Look around the high school kicking circuit. Star rankings and performances at showcase camps dominate the industry.
It seems an antiquated to system to Ron Coluzzi, a former No. 32-ranked high school kicker who punted at Central Michigan and Iowa.
Coluzzi, along with his partner Joe Nalefski, are bringing the old-school view into the 21st century. Coluzzi Kicking, based in Illinois, focuses on individual growth and utilizing modern technology to help punters improve.
“Our whole thing is you are more than just a number,” said Nalefski, the head of marketing. “There is nobody doing that. Most people in our states are focused on rankings. We are focused on developing you as an athlete.”
Improving the training process
College coaches obsess about current performance. Coluzzi saw it time and again during his recently completed college career. Past results are nice, but it doesn’t tell a coaching staff where a punter sits today.
When looking at the high school kicking teachers and clinics, Coluzzi sees something based on, and geared toward, camp performances, even if footage is from five months ago. He said he believes there is a current void, one of kickers who plug away at their craft and show improvement outside of the big kicking events.
“Coaches always want to see what you are doing now,” Coluzzi said. “Not, two months ago, not a year ago.”
— Coluzzi Kicking (@ColuzziKicking) April 14, 2017
Beyond kicking, Coluzzi Kicking offers workout plans and lessons in mental conditioning. The company, which started in late March, offers a package that tracks a kicker’s growth over time and adds the option for Nalefski to take photos and shoot high school game film. They said the personal touch gives a player a better quality video than the typical Hudl highlights college coaches sift through.
Coluzzi said he understands what coaches want on the recruiting trail and is out to help his kickers provide it to programs.
“Game tape matters,” Coluzzi said. “So does the way you carry yourself. We are trying to relay this message to these kids. They are constantly being watched and judged, and it’s important they do the right thing every single time.”
After transferring from Central Michigan, Coluzzi averaged 41.1 yards on 75 punts with 24 kicks landing inside the 20-yard line as a senior for the Hawkeyes in 2015. He started 3-Step Kicking with former Monmouth kicker Dan Muzzalupo this winter, but Coluzzi said he wanted to grow the company at a faster rate than Muzzalupo was ready for.
“Joe had this huge vision that my former partner couldn’t keep up with,” Coluzzi said. “I knew that if I wanted to accomplish the goals that I wanted to achieve that I had to do my own thing.”
Building up a business
Nalefski and Coluzzi, friends for 15 years, spent the last month building a website and setting up a series of camps across the Midwest, starting with a Newton, Iowa, event on May 13.
Interested in Kicking and punting training? Our first camp is coming up quickly so don't miss out! pic.twitter.com/mrYPCrBp03
— Coluzzi Kicking (@ColuzziKicking) April 7, 2017
“We are providing these kids with the tools they need to be successful on and off the field,” Nalefski said. “That really hits home with everybody.”
They want to aggressively grow and branch out into more than just a regional operation. They said they would love to host camps in Australia because it’s a hot-bed for kicking, even producing Iowa’s next punter.
But first, the focus is small, showing punters a new training approach to replace the old-school approach.
“Nobody offers what we are offering,” Coluzzi said. “We think players will respond to it when they we see what we are about.”