MINNEAPOLIS – What was Vikings kicker Daniel Carlson thinking?
A lot, apparently.
First, Carlson. He’s a 23-year-old rookie kicker. It’s a tough job, especially for a first-year player on a team with Super Bowl aspirations.
“It’s a unique position,” said Simon Almaer, a mental skills coach with Premier Sport Psychology. “You’re in a more isolated situation than an offensive guard or a middle linebacker would be.”
The kicker’s by himself, watching, waiting, while the pressure ramps up. Oh, and Carlson had already missed twice before his third, a game-winning opportunity from 35 yards at the end of overtime.
“Any rookie is looking to prove to a mix of their teammates, their coaches, themselves, that they belong at that level,” added Almaer.
The job’s half mental and half physics, where – to simplify – three things have to go exactly right.
“The snap. The hold. And, then of course, the all-important kick,” said Don Weinkauf, the Dean of Engineering at St. Thomas.
First the snap, where a player launches it through his legs to a holder 21 feet away.
“The snap to the holder spins at something like exactly three and a half times so that the holder gets it in the right position where he can put it in place,” said Weinkauf.
The kicker knows this. Meanwhile, all he can do is pace and try to think positively.
“Self talk is very important, so we would be encouraging someone ahead of time to identify the kind of messages that they would want to be saying to themselves. Messages that include – I hope I get the chance to win the game for the team, you know, give me a chance,” said Almaer.
Read the full article at Kare11.com.