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The one thing remaining to improve


FlashInThePan
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Going back and watching the finals series (a few times) I saw again something that happened often throughout the year. We rarely looked like losing but often in the second quarter we had the opportunity to put the game completely away but kicked points instead of goals.

 Obviously we took home the silverware so it is hard to be too critical, but the one place I think we could improve to make this team unbeatable is in our goal kicking. Goal kicking must have a huge mental component. Over the years, despite players becoming full time  athletes and having access to facilities and resources undreamed of back in the 70s and 80s, goal kicking has not improved at all.

 The above being true we may see some improvement off the back of the swagger and added confidence that comes from being the reigning champs, but if there was one thing to really put some time into over the off season, for me, this would be it.

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I've been going through the whole season and I agree with you goal kicking was a bit of an issue all year however the finals games weren't too bad especially against top quality opposition.
Mark Williams has been big on this with the introduction of his balls to our training. 
Throughout the year you could see massive improvements in certain players kicking
(Ie: Bayley Fritsch, Clayton Oliver, Christian Petracca all vastly improved throughout the year) 


The second half of the Grand final was especially very clean goal kicking wise
We kicked 16.5 in the second half compared to our 5.9 halftime score (3 behinds were rushed for the game)
(And Gawn's point in the second quarter was def a goal but we cant count it)
In the Prelim against Geelong we kicked 19.11 with 4 behinds being rushed 

So we kicked 19.7 in the Prelim and 21.11 in the Grand Final off our own boot
that totals at 30.18 going at a 62.5% accuracy
The AFL average from 2015-2021 in goal kicking accuracy is 48.4%
The Brisbane QF we scored 13.15 (but had two rushed) so we sit at 50% accuracy for that game

I think we are going to see an improved team next year because they now have undoubted belief that they now have the ability to achieve greatness and the skill improvements we saw across the season to build on from here. 

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This has been commented on and researched ad infinitum by probably every club in Australia. There's a reason it hasn't improved and it's got very little to do with practicing goal kicking (particularly set shot goal kicking) given the current time constraints players have to get better at this skill versus the time required to improve. If it was simply a matter of practice, Nathan Buckley would have turned Cloke into the greatest forward of all time. I'm not saying it'll never improve, but any improvement will likely be incremental and occur over a long period of time, assuming there is no massive breakthrough in technology. There are a complex cluster of inputs that all need to work synchronistically together to even achieve minor improvement. One of those is practicing under conditions that simulate high-pressure scenarios, the role of fatigue in preparing to kick for goal and take into account the unique characteristics of different venues and whether conditions. Bring all these together in a practice environment, given the current evolution of the game, is practically impossible. 

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1 hour ago, FlashInThePan said:

Going back and watching the finals series (a few times) I saw again something that happened often throughout the year. We rarely looked like losing but often in the second quarter we had the opportunity to put the game completely away but kicked points instead of goals.

 Obviously we took home the silverware so it is hard to be too critical, but the one place I think we could improve to make this team unbeatable is in our goal kicking. Goal kicking must have a huge mental component. Over the years, despite players becoming full time  athletes and having access to facilities and resources undreamed of back in the 70s and 80s, goal kicking has not improved at all.

 The above being true we may see some improvement off the back of the swagger and added confidence that comes from being the reigning champs, but if there was one thing to really put some time into over the off season, for me, this would be it.

Yep, kicking for goal just is not good enough and a myriad of ills are being attached to the process - it is important but it neednot be a psychological challenge. A shot at goal - either in haste or more properly set up - is the confirmation of the right to be able to score from good play in those and from those seconds to get the ball inside goal range. 

There simply cannot be adequate time and focus on goal-kicking practices. 

Think back in our own footy histories. If we had a problem with accuracy, we did something about it, working on a selection of techniques to effect improved accuracy and reliability. We discarded that which did not work and practised and practised those techniques that worked for us. 

Professional footballers owe it to their supporters, instead of leaving scoring opportunities and consistencies to the fates of the moment,

Here endeth the diatribe.

 

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I do notice it seems a tactic to kick the ball deep to the pockets. That makes it harder to score accurately from marks, stoppages or open play. On the other hand it keeps the ball locked in more often and difficult for the opposition defences to cleanly exit when they get the ball. We do lead the completion for both number of inside 50’s, efficiency for inside 50’s as well as tackles. So we are doing very well. We sacrifice accuracy for weight of entries and scoring pressure. Of course sometimes it works better than others. It’s been about playing the percentages for us. 

Edited by John Crow Batty
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It can improve. The sports scientists killed it based on the myth that if you kicked too much you would pull a hamstring.  If anything, Burgo now thinks the opposite so hopefully that’s left a mark.

It’s also interesting that Simpson did not believe that and allows his players at West Coast to practice as much as they want and their accuracy average has led the league for a number of years. 

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4 minutes ago, Watson11 said:

It can improve. The sports scientists killed it based on the myth that if you kicked too much you would pull a hamstring.  If anything, Burgo now thinks the opposite so hopefully that’s left a mark.

It’s also interesting that Simpson did not believe that and allows his players at West Coast to practice as much as they want and their accuracy average has led the league for a number of years. 

I agree, I completely accept that there is a strong psychological component but equally there must be a physical skill component. 

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5 hours ago, FlashInThePan said:

Going back and watching the finals series (a few times) I saw again something that happened often throughout the year. We rarely looked like losing but often in the second quarter we had the opportunity to put the game completely away but kicked points instead of goals.

 Obviously we took home the silverware so it is hard to be too critical, but the one place I think we could improve to make this team unbeatable is in our goal kicking. Goal kicking must have a huge mental component. Over the years, despite players becoming full time  athletes and having access to facilities and resources undreamed of back in the 70s and 80s, goal kicking has not improved at all.

 The above being true we may see some improvement off the back of the swagger and added confidence that comes from being the reigning champs, but if there was one thing to really put some time into over the off season, for me, this would be it.

Not saying theres no room for improvement but I think its worth considering our style of play.

As a team that seems to have an ethos of moving the ball forward quickly and consistantly ie more attacking than most I think a natural side effect is to have a higher point tally than others.

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I've been thinking that there's plenty of upside to Ben Brown. Last season he came in not-so fit, cemented his spot late and played his role extremely well though without all that many goals of his own to show for it. Next year he'll have had another pre-season in the program to build the fitness and synergy with teammates, and with confidence riding high (surely...) plus other dangerous forwards to demand the opposition's attention (including Gawn and Jackson here along with TMac, Fritta and Weid), i have a feeling we are on for a genuinely dominant year. 

Nutshell: Overconfidence??? Dunno, I reckon the forward line has plenty of room to mature. 

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33 minutes ago, leave it to deever said:

Not saying theres no room for improvement but I think its worth considering our style of play.

As a team that seems to have an ethos of moving the ball forward quickly and consistantly ie more attacking than most I think a natural side effect is to have a higher point tally than others.

I was hesitant about putting up this topic. I’m not a glass half empty person, I think this team is the bomb. By a mile the best demons team in my many years of supporting, and right now, the undeniably best team in the league.

 Every year you need to find things to improve though or other teams will overtake you. The last two finals games don’t show it as much as we were just so dominant but the QF against the lions and some of the games throughout the year you can see we often dominate early in the game, most often in the 2nd quarter, but we kick points rather than goals. This seems like an area we could focus on for improvement.

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4 hours ago, John Crow Batty said:

I do notice it seems a tactic to kick the ball deep to the pockets. That makes it harder to score accurately from marks, stoppages or open play. On the other hand it keeps the ball locked in more often and difficult for the opposition defences to cleanly exit when they get the ball.

Nailed it. Goalkicking accuracy is like umpiring - it's a nice thing to blame when we lose, but in reality doesn't actually affect the outcome of a match all that often. This article explains it fairly well - when shot difficulty is accounted for, we actually rank #6 for accuracy. We are also one of the best teams in terms of conceding easy shots on goal.

https://www.foxsports.com.au/afl/where-every-club-ranks-in-the-2021-expected-accuracy-ladder-champion-index/news-story/001a4914d94d2a07907973ee3376bcdf

It makes sense - for all the moaning that goes on, who are our bad kicks for goal? Fritsch, TMac, Brown, Melksham and Spargo (from <45m) are as reliable a set shot as any player in the comp. Trac and ANB have both sorted out his goal kicking. Kosi is probably the most unreliable set shot in our forwardline at this stage, and he kicked 40.28 for the year.  

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Set shot goal kicking was an issue from the first game versus Freo, but I don't think it is our major flaw.

We won the flag so can't complain too much, but if I look at the 3 defeats and the draw, or even the periods in the finals games where the momentum was with the opposition, the same weakness was dominant: i.e. lack of defensive pressure through the middle of he ground, when we didn't have the ball.

At a turnover, or at a stoppage where the opposition won the ball, or even at our half forward where the opposition took an intercept mark, if our mids, wings and half forwards were too slow to respond, goals were kicked easily against us in runs of multiple goals. 

After the round 19 loss to the Bulldogs, there were very few games where this defensive slow response hurt us too much, but I reckon other teams will try and exploit us on the turnover, because it is - as far a I can see right now - our only weakness.

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40 minutes ago, Maldonboy38 said:

Set shot goal kicking was an issue from the first game versus Freo, but I don't think it is our major flaw.

We won the flag so can't complain too much, but if I look at the 3 defeats and the draw, or even the periods in the finals games where the momentum was with the opposition, the same weakness was dominant: i.e. lack of defensive pressure through the middle of he ground, when we didn't have the ball.

At a turnover, or at a stoppage where the opposition won the ball, or even at our half forward where the opposition took an intercept mark, if our mids, wings and half forwards were too slow to respond, goals were kicked easily against us in runs of multiple goals. 

After the round 19 loss to the Bulldogs, there were very few games where this defensive slow response hurt us too much, but I reckon other teams will try and exploit us on the turnover, because it is - as far a I can see right now - our only weakness.

You are 100% on the money.
Same thing happened in the grand final when the Bulldogs got on top it was because the Mids were not being responsible/accountable enough for their opponents at the stoppages

 

1 hour ago, adonski said:

Felt like we kicked to the pocket less in finals, or am I imagining things?

It does feels like that, I think the forwards started to lead to better positions and didn't get in each others ways as much once Ben Brown settled in the side.
Theres plenty of times earlier in the season where 2 (sometimes 3) players would lead and jump at the same ball or Fritsch would go to the pocket so he got a 1V1

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I don’t think that goal kicking accuracy is “the one thing remaining to improve”.

I've watched all the finals matches multiple times and I have started watching the season’s games from the beginning. I’m up to the Richmond game.

To me, it’s clear… We gave up too many goals to crumbing forwards when we dropped marks or spoiled in defence.  Despite Lever, May and Max marking well during the year, all three dropped too many marks (sometimes uncontested) and gave away goals. Additionally, when they spoiled in marking competitions, opposition small forwards pounced. I think the term is “ground ball gets”.

First, we need to hold those defensive marks. Second, we need better defending small backs for when the ball spills to ground within 20 metres of our opponents’ goal.

So yes, fix the goal kicking accuracy. But it’s not the ONE thing remaining to improve. 

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25 minutes ago, Fanatique Demon said:

I don’t think that goal kicking accuracy is “the one thing remaining to improve”.

I've watched all the finals matches multiple times and I have started watching the season’s games from the beginning. I’m up to the Richmond game.

To me, it’s clear… We gave up too many goals to crumbing forwards when we dropped marks or spoiled in defence.  Despite Lever, May and Max marking well during the year, all three dropped too many marks (sometimes uncontested) and gave away goals. Additionally, when they spoiled in marking competitions, opposition small forwards pounced. I think the term is “ground ball gets”.

First, we need to hold those defensive marks. Second, we need better defending small backs for when the ball spills to ground within 20 metres of our opponents’ goal.

So yes, fix the goal kicking accuracy. But it’s not the ONE thing remaining to improve. 

Yet statistically we had the best defence ever by a long way.  Even so, I do agree with your assessment re ground balls, and if we do clean up that little thing, we will break the record for the best defensive team ever again.  

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11 minutes ago, Watson11 said:

Yet statistically we had the best defence ever by a long way.  Even so, I do agree with your assessment re ground balls, and if we do clean up that little thing, we will break the record for the best defensive team ever again.  

Bowey playing a full season may assist

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Im happy with the most dominant finals series I can recall and winning the GF by 74pts. Don’t see this as a big issue  

fritsch, Trac and T Mac have already improved their goal kicking on last year 

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I find it interesting that the NBA free throw percentage is under 80% average.  It’s a set shot from a set distance, straight in front.  AFL goal kicking is a mixture of set shots and in play, from a variety of distances and angles. 
 

Be interesting to see set shot vs in play statistics.

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Goalkicking across the AFL has been average for years, I can only assume the players either dont invest the time or flaws in the kicking techniques. 

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1 hour ago, Jibroni said:

Goalkicking across the AFL has been average for years, I can only assume the players either dont invest the time or flaws in the kicking techniques. 

Or a combination of both ... and fatigue is an issue too (as highlighted by a few others on this thread)

And you're right, it's across the AFL

Mind you, we were much better this season as we've had games in previous years where it's really cost us ... such as R21 in 2018 against the Swans

16.5 after half time in a GF?  You'd take that any day of the week

 

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11 hours ago, Deemania since 56 said:

Yep, kicking for goal just is not good enough and a myriad of ills are being attached to the process - it is important but it neednot be a psychological challenge. A shot at goal - either in haste or more properly set up - is the confirmation of the right to be able to score from good play in those and from those seconds to get the ball inside goal range. 

There simply cannot be adequate time and focus on goal-kicking practices. 

Think back in our own footy histories. If we had a problem with accuracy, we did something about it, working on a selection of techniques to effect improved accuracy and reliability. We discarded that which did not work and practised and practised those techniques that worked for us. 

Professional footballers owe it to their supporters, instead of leaving scoring opportunities and consistencies to the fates of the moment,

Here endeth the diatribe.

 

I think there have been a few instructive instances this year of your improvement in this regard. The best example l can think of offhand is the vital goal Gus Brayshaw kicked in the grannie in the third quarter on a 45 degree angle 45 metres out. He deliberately took his time and nailed it with a perfect kick. Meantime BT was going bananas in the commentary box saying he is not paying enough attention to the game and should hurry up!
 

Apparently Gus has been having special practice goal kicking at every training session at Choco’s skills academy because he has been unhappy with his goal kicking performance. A better example of advantage of specialist skills coaching l could not imagine as that kick more than any other got us up and running at a critical time in the game and we never looked back!

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