Getting Fit with Connor Barth, Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicker
It has been said that kickers are the Rodney Dangerfield’s of the NFL. The saying goes beyond the constant carousel that kickers endure over a typical season and expands all the way to their size and fitness level. They’re game changers yet all too often seen as irrelevant. Miss one field goal and you might be looking for a new job, make the clutch field goal and you’re a Super Bowl MVP.
Tampa Bay experienced a rotation of kickers two years ago before the Bucs brought on Connor Barth. Already on his third team, Barth quickly proved his worth on the young Bucs squad, becoming one of the best statistical kickers in team history with an 82-percent conversion rating.
A native of Wilmington, NC, Barth is a self-described beach bum who stays fit by surfing, paddleboarding and practicing yoga. He may not be a big guy, but Barth is still a strong guy who prides himself on his core. We invited Barth to show us his paddleboarding skills on Harbour Island and asked him a few questions on how he stays fit and life in South Tampa.
What do you like to do to stay fit?
I like to take some different approaches. I like to be outdoors. Everyone can go in the weight room and do the whole bench press, and those are important, but for me as a kicker, there are a lot of different aspects that I do to try and train. I try to train my core and flexibility, which are the ones I focus on most.
How did you get into paddleboarding?
I was out in Hawaii a few years and I saw a paddleboard and thought ‘that’s pretty cool, I want to try that.’ So I tried it out and it’s probably the best core workout you can get. I’ve been doing it for the last few years. In the off-season I’ll maybe do it six times a week, about five miles a day. I usually go over to the Gandy Bridge or toward Whiskey Joe’s. Most people get on an elliptical or run on a treadmill for an hour or so but if you can get outside and paddle 4-5 miles a day, you’re going to get a good workout.
Do any of your teammates join you on the water?
I’m trying to get more of my teammates to do it, but not really. Our new longer snapper, Christian Yount, he’s from California so he does it. He just hasn’t bought a board.
Let’s go way back. How did you become a kicker?
It started back with soccer. A lot of soccer players transition to football. For me it was getting into school for free. I was watching football one day with my dad, he went to Notre Dame, and I said ‘I bet I can kick.’ I went out to my high school coach my freshman year and asked if I could kick. I went out and my first two kicks I bombed and he was like, ‘whoa, you’ve got the job.’ So I played JV for the first three-fourths of the season and moved to varsity and from then on out I excelled.
Go-to pre and post practice meal.
Every time we have a home game my family and I go to Roy’s. I can’t get enough of their butterfish. Any of those places: Fleming’s, Lee Roy Selmon’s… those three spots we always hit. In the off-season, my buddy and me hit Daily Eats and First Watch. Their banana pancakes are off the chain.
We’ve had sort of a kicker carousel here in the years past but you’ve seemed to stick around. What changed from when you were in a rookie in Kansas City?
Nothing’s changed with my mentality or attitude. I still feel like I was successful in Kansas City, I feel like I was successful in training camp with the Dolphins. It just all kind of leads up to landing a spot here in Tampa where I can’t even explain how great the experience has been. I wouldn’t want to play for any other team in the organization. Mark Domenik and coach Raheem Morris have created a great atmosphere.
Let’s be honest, a beach bum wasn’t going to get stuck in a land locked state, so it was kind of destiny.
Absolutely, yeah. I think my last game in Kansas City was minus 20 degrees. (laughs) Being by water, I have a Bay view where I live, just makes me feel a lot more comfortable.
There are a lot of good places in live in Tampa Bay as an athlete. What made you choose South Tampa?
I love the atmosphere. Being able to walk to places to eat, get coffee. I’m big on the outside and eventually I’d like to find a house with a fence for my huskies. There’s a good feel in South Tampa. There are people my age, younger professionals who I get along with and have fun with. After football, you’re working all day, you just want to go out and have fun. You have great places to go out and great places to eat. I probably go to Cinebistro every year. The fish tacos there are on point. It’s a great spot that’s close to work, too. Can’t help but say there are beautiful, beautiful, beautiful woman who live in South Tampa as well.
*Interview edited to fit space