Maver tries to find sweet spot

WES GILBERTSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:11 AM ET

CALGARY - Calgary Stampeders kicker Rob Maver is coming off what he calls the “most productive” off-season of his career.

Just not necessarily for his golf game.

“I’ve only been out twice this year because I had to work in the off-season,” Maver said after Thursday’s sunny training camp session at McMahon Stadium. “I hit my first eagle. And then, on the next tee-box, I hit my first house. It was a bit all over the place, but it was fun.”

Fun likely isn’t the term he would use to describe his sophomore season with the Stamps.

Maver missed three field-goal attempts, including one that could be classified as a chip-shot, in the 2011 CFL season-opener against the Toronto Argonauts, a gut-wrenching performance that can be pinned on a quad injury. He spent the remainder of the campaign on the injured list, watching from the sidelines as Rene Paredes kicked off his professional pigskin career.

Maver and Paredes are both back at training camp this summer, competing for the right to boot field goals for the Red & White.

Now that division all-star Burke Dales has bolted for the Edmonton Eskimos as a free agent, Maver is also auditioning as a punter, a job he excelled at during his university days with the Guelph Gryphons. Aussie punter Scott Crough is also trying to turn a training camp invite into full-time employment with the Red & White.

Five days into his third CFL training camp, Maver feels pretty good about the way footballs have been flying off his foot so far.

“Suffice to say, my career has been a learning experience so far,” Maver said. “I took that into consideration when I was preparing for this off-season. I did a lot more things like pre-hab, took better care of my body and just basically striving to be a better pro.

“You’re always looking for ways to become better, right?” he added. “It’s an ongoing process. You’re constantly evaluating yourself and seeing what you could be doing better. You’ve always gotta do it because it’s never the same every day. We’re humans — we make human mistakes. It’s impossible to be the exact same every day, even though that’s what our job is.”

Anybody with golf clubs in their garage knows that it’s impossible to hit the ball on the sweet spot every single time.

Kicking and punting footballs is no different.

“The two sports are similar in a sense that the mental preparation for a shot is very similar,” Maver said. “As a golfer, you address the ball — and your mental process before you strike the ball is kind of similar to a kicker. I enjoy that part of the game because I feel like it’s an aspect that I can practise away from football, but it doesn’t tire me out mentally. That’s one thing I really enjoy about golf.”

He just doesn’t want too much time to tee it up this summer. Football is his first priority.

“I just want to help this team wins as many games as we can,” Maver added.

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