CALGARY - The advice is so simple, but it’s helping Rene Paredes.
Slow down, take a deep breath, focus and visualize the kick being made.
When the words come from Dr. Frank Lodato, an 85-year-old sports psychologist who has worked with everybody from the 1972 Miami Dolphins to the 2011 Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins, the Calgary Stampeders kicker takes them to heart.
“When I got here, Burke (Dales, the Stamps’ punter) suggested I try breathing techniques,” Paredes said.
“I tried it a little bit but now that a doctor tells me, I’m doing it a bit more.
“I think it’s working. I’ve been doing it right before my kicks. I take a couple of deep breaths and go kick. I try to control the emotions.
“It has helped me focus more and become a better pro.”
Paredes had an amazing debut with the Stampeders after winning a kicking competition to replace Rob Maver, who suffered a torn quad in the season-opener.
He booted a 50-yard field goal against the B.C. Lions to be named special teams player of the week.
In his second game, Paredes had a field goal blocked, and he also missed a 41-yard attempt against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the tough Manitoba wind.
On Saturday, the Concordia product hit from 46 yards out but then missed 39 yards and 35 yards, leaving the Stampeders kickers just 2-of-7 at home this season.
The final one hurt the most as it could have notched the game at 21, and instead the Eskimos came down and padded their lead.
Stamps head coach John Hufnagel recommended the 26-year-old speak to Lodato, just to make sure he’s not getting down on himself too much.
“If you saw my reaction … I was really mad at myself,” Paredes said about the final miss. “It could have tied the game.
“The whole team worked hard to come back and I was disappointed I couldn’t get them the tie.
“I can’t get down on myself or show my coaches and teammates that I’m down. I was mad after the game but I just forgot about it.”
There is no question Paredes has the leg to hit any kick Hufnagel asks of him.
It’s just a matter of going through the proper technique every time.
The focus seems to be working well, at least in practice.
During Thursday’s session at McMahon Stadium, Paredes was perfect as the field-goal team started out short and worked their way backwards.
Paredes sent a booming shot that was good from 52 yards out to finish it off, and he still had about 10 yards to spare.
“We did it off the sideline to do a game-winner,” Paredes said. “I have my confidence. I know I can kick and the coaches know I can kick.
“You just have to do it in a game.”
It would be easy to point fingers in the Stampeders locker-room, but that’s not what this team does.
In both home losses, had their kicker been perfect, the outcome might have been different, but Paredes hasn’t felt like teammates feel he let them down.
“We don’t blame anybody,” Paredes said. “It’s a team game and everybody plays.
“If I miss a couple of kicks, it hurts but they told me it’s the whole team.
“But not one guy loses the game.”