Cleat Geeks

Women of Sports: Krysten Muir (Part 2)

Here, we’re continuing from Part 1 of my interview with Marcos de Niza High School’s starting Varsity kicker, Krysten Muir. Enjoy!

Q: I read that a former NFL kicker has taken you under his wing. Who is that?
A: Max Zendejas. He’s awesome!

Q: What teams did he play for?
A: He played for 4 NFL teams. Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins, Green Bay Packers, and Indianapolis Colts. Kicking runs in his family. He has 2 brothers, I think. [Laughs] One who is former Arizona State kicker Luis Zendejas, and his nephew Alex Zendejas was also a placekicker for the University of Arizona and the Arizona Rattlers of the AFL.

Q: What has been his biggest contribution to your success?
A: He’s helping me with my timing, my steps, and how to actually kick the ball. Where to hit the ball. Where the ‘sweet spot’ is. Where my foot needs to be to hit the ball – basically everything and anything about kicking. [Laughs] And my strength, too. He used to kick before. He knows how it feels with all of the pressure. My other coach, Coach Ben Patrick at Marcos, played for the Arizona Cardinals. Coach Ben has been there with me since day one. He’s like a second dad to me. He put a lot into this, too. Both coaches tell me, “Don’t let people get into your head. It doesn’t really matter what they say.”

Q: Do your coaches give you any other advice as far as keeping your head in the game?

A: They just tell me to, “Shake it off.” I think of it like when people say stuff when I have a bad kick or something; it’s like water off of a duck’s back, you just have to let it roll off. And don’t focus on that one bad kick. Think about the next one. And keeping my head down when I kick. [Laughs]

Q: On the bottom of your home field scoreboard are two words, Pride and Respect. What do those two words mean to you?

A: To respect others with what they want to do. If they want to become this and someone is like, “Why would you want to become that?” Just respect their dreams. Let them do what they’ve always wanted to do. Don’t bring them down because that’s not what you want to do or you don’t think that’s cool or anything. And then you just need to have a lot of pride in what you do.

Q: As I was doing research for this interview, I stumbled across a picture of you with this saying, “Stay humble, play cocky.” Is this something that you apply only on the field?
A: No, I apply it everywhere. You want to play with confidence, but when someone tells you great job, you want to be humble. When it comes to game time it becomes serious. I definitely have that cocky edge. If a friend was like, “I’m going to tryout for the kicker spot next year,” I’m like “Ok, you can punt or do kickoffs, but you’re not doing field goals.” And he’s like, “Yes, I am,” and I’m like, “No, you’re not, because I’m the best one out there.” [Laughs] I totally have that cockiness.

Q: What kinds of music do you listen to?
A: Every kind to be honest, except for the Screamo kind. Screamo Rock and hard core stuff, I don’t know what they are saying. They’re screaming and I’m like “How am I supposed to know what you are singing, how am I supposed to sing along?” [Laughs]

Q: Does that music change for game day?
A: Yes, for game day I’ll usually have Trap or Rap music, music with a lot of bass. It gets me pumped up and in the zone. I always walk out of my locker room with my helmet and pads in one hand and my football bag in the other. I’d have my headphones in and my iPod in the front of my pants. I’d walk out and I’d have them blasting and my hair is down because I want the other team to see that I’m a girl and we’re going to beat you. [Laughs] I always warm up with my hair down and then I put it up and then all of the pads and everything and just have the music blasting. The other team would be like, “Look, is that a girl out there? Look guys, are you seeing this?” There was one game where the opposing team was on the sideline kneeling down just watching me kick. Another time, there was a game were they put us on the wrong side. They were warming up on the wrong side, so I went to the other side and started kicking and then we switched over and when we were walking over, there was this guy and he was like “That’s the hottest kicker I’ve ever seen” and I thought, “Oh my gosh, don’t even start.”

Q: When you let your hair down, do you see negativity from other teams?
A: There’s been both positive and negative from other teams. I remember there was this team we played in Tucson. I remember the guy’s name, but I’m not going to say it. I was changing in the equipment room because they didn’t have a girl’s locker-room. The room was in their hallway, so I could hear everything. I heard the guy say “Hey, there’s a girl kicker on that team,” so I started listening. He then said, “I’m going to smash her face in.” I thought to myself, “What!” So I went out of the room and I was like “You’re going to what?” As soon as I came out, the players all went into their locker-room. I asked a girl in the hallway, “Hey, who was that?” She replied, “Just a football player.” I asked her, “What football player? I need you to tell me who it is.” She told me his name and his jersey number. So I waited for the guys to come out and I said, “Hey, is this guy on your team? Can you please tell him to come out here?” And the guys were like “Oookay.” So I see his little head pop out and then he pops back in. Then someone was like “He’s on the bike right now.” So I went into our locker-room, where my team was and I told my coach. He was upset. And then my whole team was like “What!? What did he say?” So then when we were warming up, they were all like “It’s personal, it’s personal!” We beat them 49-6. And we totally rubbed it their faces. In that game I made 11 points. After the game myself and Jacob Hernadez – one of our best hitters, and Tyler Dennis – our second best hitter, went looking for this guy. We were looking for his number and we found out that he took his jersey off so I couldn’t see who he was. After the game I finally found him and I wanted to say something like “Hey, I thought you were going to smash my face in.” But my dad of course said we couldn’t. [Laughs] So I changed into some comfy clothes and one of his teammates goes, “Hey this is the guy.” And I said, “I know.” And it was so funny, because he didn’t say anything. I always remember that game because there was a bunch of negative people out there.

 

Q: When you go to kick, do you ever hear the other team talking trash, trying to get into your head to make you miss?
A: I don’t always hear other teams talk trash, but my teammates do. We actually prepare for that at practice. My coaches and teammates will say stuff to try and get in my head when I’m practicing kicks. I’ll usually laugh. One time they were saying stuff and one of the guys goes “You’re ugly.” And I started laughing so hard. I was like “What?” [Laughs] But I never hear it during games. I always try to clear my mind. I’ll think of something else when I’m running onto the field.

Q: You have a quote on your Facebook page that says, “My line is the best and without my line my kicks wouldn’t be possible.” Do you believe that you are only as good as the people who protect you?
A: Yes, definitely!

Q: Who in your life has protected you the most?
A: My parents. My mom. She’s always there for me and she always has my back. She helps me through tough situations and so does my dad. He’ll have my back. They both help me, but if I had to say one, it would be my mom. She’s kind of like Momma Bear. [Laughs]

Q: Tell me about the first time you ever saw another female kicker on the football field.
A: I thought it was really cool. I grew up on the football field, so I remember seeing this girl out there on the field with a bunch of the guys doing her thing and I thought I could do that someday! I remember telling my parents and the head coach over at Arbor View High School in Las Vegas that someday I was going to be the kicker for my High School team. Just seeing Jammer out their kicking for the Varsity team, I thought, “If she can do it, I can do it!” I just thought it was pretty cool.

Q: Have you ever sprinted all the way to the top of “A Mountain”?
A: Not all the way to the top, yet. I’ve run almost to the top. Almost. It was like this little concrete part, but oh, my gosh I almost died. It was at the end of my training. That mountain will probably have a bit of me by the time I’m done training during the off-season. [Laughs] My coach, Coach Ben, when he was training for the Cardinals, he and his training partner would go up there. He told me that there’s a piece of his heart and soul on that mountain. I was going to have him come train with me, but he was like, “Nope, I’m not running up there.”

 

Q: There is a video of you giving tips on how to kick an extra point. Being a fellow kicker, I believe there is a sweet spot on every football. Do you agree?
A: Oh yes!

Q: I have a fondness for Abby Wambach. What have her accomplishments meant to you?
A: I just think she is a freaking amazing soccer player. She is perfect! I wish I was that good. Her headers are perfect and just everything about her is perfection. She seems to be a very humble soccer player and you can tell she has a love for the sport of soccer. I saw her play recently during their tour when they came to Arizona. They played against China, and that was pretty cool – something I was able to cross off my bucket list. I was freaking out the whole time. I almost cried during her final game and through the years she has changed how people view women’s soccer. I remember watching her “Forget Me” commercial and I cried. She was basically saying forget me and my accomplishments (well kind of because we’ll never forget her). She has broken records. She opened the eyes of so many young athletes to give them that confidence of wanting to do and achieve certain goals – whether it’s on a soccer field, football field, or on a stage some place – basically just reminding us to reach for the stars and never give up on your dreams. Leave a positive spot in peoples memories about your accomplishments and hopefully they’ll create their own accomplishments and break their own records. Abby is legit the G.O.A.T. She’ll forever be one of my role models. My parents bought me a hoodie when I was about 10 with one of Abby’s quotes, and every time I read that quote I think to myself, you know what that’s right. The quote says, “ . . . Coming into every game, I’m just trying to mentally prepare myself to leave it all on the field . . . I picture myself playing the game, I see myself doing all those things that my team is counting on me to do.” – Abby Wambach

Q: What would it mean for you to influence other women like (Abby Wambach or McKenzie Karas) have influenced you?
A: To be honest, it makes me feel pretty good, but at the same time I don’t really know what type of influence I could leave on someone. I think about it at times and wonder, what it is about me. I know there’s a teacher at my school, whose daughter comes to football games now to see me play. Some of my mom’s co-workers who have daughters also come to my games to watch me play every Friday night. They always tell me that I’m a role model to them, and I think that’s amazing and humbling, but at the same time it’s like I don’t know what to say. What do I say to that? I guess, I hope I’ve given them some positive influence and a little bit of confidence to go after their dreams, but I don’t know how to feel because there is too much happiness and awesome stuff going on that I don’t know what to do.

Q: Your father is an assistant coach on your team. Obviously he has been to all of your games. During the game, what role does your mother play?
A: She takes a bunch of videos. [Laughs] So I can see how my kicks were during the game. She is my biggest supporter out there. And if I’m slacking or something she’s like, “You need to step it up and focus!” Just being out there and being my biggest supporter.

Q: Describe to me a day in the life of Krysten Muir.
A: Wake up. I usually go to school in joggers, running pants, or my pajamas. I mean they’re not bad pajamas, they’re like really comfy pajamas. And then I have weight training at the end of the day. After weight training I have about 15 minutes to chill and then I go to another workout. After that workout I’ll either go down to the wrestling room with my dad, because he’s the wrestling coach, too, and I’ll do yoga or I’ll go out to the bleachers and do some bleachers for a little bit. I go home around 5:30 pm, do homework real quick, eat, shower, then depending on what day it is watch Teen Wolf. If not Teen Wolf, I’ll probably just jam out until I get really tired and then go to bed. That’s now. During season is different; workouts, practice, then another workout, cool down, then finally go home, eat, find the strength to take a shower [laughs] because I’m so tired, and then after the shower I’m wide-awake and then I stay up and then jam out until I get tired. And then repeat.

Q: Do you ever get super tired, to the point where you are like “How am I going to do this again tomorrow?”
A: Yes, I usually suck it up and just do it. I have to do this. It’s better for me. Especially during season. I can’t let the team down. I just suck it up and do it. Before I used to have therapy and get my legs rubbed out because I had super bad knots. I still have a few but they aren’t as bad as before. Twice a week I’d get my legs rubbed out and after I’d take an ice bath. So it’d be like workout, practice, rubbed out, ice bath, wait a little bit – stretch, then go home. The rubs are like bitter sweet because it’s getting everything out, but they hurt so much, oh my goodness. So right after, I go straight into the ice bath and I’d put headphones in for my rub and I still have to walk everything out and so I’m kind of good with handling pain. I remember the first time I had an ice bath. I just went straight in full body. Coach Ben was like, “What the?!” He took a video one time. He’s like, “Look . . . No flinching, no nothing, she just hopped right in.” It’s so funny, because the guys can’t even put their foot in.

Q: I’ve seen a kicking video with you wearing KT tape. Does that tape help?
A: It actually helps a lot. Depending on what place it’s at for me. It works magic. It does really work. It doesn’t look like it works, but the tape stays on for about 3 days and really helps.

Q: People have doubted you from the beginning and you have proved them wrong. How do you plan to keep proving them wrong?
A: By working harder and continuing to break/set records that I’ve made for myself and what I’ve set for everyone else. Kicking further. Come into the season stronger. Maybe do kickoffs and punt, because now I can catch. [Laughs] In the beginning of the season I couldn’t catch. I worked with the snapper a lot and I know how to catch now. Maybe those and just kick as far as I can.

Follow Krysten on Instagram and Hudl.

Huge shout-out to Krysten for giving us such an in-depth interview. Thanks Krysten and good luck with your upcoming season!

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