In recent seasons kicking has developed into a kind of esoteric art, so abstruse, in fact, that most pro teams have left their kicking specialists to their own devices. "Very few observers can say why a kicked ball goes high, low or to the side," Oakland Coach John Rauch explains. The Raiders, however, believe they may have found a coach with some answers. He is 22-year-old Bugsy Engelberg, who played for East Tennessee State and was an assistant coach last season at Florida State. In his year at Tallahassee, Bugsy (he got his name when he was 2 weeks old and someone said he looked cute as a bug) developed an outstanding kicker, Grant Guthrie, who ranked among the top 10 college players in the country. Guthrie kicked 27 straight extra points and 28 of 29 for the Seminoles during the season.
Rauch is impressed with Engelberg's coaching methods. Bugsy sets volleyball nets between his kickers and the goalposts to force his athletes to loft the ball, and he narrows the width of the goalposts to improve their accuracy. At Florida State he filed down a heel plate—the kind pivoting quarterbacks sometimes use—and placed it on the toe of one kicker's shoe. He also experimented with removing the first three cleats to eliminate the problem of catching them in the turf as the foot comes into the ball. Then, there is an Engelberg invention—a five-foot elastic cord that binds a kicker's foot to a fixed object, restricting the kicking movement in order to build up more strength in the foot. "It's like a batter swinging two bats before going to the plate," the young coach explains.
Finally, Engelberg is working on a book about kicking. He would appear to have enough novel ideas to score well in that field, too.
Professional football isn't the only sport that has had a hot summer of labor-management strife. At the opening of the recent IBM tournament in Amsterdam, several chess players and officials declared that they were being rooked.
Prizes in professional and open tournaments are too low considering the hours, claimed several spokesmen. Dr. Max Euwe, a former world champion who is president of the Dutch Chess Association, protested the bad working conditions of supposedly professional chess in contrast to those enjoyed by amateurs in other sports. Holland's No. 1 tennis amateur, said Euwe, can make $2,200 in a few days. A Dutch chess master does well to make that much in nine tournaments.
The chessmen did not threaten any walkouts or sit-outs, but Euwe urged a prompt international settlement of their complaints. Management might be excused for not wanting to face the world's best chess brains across a bargaining table, but the Amsterdam players sounded determined. "We have always been poor," says Dutch Grandmaster Jan H. Donner. "That's why so many chess professionals are Communists, I think."