Three things Cody Parkey must fix

Wanda Wiedman, Chicago Bears Reporter

By Wanda Wiedman // @WandaW63

Bears 34 – Lions 22

It wasn’t a good day for Chicago Bear’s kicker Cody Parkey. In four attempted kicks, Parkey missed all of them, hitting the uprights with the oh so sweet sound of “doink”.

There were some Bears fans who thought he didn’t take it seriously, accusing him of laughing or smiling after a missed kick. But when asked what happened he said, I was just pointing the ball down the middle today, and every time I kicked it down the middle, it just kept fading to the right,” Parkey said. “The wind was pushing it a little bit on me, but I have to be better than that. That’s why I’m here.”

Don’t expect the Bears to release him any time soon. He has about $9-10 million in guaranteed money. Despite the big time errors, his teammates were right there supporting him.

But what does Parkey need to do to right the ship so that he will be ready for Sunday Nights game against the Minnesota Vikings?

The first he has to master is what’s known as the CSP or the consistent starting point. This is something that every kicker must have as a second nature. Kickers Adam Vinatieri, Mason Crosby, and Stephen Gostkowski have all mastered this.   It is when the kicker is comfortable in his steps when he addresses the kick. He has to be locked in on his aiming point and maintain strict focus during the kick. He must be facing the target during his step off-routine, taking those steps back, two steps to the side ready to kick from the 90-degree angle. Parkey has this down even though we saw four kicks bounce off the uprights.

The second step is setting the tempo, which is where Parkey seems to struggle. Kickers have to maintain the same tempo leading into the kick. They have to have a specific rhythm that matches their body type and preferred style of kicking. As a matter of fact, no two kickers have the same rhythm. So if their tempo is off, so are their kicks. Since Parkey is a small guy his leg needs to swing at a fast and explosive rate. It would explain why he may not get enough air from long distances.

The last thing Parkey needs to do is keep his head down. Every great kicker keeps his head down and steady throughout the kicking motion. Some of you may not know this but the head actually affects the way the shoulders tilt. So if the head moves, the shoulders react as well as the torso. This results in the leg coming across the body and going either far left, far right or “doink”. Keeping the head down keeps the kicker’s level of focus on the CSP and gives, in this case, Parkey a more efficient kicking motion.

Parkey could have adjusted after the second kick. He stated that every time he kicked it down the middle, it just kept fading right. A slight adjustment to the right of the middle would have hooked it just enough to get past the upright.

Though the Bears would have had an additional eight points, they won the game the way they should have, by not leaving it up to the kicker. However, in close games, he has to make those and since the Bears are playing at home next Sunday night with possible windy conditions, it will be crucial for him to practice and make the adjustments to win the game if necessary.

Next time you watch a game, watch how the kicker connects with the ball. You will find yourself critiquing with a different view now that you know what it takes to kick a ball.

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