schools just do walk-ons and the offers they make are so political, in my opinion. In my experience, the biggest problem is the fact that so many kids in the South just aren’t open minded enough and all they want to do is go to their favorite SEC school… realistically, that probably isn’t going to happen simply based on the number of spots available each year. Keep an open mind and you could end up having the greatest experience of your life.
Coach Jackson – 4. What do you like most about the kicking game?
SC – What do I like most about the kicking game? Wow. So many potential answers. I think it’s the most important aspect of every game. The tempo of each game is started with a kick; every close game can be traced back to a turning point of a punt return or field goal… it’s such an important aspect and you only get one shot. You don’t get three downs to move the chains, you get one snap to hit a field goal or drop a punt inside the 5 yard line. I guess I love pressure. I always stepped up for the pressure moments in soccer, baseball, etc. and it carried over to kicking footballs.
Coach Jackson – 5. What do you look forward to with helping specialists at the younger levels?
SC – My favorite thing about coaching guys at the middle school and high school level is actually watching them come back to camps the following year bombing the ball. I have always had real good success with my guys at various camps, and the best way for me to judge that is to see the improvement they make the following year. You always see improvements in camp, but the best feeling is seeing the guys a year later and realizing they actually did the work you suggested and improved in the areas you hoped they would.
Coach Jackson – 6. If you could tell a specialist one thing, what would it be?
SC – The best advice regarding kicking is probably the only thing I would tell myself if I could go back and say something to the high school Spencer: Just enjoy it and don’t take it too seriously. Sometimes I would lose focus of how much fun football was and I would forget it was just a game. You always kick better if you can detach yourself from the moment and realize you are just doing something you love to do and have done thousands and thousands of times.
Coach Jackson – 7. Any other comments that you would like to say
SC – My best advice as far as recruiting goes: Keep an open mind. Don’t get caught up in looking for one particular offer. Look at all the available offers regardless of how crazy you think it is and give them all a fair shot.
Coach Jackson – Well said Spencer. What great advice!!! Team Jackson Kicking would like to thank TJK Coach, Spencer Callahan, for giving us some great insight on his past and realistic views on being recruited. We look forward to helping all athletes and getting guys looks at the next level, especially starting at the first TJK Clinic on January 28, 2012. Don’t miss your opportunity to really learn the art of kicking with Coach Callahan!!
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TJK BLOG – Coach Jackson