The Stab Punt and David Parkin

 

by Jim Johnson

 

David Parkin and the term “stab punt” as “coined” in “THE SCIENCE OF KICKING” with a Foreword by David Parkin.

 

David Parkin says in his foreword “Finally…a book devoted to the most central of skills—Kicking”.

 

The authors have “coined the term stab punt because it describes perfectly the mechanics of this shorter-range and highly accurate pass. It should not be confused with the stab kick, a drop kick as popularised by players like Bob Skilton (1960s) While similar to a drop punt it never-the less has several defining characteristics that give it a distinctive flavour and purpose. It is not designed for maximum distance and accordingly the player uses a variation in drop punt technique with a limited backswing and minimal follow through. It is a kick in which a rapid punching action is applied to the ball the aim being to pass the ball as quickly and as accurately as possible to a teammate”. Extract from pages 64 & 65 of THE SCIENCE OF KICKING 1st Edition by Geoffrey Hosford. & Don Meikle published 2007 by B.I.P.E. Publications Pty Ltd.

 

I read the item in THE SCIENCE OF KICKING as recording that the kick is being used today and also talks of converting the drop punt into a stab punt. The Stab Kick and Drop Kick are part of the history of our game and both the terms drop punt and stab punt should be used as descriptions of these two kicks. The term “Stab Punt” has been “coined” in The Science of Kicking 58 years after Jim Johnson invented his Stab Punt, at age fifteen. in May 1949. See below a copy of the notice recording “Jim’s Stab Punt” in the Age of Thursday the 26th of July 1990.

 

“STAB PUNT – The Inventor of the Stab Punt (1949) is interested in hearing from anyone who used this kick pre 1970 Ph. 8743622,”

 

This notice appeared on the Sports Page that had an article by David Parkin on the Torpedo Punt.

 

So we have an article, by a legend, describing how to kick a Torpedo Punt and a notice by Little Jimmie Johnson re his Stab Punt Invention on the same page.

 

Jim Johnson, Melbourne High School 1st “18 Football Colours 1950.

 

“Sentinel, Official Organ for the S.R.C – Melbourne High” Tuesday,, 27th June 1950. Vol. 8, No. 4., p.10  MHS V Melbourne Grammar. Little “Jimmy Johnson”, who had been roving tirelessly, ran into an open goal to add another major. Moore to Kann (Brian Kann, 57 games at Hawthorn 1954-59) to Johnson was beautiful football and fully deserving of the resultant angle goal from the nippy rover. Johnson was a tiger for the school; he was in everything….However, the brilliant Johnson secured again on the forward line but his left-foot snap hit the post.

 

Best Players, Melbourne High: Johnson, Hurse, P Eisen, Harms, Courtney, H Eisen School Captain. This was in Jim’s second game for the School Team. Jim new to the School and in Year Eleven did not know anyone in the School Team.

 

Jim was mentioned, “Jim Johnson was a tiger for the school; he was in everything”, at the School assembly on the following Monday morning for the game he played in this his second appearance in the School Team.

 

Jim in his only year at Melbourne High did not know anyone in our team and his type of play was unknown to any of his team mates.

 

No one realized Jim was kicking his Stab Punts and Drop Punt Field Passes before the ball hit the ground.

 

Jim Johnson and David Parkin both played in the Melbourne High School Football and Cricket Teams.

 

David Parkin played cricket for Hawthorn Footballers who in 1981 rejoined the Eastern Suburbs Cricket Association after 15 years absence. “David Parkin clubbed his way to 107 in 55 minutes.”

 

In 1957/58 David Parkin won the Dave Dickie Memorial Cup, then playing cricket for Hawthorn East Melbourne. In awarding the Dave Dickie Memorial Cup for the most promising junior player the Executive said:

 

“We feel sure this player will go far in his cricketing career:

 

History will record that he may not have achieved the greatest heights in cricket, but he certainly has in football. Information from “NINETY NOT OUT A History of the Eastern Suburbs Cricket Association”  by Colin Martin,1994.

 

Jim Johnson played cricket for Ringwood, in the Eastern Suburbs Cricket Association A Grade turf teams of 1957/58 Runners up…58/59 Runners up and the 59/60 Premiership team in which Jim won the  A grade Ringwood bowling with an average of 8.96.

 

Researched by  Stab Punt Jim Johnson.

 

Comments

  1. bring back the torp says:

    Hi Jim

    It has always amazed me that the drop punt (which is easier to kick than drop kicks & torpedoes), which has a bigger “sweet spot” than most kicks (except for a flat punt & probably the old place kick), & is therefore easier to kick accurately than all other kicks, did not come into widespread useage until the 1970’s. A small no. of players were doing drop punts in the 30’s (eg Coventry brothers, J.Dyer etc)
    Why do you think the drop punt was not used far more widely before the 70’s?

    In community football prior to the mid 60’s, was there much discussion about using drop punts? Did you see many?

    Did you also often do stab kicks? Did you prefer the stab punt -if so, why?

    Which players, in any elite comp., do you think were the first to use stab punts regularly?

    When did you see stab punts first used in community football (apart from yourself)? And did others question you often on how you mastered stab punts/its benefits/ the technique/its history etc.?

    In the 1880’s, contemporary sources often mentioned “screw kicks”. Some say these were torpedoes, others surmise a screw kick was early terminology for an “around the corner” kick (ie across the body). Do you have an opinion on what exactly was a “screw kick” in the post 1880 period?

    When do you think torpedoes first come into common useage? And who were the best early proponents? Are you aware of the first player to kick the majority of his (non-drop kicks) kicks as torpedoes ie he preferred torps to the far more common flat punt?

    Why do you think place kicks were preferred originally for long distance kicks for a goal, & not torpedoes? Was the former easier to kick accurately? Did the early big, heavy boots make drop kicks & place kicks easier? And propel them further?

    I hope I am not “ambushing ” you with these questions, since I know you have an interest in the (much ignored) history of Aust. Football kicking?

  2. Hi bring back the torp.
    Thanks for your Comment Questionnaires.
    Find some replies
    If you have any further questions please record them.

    Hi JIm
    It has always amazed me that the drop punt (which is easier to kick than drop kicks & torpedoes), which has a bigger “sweet spot” than most kicks (except for a flat punt & probably the old place kick), & is therefore easier to kick accurately than all other kicks, did not come into widespread useage until the 1970’s. A small no. of players were doing drop punts in the 30’s (eg Coventry brothers, J.Dyer etc)

    Jack Dyers Drop Punt in his own words and mine was awkward and he used it only for short set shots and definitely not for a full pace field kick or stab punt.. I decided almost immediately after trying his method that I would convert my drop kick action into my drop punt acton. It took me about half of this 1948 football season, with only very limited kicks gained in kick to kick on the Lilydale High School ground, to accomplish and perfect it into a running at up to full pace field kick/ pass.
    I can find no record on Trove of Jack Dyer kicking his drop punt untill 1948 as recorded in “ Dyer Sees Red” in which Jack Dyer used the term “stab-punt kick”, dropping the ball point down and almost vertical, kicking it with the toe of his boot. “Dick” Lee, famous Collingwood forward, used the same type of kick. Note! Jack Dyer is saying that Dick Lee kicked the drop punt before he did.
    Jack Dyer’s first recorded use on trove of the term Drop Punt was in The Sporting Globe Football Book of June 1948.

    The Metherell Brothers of Geelong used the drop punt in the 1930’s. They learned the kick from there father in Perth pre 1930. George Goninon mainly of Geelong got the idea of his very accurate drop punt from Jack Metherell, ex Geelong who later playied and coached in Tasmania. I have spoken by phone to George Goninon on several occasions.

    Jack Dyer says, in Jack Dyer’s Footy Clinic in Captain Blood page 165.
    “I am given credit for developing the drop punt. I was the first to use it as a set kick (Not correct. See Jack Dyer himself re Dick Lee in Dyer Sees Red, Hugh Hinks and Horrie Clover}, but I picked up the idea from the Collier Brothers. How did Jack Dyer not see the Metherell Brothers using their drop punt in the thirties?

    Ruckman Len Metheral of Geelong 1930-1936, (against whom Jack Dyer would have played) was renowned for his toughness, strong overhead marking and was one of the first regular exponents of the drop punt, the kick which Jack Dyer is often amusingly purported to have ‘invented’. Author – John Devaney. See VFL football.

    My interest in Australian Rules foot disposal history is restricted to the Stab and Drop Punts pre 1966.

    I could kick a torpedoe punt when I was fourteen. I found little use for it and when at fifteen years of age I had perfected my Drop and Stab Punts I had no use at all for it. I as good as always used my new kicks all the time as I believed they were the best possible disposals and I could use them in any field conditions.

    Re usage?
    From my research the initial popularization of the drop punt was by a combination of Hec de Lacy with the Sporting Globe and the Sporting Globe Football Book of 1948 that was Compiled, Edited and Published by Hec de Lacy.

    Then in 1965 along came the wonderful Peter McKenna who had the Australia wide popularity of a Rock Star together with a beautifully perfected Drop Punt for goal.
    It still took quite a few years for the drop punt to become really well established and to a standard Jim Johnson had achieved with his drop and stab punt field kicks from May 1949 untill September 1960.

    No one asked for help from me because no one recognised that I was in kicking the ball before it hit the ground and I never attempted to draw attention to myself for anything I did.

    Frank Casey, football journalist for The Croydon Ringwood Post, who used the description of “a Delightful Little Drop Punt” for his description of my stab punt in the paper of the 15th of September 1960 when at the same time in the Ringwood Mail a journalist, Davy Crockett, wrote “No doubt about Jimmy Johnson, he definitely has found the lost art of stab passing.”

    Frank Casey took from June two to September one 1960 to work out that Jim Johnson kicked his accurate disposals before the ball hit the ground.

    Newcomer, Jimmy Johnson, showed a tone of pace and ability to accurately dispose of the ball on the run, at top speed.

    Frank Casey June 9, 1960, Jimmy Johnson transferred to Croydon promises to be one of the best if not the best winger in the competition.

    Frank Casey June 16 1960. Ability to dispose accurately of the ball whilst in full stride makes Johnson a menace to all halfbacks.

    “June 16, 1960, p 15, Letters to the Editor: Praise for Frank Casey: Sir, — the write-up in the “Post” of the Mitcham v. Croydon game last week was one of the best ever. It’s good to read an unbiased opinion and an accurate write-up. Our thanks and best wishes to Frank Casey – Yours, etc., ROWLEY SEWART, Mitcham Football Club

    1960 Croydon Football club notes “… Bob Greve’s (Ex Collingwood). marking and general play throughout the game and Jimmy Johnson’s classy display of ball disposal”.

    Wharton hand passed to Jim Johnson– stab passed (Stab Punt) to Porter. June 30, 1960, by Adrian Laughlin of The Ringwood Mail.

    Jim Johnson gained possession on the wing and stab (Stab Punt) passed to Manfield. A second journalist, Adrian Laughlin, joins Davy Crocket in calling Jim’s Stab Punt aa a Stab Pass. “Ringwood Mail”, July 7 1960.

    Frank Casey. September 8 1960“… … Johnson picked up on the run, sent a drop-punt direct to Espie for another goal.” Johnson, on the flank, was making good use of his accurate punt passes.

    No doubt about Jimmy Johnson, he definitely has found the lost art of stab passing. The Ringwood Mail September 15, 1960. Stab Kicks by Davy Crockett.

    Why do you think the drop punt was not used far more widely before the 70’s?

    THE FOLLOWING EXTRACTS from Captain Blood, Jack Dyer as told to Brian Hansen, 1965. The publication most referred to re Dyers Drop Punt including by The Richmond Football Club.

    Coaches do not teach this kick (the drop punt) to their players for one reason. They cannot do it and have never bothered to learn its fundamentals. Top of page 167. Captain Blood,

    THE DROP KICK WILL BE BACK,
    However there is nothing more certain than the drop kick will be back. The football cycle is reverting back to classical football and dropkicking to position. Page 161/2 Captain Blood 1965.

    In community football prior to the mid 60’s, was there much discussion about using drop punts?

    I found no printed discussions recorded except for accurate comments about the Drop Punt for goal of George Goninon.

    Quite often Jack Dyer was said to be credited with inventing the Drop Punt including by Jack Dyer himself even though when he was interviewed in Dyer Sees Red in 1948 he records Dick Lee had kicked it before him.

    Did you also often do stab kicks? Did you prefer the stab punt -if so, why?

    I used my stab Punt from when, in under three weeks it took me to convert my Stab Kick into my Stab Punt in early May 1949. I did not ever use the stab kick again. I said to only myself that for me I have the best all weather low pass in Australia so why kick anything else. I only used the drop kick around 4 times in 1950 then not at all.

    My stab kick I did not use ever again because my drop punts and stab punts were just the best method of foot disposals for me.
    My secret which I kept to myself for all my playing days and through till my notice in the age of 1990.

    See “Stab Kick to Stab Punt and Drop Kick To Drop Punt”. Early history in Australian Rules Football to 1965. When you open hit “Show comments (70)’ and you will find 70 items one under the other summing up the hundreds of ours of my research.
    Thanks again for your comments and questions.

    Stab Punt Jm Johnson

  3. Hi bring back the torp.
    I should not have cut this information out of my answer to you.
    Re Question on was there much discussion about using drop punts? Did you see many?
    ANSWER.NO and I was not researching or taking notes at this time. As a kid we lived in what was country. A four miles walk to school most of the time. We had little radio or newspapers. We had candle and kero lighting, tank water was outside the house and no services. Our postal address and the nearest telephone was care of the “Do Drop In Shop” corner of Swansea and York Roads a mile down the hill,1942 to 1949. It was while living here that I invented my Stab Punt and Drop Punt as a field kick in 1948-1949.

    QUESTION. It has always amazed me that the drop punt (which is easier to kick than drop kicks & torpedoes), which has a bigger “sweet spot” than most kicks (except for a flat punt & probably the old place kick), & is therefore easier to kick accurately than all other kicks?
    ANSWER How you find the drop punt kick easier to kick than a drop kick is how it was for the earlier players in reverse who found it easier to kick a drop kick than a Dyer drop punt.

  4. Hi bring back the torp.
    Dick Reynolds said! ” I developed a low straight torpedo punt, and it gets me by”.

    Dick Reynalds writes. I’m a long strider, and I have been criticised for not mastering the stab kick. I defy any long strider, travelling fast, to stab-kick the ball. That’s what happened to Haydn Bunton’s passing. He was travelling too fast, with a long stride. He just could not stab-kick the ball.
    “Billy Hutchinson—and what great football he played in the finals for us—is another with a
    fast, long stride. Billy has developed a kind of stab that is all his own. But I’ve seen him top
    a lot of passes.

    “I developed a low straight torpedo punt, and it gets me by.

    Extract above from FOOTBALL IS FASTER AND BETTER —says ‘Dick’ Reynolds
    PLAYERS TO TALL TO STAB KICK AT FULL PACE.
    Sporting Globe (Melbourne, Vic. : 1922 – 1954) Saturday 1 October 1949 p 3.
    Regards
    Stab Punt Jim Johnson

    Regards
    Stab Punt jim.

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