Illini Kickers Using Imagination To Practice With Campus Closed
The campus team practice facility is closed, so the kickers have been using their imagination to figure out ways to practice.
When I was growing up playing sports, it was a whole different world. The team would start practicing a few weeks before the season. Then when it was over, you moved on to the next thing.
Nowadays, sports are an all-year commitment. As you move up, it gets more and more serious. If you're lucky enough to play in college, the schools have multi-million dollar work out centers for the athletes. That way the players are constantly training.
That's all fine and good as long as they are open. COVID-19 has shut down universities across the country. Not only are the students stuck with e-learning. The teams are left on their own to prepare.
For some, that's not too much of a problem. They can figure out ways to lift and run. They can meet through Zoom. They can practice throwing. There are machines that will even toss passes.
There's one position that's having a harder time. That's the kickers and punter. First of all, you need a lot of space. You can't really do it in the backyard without breaking a window. For the placekickers, they also need a proper surface to hit field goals. Now, that's not easy to find.
This U of I group has used their imagination to come up with some suitable situations.
According to pantagraph.com,
"They tried going to schools and football fields early on during the stay-at-home order and the turf fields, goal posts and yard markers were helpful before access to those were cut off."
"They went to local golf courses to boom footballs through the air. As those opened back up, that space dried out."
"They tried baseball diamonds and parks where light poles acted as field goal posts."
"One of the players, Caleb Griffin relocated to his front yard, had his sister stand a couple of driveways down and began sailing kicks down the road. It just so happens he lives on one of the main streets in town, which means he has heavy traffic to for which he has to account."
That's pretty cool if you ask me.
Just think about it like Rocky IV. The Italian Stallion had to make do with what he had in Russia and it worked out for him.
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