Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Football

Justin Yoon Putting Extra Work In This Spring

April 18, 2018

Justin Yoon battled a bone bruise last spring which prevented him from kicking until the summer. The senior kicker is healthy this spring, and the ‘boom’ is back in his kicks.

The 5-foot-10, 194-pounder credits Director of Football Performance, Matt Balis, for getting his leg strength back over the last year.  

“I think so,” Yoon said when asked if his leg was stronger than a year ago. “Coach Balis’ training, there is no doubt about it.

“The biggest thing is the amount of precision we put into each workout. We’re developing each individual strength.”

For Yoon, the lower body and back workouts are crucial for building and maintaining his leg strength. 

“I’ve been doing a lot of leg presses, squats and Olympic lifts have been helping me,” explained Yoon. “I feel a lot stronger and a lot more confident.” 

While specialists might not get much competition during practice, Yoon took matters into his own hands as he flew out to compete in a camp with Kohl’s Kicking during spring ball. 

Yoon did miss one practice, but the chance to fine-tune his game was worth a crazy road trip back, which included a $300 taxi ride to make it to morning lifting after his flight was delayed.

“It’s interesting because every time I go, I think I feel fine but the next thing you know I look at my video analysis, and there’s always one little thing that’s off,” Yoon said. “The biggest thing for me is planting right on the spot. I’ve done that a lot this spring and it’s worked but I have to make sure I maintain that posture and pose all the time.” 

The video analysis is a very detailed process, and every part of Yoon’s kicking routine is looked at from the time he arrives at the line of scrimmage. 

“We look at every little thing,” laughed Yoon. “For instance, taking our steps back straight and over to the left straight with a 90-degree angle. The biggest part is when you go to the ball. You have to make sure you’re at the same distance.

“I’m always at 114 inches and always that distance away from the ball. My jab step is always consistent and nice and smooth around 6 to 8 inches. My second step is roughly around 18 to 24 inches. I have to be around that range to be consistent, and it’s a straight railroad track to the ball.” 

After Yoon starts into his kick, the next part of the analysis is how he plants his foot to meet the football. 

“When I’m going to my driving step, my plant foot has to be angled the same way,” Yoon explained. “It’s a certain depth, so it matters how far and deep it is compared to the ball. It has to always be perfect to have a successful kick.” 

“My foot has to be positioned perfectly to hit the ball. Hitting the sweet spot with my foot is the key ingredient to making a successful kick.” 

Yoon enjoys the in-depth analysis from a kicking coach, but also the competition as some of the finest kickers in America attend. There is competition between the collegiate and professional kickers, but Yoon also gets a chance to coach younger players. 

“It’s interesting because every time you go, you never know who is there. Jamie (Kohl) is there, and the coaching staff tends to be similar, but you have college guys coming to coach the high school guys,” said Yoon. “You learn from teaching. I’m teaching these kids but I’m also learning what they are doing wrong and maybe I can fix that problem.” 

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