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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Keegan

Opinion: Golf benefits kicker

Three Kansas University football players were on hand at the Meadowlark Estates Retirement Home on Wednesday, July 10, 2013, to discuss the upcoming season with residents.

Three Kansas University football players were on hand at the Meadowlark Estates Retirement Home on Wednesday, July 10, 2013, to discuss the upcoming season with residents.

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Kansas University Media Relations

Austin Barone

Football coaches who head teams that have no problem amassing yards but find themselves one foot short of a complete offense tend to scour soccer fields for help. Listen to Kansas University walk-on kicker Austin Barone and see if you don’t think coaches should also be scouting local golf courses.

Barone attended St. John’s grade school in Lawrence and was a Bishop Seabury Academy student through his freshman year. He then moved in with his grandparents in Pittsburg for his final three years of high school at St. Mary’s Colgan. He placed fifth in the 1A state golf tournament as a freshman, eighth and ninth in 2A as a sophomore and junior and seventh in 3A as a senior. He also is one of six students vying to become KU’s field-goal kicker in the fall. He said he thinks kicking a football with his foot and striking a golf ball with a club are “the exact same.”

“In high school, there were days where I would get a golf lesson and then go out and kick great the next day because theoretically the swing is the exact same,” he said. “You want to swing up and through the ball. You don’t want to be down and around because you might hit a duck hook into the pond.”

(Has he seen me play No. 11 at Lawrence Country Club? Was he making fun of me?)

“It’s the exact same,” he said of the two athletic moves. “I mean, it really is. I think golf really helps me. A lot of times if I’m struggling, I might go to the golf course. It’s great because I can relax, and I can also think about kicking in a non-kicking manner, so that I’m not overthinking.”

Barone, a former youth soccer player in Lawrence, was one of three KU football players (Marquel Combs, Shane Smith) who joined defensive line coach Buddy Wyatt in talking to residents of Meadowlark Estates retirement living Wednesday afternoon.

In two seasons kicking for St. Mary’s Colgan, Barone made 17 of 19 field goals. A red-shirt freshman, Barone never missed a field-goal on turf, and his longest came from 43 yards. He’s a darkhorse in a crowded race that includes senior Ron Doherty, sophomore Matthew Wyman and newcomers Eric Kahn, Michael Mesh and Trevor Pardula.

If Las Vegas offered odds, it likely would have Mesh as the slight favorite over Pardula for field-goal duties, Pardula winning the punting job, and Pardula and Kahn battling it out for kickoff duties. But the favorite doesn’t always win.

“We’ve got really good kickers,” Barone said. “It’s very competitive. I feel like everybody is in the running. I feel like we’re all strong kickers. At the end of the day, it’s going to come down to August. We’ll see what happens. I’m confident. I know all the guys are confident. Like I said, at the end it’s going to come down to how we perform.”

Barone said KU strength-and-conditioning coach Scott Holsopple put him in touch with former Gators and current Miami Dolphins kicker Caleb Sturgis, whose mechanics Barone has been studying on YouTube.

“When you look at other guys on film you can see, ‘OK, when this guy finishes, his skip is straight at his target, whereas mine is a little bit to the left.’ If you think about it, a kick can go wrong with this much (fingers the eye of a needle apart) going wrong,” Barone said. “His follow-through is straight at his target and in a more controlled manner. It’s going to help with (accuracy) and power. If you think about it, if all your power is going toward your target, it’s sent through the ball. If it’s maybe going to the left, your power is not sent through the ball.”

The golf ball or the football.

Comments

Randy Bombardier 9 months ago

Although I have never golfed in my life it makes sense to me. Our kicking game will make the difference or not in at least three games this year. Staff is right on to be making this too a priority. Like to see some kick-blocking as well. Would love to see Pierson on kick returns too. Talkin about getting him in open space. It doesn't get any more open that a kickoff.

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CWGOKU 9 months, 1 week ago

Great photo, good community involvement

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esque 9 months, 1 week ago

Jesse,

Since the surveys I can't read the articles at work, save for the first paragraph. I do know we're using an outdated version of IE.

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Randy Maxwell 9 months, 1 week ago

Many pro kickers are very good golfers. Al del Grecko, Jay Feely etc, it is the same theory

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Keith Hummel 9 months, 1 week ago

Golf requires such precision, body control, and focus that I think it can help you train for any sport that involves hitting a ball. But there are limits. Lots of documented cases where golf has actually messed up an athletes muscle memory for another sport. Baseball players, in particular, have found that golf can both help and harm their swing. Interesting story, but it doesn't necessarily mean every kicker should take up golf. What works for Austin Powers (er, I mean "Barone") may not work for someone else.

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kudzutexas 9 months, 1 week ago

I've never had to answer a question on my iPad, or computer. I use Safari, so I don't know how it goes around Google questions, but I've never seen one.

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nuleafjhawk 9 months, 1 week ago

Opinion:

I think Coach Self should be scouting the bowling alleys for free throw shooters. The motion of a bowler throwing a strike and the motion of a player shooting a free throw are exactly the same. Well.....almost exactly. Ok, not really even close. But you know what I mean. Scout the bowling alleys Bill. Just do it.

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JHWKDW 9 months, 1 week ago

Hey whatever works for you. Good luck to you.

Well we got to get a kicker! I like what I have heard so far. These guys they are bringing in are going to bring some competition to the kicking game. The more the merrier! May the best man win, hopefully the best man help us win more close games.

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oldalum 9 months, 1 week ago

Are you having to answer a question on every story? I just have to deal with it on the very first story of the day, so it doesn't bother me that much.

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Joe Ross 9 months, 1 week ago

p>"KUsports.com expands online partnership with Google

Beginning today, users of KUsports.com occasionally will be asked to answer a survey question or two to gain full access to a story."

I guess by "occasionally" the LJW means "all the time, on every single sports story".

Why didn't they just tell us the truth?

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Jack Jones 9 months, 1 week ago

It will be fun to track the competition.

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