Measure Football Speed Off The Placekicker’s Foot!
The Swing Speed Radar® is a small, affordable microwave Doppler radar velocity sensor that measures the football speed of football placekickers.
The Swing Speed Radar® can be used to measure the speed of a football kicked by a place kicker practicing field goals or kick-offs. Simply place the Swing Speed Radar® about 10 inches away from the teed-up ball, facing the direction of the ball flight, as shown in the accompanying illustration. Turn the Swing Speed Radar® on and start kicking. No need to reset the Swing Speed Radar® — it is ready to read the next ball speed immediately and will display the ball speed of the last kick until the next kick creates a new ball speed. Thus the kicker can conveniently vary the collision of the foot with the ball for the desired flight trajectory.
Distance is a function of the ball speed created by the impact of the kicker’s foot on the ball. However, there are many variables that affect the distance that the ball travels and its’ trajectory, including the foot and ball collision characteristics, particularly the location on the ball where it is struck by the kicker’s foot; the physical characteristics and condition of the ball; the ball air pressure; and environmental factors such as wind, temperature, altitude, moisture and humidity.
We choose to measure ball speed instead of the kicker’s foot speed because we want the result of the foot and ball collision. Poor contact can produce an unsatisfactory ball flight. Kickers strive to achieve the leg lock mechanics that will transfer maximum energy from the leg to the ball. For sideline practice, the kicker can kick the ball into a practice net, knowing the ball speed and target distance that is the objective of the particular practice kick. Kickers and coaches can keep records of the progress being made as kicking mechanics are refined and strengthened by practice repetition. The quantitative feedback is a great motivator for improvement, and spurs competition among kickers during practice.
The chart below illustrates the approximate relationship between ball speed and the distance at which a field goal can be made. The approximate ball speed for a kickoff to reach the end zone is also shown.