Billy Vinnedge's kicking camp isn't like most other kicking camps.

And that's just fine with him. In fact, that's exactly what he's going for.

The Billy Vinnedge Kicking Academy Summer Camp is slated to start Saturday, July 19.

Vinnedge, an Arroyo Grande High School graduate who kicked at Wyoming and briefly for the San Diego Chargers, said this year's camp will have fewer kickers participating, making for a more intimate atmosphere for the athletes.

Typically about 30 kickers, of varying levels of experience, sign up for Vinnedge's yearly kicking camp. This year, Vinnedge said, there'll be about 10 to 15 kickers.

"It just provides a little more one-on-one instruction," Vinnedge said.

Most kicking camps at this level are aimed at more experienced place-kickers, ones who have been kicking for a number of years.

Vinnedge's camp is for both experienced kickers and any athletes who have never tried it, but are interested in learning.

"My camp is a true instructional camp, if you have never really kicked before and you’re new at it, you’re going to come out of it a decent kicker in a few days," Vinnedge said. "Whereas most camps they already expect you to know a lot and there’s not a ton of work that is not going to happen, it’s all about rankings and that stuff, mine’s a great camp for the beginners and all the returners, just to refresh all your skills, break it all down to the beginning, spend three days working on solid technique."

The year's camp will have dates on July 19, 20 and 27, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day. The camp will be held at a location on the Central Coast.

Vinnedge said he's had the opportunity to expand his camp, but felt it'd be in the best interest of the kickers to scale it down a bit.

"It’s amazing how many people find out about you from around different areas, and I’ve always said I’ll try to keep it local," he said. "But there’s one of me -- I’ll get a couple college guys to help me out -- I want to make sure everybody is getting quality instruction and I want everybody to feel like they've learned enough."

Vinnedge works with a number of top prep place-kickers and punters in the area, including three of the Central Coast's finest, Jordan Pollard of Righetti, Bryce Pasky of Paso Robles and Cole Ramey of Arroyo Grande. Ramey just might be the best of the bunch.

Pollard, who is also on Righetti's soccer team, drilled 11 touchbacks and had a dozen of his punts land inside the 20-yard line as a junior last season. He also hit five field goals, including a 41-yarder.

Vinnedge had absolutely zero place-kicking experience until he was a sophomore in high school.

He was a soccer standout at Arroyo Grande, but had never touched a football. Then one day assistant football coach Mike McAustin, who Vinnedge said is one of the top special teams coaches he's ever seen, called him into his office. 

The rest is history. 

"I got recruited (to football) when I was a sophomore and the kicker was a senior," Vinnedge says of his high school days. "I never touched a football in my life. I came from the soccer team and I didn't even want to kick. But they brought me out there and I ended up liking it. Ended up going to college for it, got a taste in the pros and all because of one letter I got in class sophomore year."

Vinnedge feels special teams is a huge part of football and a big reason why Arroyo Grande High has such strong special teams units is because of McAustin. 

"Why does AG always have such a good kicker? Why does that go through there?" Vinnedge asked. "It's because they work on special teams, they care about special teams, they're recruiting freshman and sophomore kickers. Mike McAustin, who was my special teams coach over there, in my mind, is the best special teams coach in this area. And there's a reason why they've got good kickers, it's because they work at it."

Ramey was named to the CalHi Sports All-Sophomore Team two years ago and followed that season up with a stellar junior campaign last year, booting 43 touchbacks on 72 kickoffs while drilling 11 of his 15 field goal attempts, including a long of 43 yards.

Former AGHS kicker Garrett Owens is at Oregon State and may take over the starting job next season.

Vinnedge said he may have spots available for his camp, anyone interested can contact him at 458-3078 or email at  bvkacamps@gmail.com. Vinnedge's Kicking Academy even has a webiste at bvkacamps.com.

He's also available for one-on-one private sessions. Vinnedge said he's also primed to start his first season as head coach of Hancock's men's soccer team and he will continue coaching the Nipomo High boys soccer this year. 

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Sports Editor

Alumni Fresno State