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Getting his kicks

June 07, 2012|By Matt Lindner, For RedEye

So how hard is it to split the uprights, especially if you've never kicked a football?

Former Rush kicker Mike Salerno gave me a free lesson from the 10-yard line, where Arena Football League kickers attempt extra points, at Allstate Arena last month.

"It looks pretty daunting," he said with a laugh as I silently thanked the gods that the only people around to witness this debacle were a RedEye photographer and a Rush public relations rep.

Salerno's instructions were simple: "Be relaxed and keep your weight forward moving towards the ball."

I relaxed, kept my weight forward, took a couple of steps … and proceeded to miss wide left by about 30 feet.

"You see where your chest went on that? That's why I tell you you've gotta keep your weight moving forward," Salerno said. He started to sound like my father despite being four years younger than I am.

Three attempts later, his lessons bore fruit. The ball fluttered off my foot and sailed just over the crossbar. I ran around the field celebrating like I actually accomplished something as Salerno looked on, laughing.

"If you're just starting out, don't get too technical with it," he said. "Kicking is so fundamental. It's like golf where if you miss a ball by half an inch, you're gonna be missing the kick."

Matt Lindner is a RedEye special contributor.

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