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Silva trains with Ravens kicker Cundiff
by Damian Tromerhauser
Jun 23, 2012 | 1301 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
When recent Reed High graduate A.J. Silva announced he would continue his football playing career at Montana State University as a kicker, he probably did not realize the immediate connections he would have with the top in the business. Now, he is already benefitting from the perks.

As Silva signed his letter of intent for the Bobcats, he was also associating himself with MSU head coach Rob Ash. Before Ash began his tenure with the Bobcats, he revived the football program at Drake University. While leading the Bulldogs, Ash also coached current Baltimore Ravens kicker Billy Cundiff. Ash made sure to connect his old kicker with his newest kicker.

Over three days this past week, Silva partnered up with Cundiff in San Diego to work on his kicking game. It was an experience that Silva will not soon forget.

“It was great,” Silva said.  “It was really good. It was a great experience for me. I learned to be more confident in my kicking. He just taught me the little things that I don’t do right now to make me a better kicker. I learned that I need to be more persistent in my stats.

“It’s going to help me improve as a kicker. He taught me the things I need to know to become more accurate. It’s just going to make me way better because I now know what I am doing wrong when I miss a kick.”

Kicking on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at both Mesa College and Santa Fe High School, Silva took in a wealth of knowledge from his NFL counterpart. With the personal lessons just between Cundiff and the former Reed Raider, Silva learned about the little things that will separate him from other kickers, the biggest of which was his confidence.

“He said I need to be confident in my skills and myself,” Silva said. “He said I have talent and potential and he wanted me to see the possibilities. He thought my leg strength was good. He said he was impressed in my kicking, so that was a cool thing to hear from him.

“He just talked about how important confidence was. He thought I was a pretty good kicker but he just wanted me to have confidence. It’s kind of hard to say but he emphasized that kickers at the end of the season come down to numbers. You just have to make your numbers good and perform when the pressures on.”

Aside from the mental aspect of the game, Cundiff also taught Silva a few tips that will help the physical part as well.

“He taught me warm-ups. He taught me for before I kick and when I’m kicking what I do to warm up instead of just going out there and kicking without drills before to get warm,” Silva said. “I used to just go kick but he taught me how to kick with warm-ups. He taught me some things on kickoffs and field goals, too. He said I was doing a lot of things well but there are a lot of things I needed to work on, too.”

Regardless of the short three-day lessons, Silva said he was appreciative of the chance to learn from Cundiff.

“It was crazy. Honestly it was just amazing. You couldn’t really describe it,” Silva said. “He’s a pro athlete. You can’t really top that.There’s not much you can really say about it. He’s the real deal. He was such a cool dude. I don’t really know how to explain it. He didn’t make me feel like he was better than me because he is an NFL kicker. It was like he was just another guy trying to help out someone.”
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