Driving range: Notre Dame’s Doerer gets kick out of golf

Driving range: Notre Dame’s Doerer gets kick out of golf
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Jonathan Doerer pays careful attention to the nuances of his stance, swing path and ball contact — and not just in football.

The Notre Dame kicker also frequents the driving range, a habit that increased when he was home in North Carolina over the spring and summer. His father tagged along on his kicking and golf outings and saw plenty of both swings.

“He really approaches golf the same way,” Brian Doerer said. “He’ll try to hit the same shot, just one shot. He’ll practice on hitting the pin at 90 yards, and practice just on that very methodically.”

That mindful approach has been integral to Doerer’s kicking success and helped vault him to an eye-catching season in 2019, quelling outside concerns about Doerer’s ability to take over the starting spot following Justin Yoon’s graduation. An increased focus on fundamentals translated to a 17-for-20 season, including a perfect game against Southern Cal with made field goals of 43, 45 and 52 yards that propelled the Fighting Irish to a 30-27 rivalry win.

“Going into my junior year, I realized I had to make a lot of technical advancements in my game if I wanted to play at the level that I wanted to and needed to,” Doerer said.

Throughout the season, Doerer sent videos of his kicks to his Charlotte-based kicking coach, Dan Orner, about three times a week.

“It wasn’t him sending me a video and just saying, ‘Hey, what do you think?’” Orner said. “He sent me videos and said: ‘All right, this is what I’m thinking in this kick. Do you agree with this?’ It was a complete maturity level versus just asking for advice.”

“I really started to just take everything a lot more seriously and understand what I needed to do,” Doerer said.

He attributes some of his success to increased confidence and a change in mentality — a sentiment echoed by his kicking coach.

“It’s just changing your mindset to be more process-oriented versus result-oriented,” Orner said. “Even though you’re going to kick 50 balls, you’re going 1 for 1 on 50 balls throughout the entire workout.”

Through four games this season, Doerer is 15 for 15 on extra points and 5 for 7 on field goals, with wide-left attempts of 38 yards against South Florida and 45 yards against Florida State.

Doerer said he doesn’t dwell on the misses.

“The most important kick is the next kick,” he said. “The most important play in football is the next play.”

The same can be said for golf, and Brian Doerer noted that his son rarely shows frustration in either sport.

“You hit a bad shot in golf, and you have to go hit another one,” he said. “I’m sure there’s carryover there.”
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