A while ago, Shawn Kovacich sent me a truckload of his books for so here’s the first review. It covers his first book: “Back Kick (Achieving Kicking Excellence, Vol. 1)” of the kicking excellence series. The review was supposed to auto-publish while I was abroad but WordPress apparently swallowed the post. So I rewrote the review quickly. Here it is.
“Back Kick (Achieving Kicking Excellence, Vol. 1)” starts with a preface, covering some good info on kicking techniques and specifically the back kick. Shawn then gives some pointers on how to use the book to learn the most from it.
The first chapter covers the anatomy of the back kick, which muscles and joints are used and how they interact. The author provides plenty of clear pictures and drawings to explain everything. Good stuff. Then he explains how you should warm up and stretch for practicing your turning back kick. He moves on to describe many important factors of a successful back kick: timing, distance, targeting, balance and loads more.
After you’ve digested this preparatory information, it’s time to get into the meat of the book; how to do a turning back kick and it’s many variations. In the next chapter, Shawn covers in extreme detail and step-by-step how you should perform this technique. He not only gives you a clear description but you also get pictures, drawings of how to position your feet at each step and a pictorial guide at the end. I particularly enjoyed this last one as it gives you a quick summary of the kick, perfect for when you don’t want to read an entire chapter and only want a quick refresher.
The next part of the book goes into the same amount of detail for several variations on the turning back kick:
- Step-back back kick
- Step-over back kick
- Spinning back kick
- Slide/hop forward and backward back kick
- Front leg back kick
- Switch back kick
- Off-setting back kick
- 6 step back kick
- Jump back kick
- 540° jumping back kick
As you can see, you won’t be lacking of ideas to try once you’ve mastered the standard back kick!
Chapter six covers training and practice methods. This means everything you do to make your kick better and learn how to apply it. Shawn tells you how to do:
- Skill training (with a partner, wall, chair)
- Strength training (using weights, cables, plyometrics)
- Speed training (ankle weights, quick draw, water training)
- Power training (force bag, heavy bag, running)
This is solid, standard information you’ll find easy to apply to your training schedule. It may not be super-duper flashy stuff but it gets the job done of improving your back kick. The only thing you really need to do is start sweating and working hard. :-)
The book ends with a trouble shooting guide and some applications. This last part has a couple techniques I didn’t agree with 100% but I understand what Shawn wants to convey to the reader. So give them a try and see how they work for you.
This book is the first of Shawn’s “achieving kicking excellence” series and sets the tone for the rest of them: good, solid information on one specific kick. But it doesn’t stop there. Shawn gives you all the other components you need to not only learn but also keep on improving your back kick. You’ll notice when you master the basic turning back kick how you’ll have an easier time performing some of the variations. Which in turn allows you to perform the jump back kick and then eventually move up to the more complex 540° jumping back kick.
With the amount of detail in the instruction and the trouble shooting guide, along with hard training, you’ll easily progress through these stages and achieve what the book promises: kicking excellence.
The only negative point I have to mention is some of the lay out choices. The pages are sometimes crowded and too many times for my taste, Shawn uses ALL CAPS, BOLD AND UNDERLINED text. This last one is a pet peeve of mine so it might not bother you. But it irks the hell out of me when a book screams at me.
If you’re having trouble with the turning back kick or just want to find new ways of using it, this is an excellent resource. Don’t hesitate, just buy it!