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Kicking it with Vlokskop

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Vlok Cilliers has worked with the very best kickers of a rugby ball in SA, it would not be off the mark to say he has made it possible for those players to reach the heights that they did.

Derrick Hougaard, Morne Steyn and Demitri Catrakilis are some of the dead eye place kickers who have excelled under his tutelage while more recently Rob Du Preez and Damian Willemse have been able to tap into his wealth of knowledge.

Having achieved as much as he has I thought encountering Vlok would be an intimidating experience, an arrogant know it all having to deal with a know nothing peasant but quite the opposite was true. All he wants to do is chat kicking and a bit of golf and how the two have many similarities.

We kick off and chat about how his online platform came about and he tells the story that while still actively involved with provincial team he would receive requests from parents asking for tips on how to improve their kids kicking abilities, these requests would come Pietersburg to Perth.

Having requested the parents share a few videos, giving feedback and then hearing about the massive difference it made he decided that the best away to reach players in different areas and backgrounds and playing levels would be via on online platform and so Vlokskop was born.

We chat about kicking and the attention or lack of attention it receives by players and coaches until almost mid high school, and then, for the goal kicker in the team the insane amount of pressure placed on them by the coaches.

Coaches are often heard telling the kickers that if they miss x amount of kicks they’re not playing next week. That pressure is not fair as who is supposed to teach the players the correct way, kicking for the poles on your own day won’t necessarily correctly your technique and accuracy. The better practice would be to have the kicker learn the correct technique and let that grow while removing some of the pressure of the kicks.

Further to this is that in schoolboy or club games it’s only the 10’s or 15’s that kick and then we end up with centers entering the pro setup who suddenly need to learn the skill of kicking while on the run, something that is quickly being looked at as a basic skill but is still sorely unexecutable by too many players, as little as 3 sessions a month would be all that is required for such a skill to be learnt but sadly this is not being explored.

I probe him on how a player as accurate and consistent as Morne Steyn experiences drastic drops in form to which his “technical “ response was “ shit happens”.

Even the greatest players form dips and in the case of someone like Steyn it could be a matter of timing, the kicking sequence out by a fraction of second that makes a seemingly text book kick get pushed wide. A belief in the integrity of their systems and sequence will always have the form return.

We speak about the Springboks and their current kicking and he speaks his mind while also referencing an article he had just completed for AOR at the time lamenting the Springboks reliance on kicking from 9 and the inaccuracy of those kicks.

” In five kicks, we’ll win one back, one will be on target, one will be too short and two will be too far.” Whereas he was all praise for the accuracy of Connar Murray who gets it right about 9 out of 10 times.

The Vlokskop programme also has a massive community reach, having been involved with many coaching clinics over the years he has seen first-hand the rough diamonds that can be found at these events and as such Vloksop tries to host as many as possible, two programmes were recently held on the 6th and 7th and 10t and 11th December in Paarl.

As part of these clinics and outreaches he is hoping to be able to take a few of the best kickers , be it out of hand or from a tee and have them perform a cross bar challenge or a place kick at Newlands in front of a crowd just to experience the highs, we sincerely hope he is able get this wish.

Vlok has agreed to be a regular feature on Ruggaworld and we are hoping to delve into the technical nature of this art form, if you have any questions let us know and we will put them forward in our next chat.

For more information on VlokSkop visit the website

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