|Can yoga make Catanzaro even better?|
|by Nikki Steele - Staff Writer - Thursday, August 8, 2013 9:29 PM||
CLEMSON- With butterflies in his stomach, Chandler Catanzaro knew his time was coming when he watched Nuk Hopkins reel in the fourth-and-16 pass from Tajh Boyd.
Seven plays later, when Catanzaro took the field, all of the anxiety and crowd noise disappeared as he nailed the 37-yard field goal as time expired to lift Clemson over LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
Place-kicking has become a routine for the senior kicker, allowing him to block everything out and just “get in the zone” when he takes the field.
“There is some nervousness there. There are some butterflies,” Catanzaro said after Wednesday’s practice. “I was the most nervous - an excited nervous- when Nuk caught that fourth-and-16 ball. I knew the kick was coming and that’s when I started to get really prepared. That’s when the butterflies started to hit. But, once I get on the field, I’m in the zone - there are no nerves. I’m just in a zone. I’ve done it so many times that it’s just a routine and muscle memory.”
Despite being able to take the memory of the game-winning kick into the off-season, Catanzaro wanted to take every opportunity to make himself better.
“It was a big one. It was sweet memory going into the off-season,” Catanzaro. “I went into the spring and summer with the attitude that I’m never satisfied and there’s always ways to improve. I can get my leg a little stronger and work on my flexibility.”
Even, if that meant taking Yoga.
“The biggest thing I focused on was my flexibility. I worked all of Summer One- during June and July- and I was doing Hot Yoga in Greenville,” Catanzaro said. “That really helped with my flexibility. I’m kicking the ball better than I ever have. From that kick, it gave me great momentum going into the off-season.”
The idea for yoga came from Catanzaro’s parents, and has paid off tremendously during the off-season.
“My mom and dad did it. I’ve always heard of it. I talked to [former NFL great] Morten Anderson about it too and he said that it would be a great idea,” Catanzaro said. “My hips were a little tight and I knew that would help. I was just looking for ways to get better. I’m never satisfied and that was a way that I could get more flexible. And, in turn, I’m hitting balls better than I ever have and hitting further than I ever have. The big part of that was the yoga I did over the summer.”
With added confidence, Catanzaro hopes to be the leader that a fifth-year senior should be.
“It’s important to be a rock out there and show your teammates that you’re a rock out on the field,” Catanzaro said. “That’s what I’ve kind of grown into and that kick kind of solidified that. I’m going to go out there like I’m a fifth year senior and be a leader and rock for my team.”
However, he will have to adjust to a new holder.
“I’m just taking it at as a process - kick by kick,” Catanzaro said. “(Long-snapper) Michael Sobeski and (holder) Corbin Jenkins are doing an awesome job holding. It has been perfect.”
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