The typical fan of the NFL routinely revels at the sheer athletic feats that they witness being done any given Sunday. Ironically, I am going to let you in on a little reality that I wholeheartedly believe to be true: the athletes in the NFL can still raise their level of mastery and performance by astonishing levels. I say this with unwavering confidence after having specialized in the training of NFL players and spending a great deal of time analyzing and breaking down some of the game’s best. The league’s athletes can get faster…more explosive…more powerful. Simply put, even though they are the best in the world at what they do, their levels of physical mastery and preparation usually does not match-up with the level of football they are playing at (the highest levels). It may be crazy to imagine, but even the most elite player at each position across the league still usually not anywhere near the top of their true window of potential. This could happen both through nature (i.e. genetics) or nurture (i.e. the way that they have been trained). Of course, you can’t do anything about the first one. Fortunately, a vast majority of players have done a great job selecting their parents and have ended up hitting the sperm lottery in the process. The latter (one’s preparation), is obviously very plastic and moldable. Unfortunately, players are often unaware of:
-what weaknesses they possess in their movement and athleticism qualities
-what is the cause of these weaknesses
-how to go about properly addressing these weaknesses in a targeted fashion (Note: they often believe that unproven or non-efficacious methods are enhancing any known weaknesses they have)
-how their daily behavioral actions (both on and off the field) are negatively contributing to the weaknesses they possess
Well, I am here to elaborate upon these ideas for you and any reader who seeks to learn more about this phenomenon. Though I am a Physical Preparation Coach and Movement Specialist for NFL athletes, this blog will be less about the physical preparation means & methods that I utilize with my guys, and more about what I see in regards to athleticism qualities when I am breaking down film of the game’s best. I am not a football coach. Thus, I will not be touching on many points of the tactical aspect of the game unless they are relevant to the discussion.
Based on title of the blog, you can see, I also won’t care much for stats. Flashy stats are often a product of countless factors many of which are out of even the athlete’s control. Instead, I will do what I have done for numerous years which is break down player’s movement patterns as they are happening not in the drills performed in the gym or on the practice field, but when they are actually playing under the chaotic world that is the National Football League. I feel this is the key to how I go about changing and eventually perfecting the on-field movement patterns of the players across the league that I have worked with or consulted for.
I feel like this ability is a lost art among coaches of any sort who routinely direct NFL players. In fact, I have yet to meet another physical preparation coach at any level who actually watches game-film in this fashion. Sure, football coaches watch but rarely are the qualities of athleticism (those being displayed in the athlete’s movement patterns) actually pointed out and then addressed in a targeted fashion thereafter. This is unfortunate and I think a lot is being missed because of this. Let’s face it: NFL players may think they want to get bigger, stronger, faster, etc…you name it. But, in reality, all they really care about is improving in one place: the field. The attainment of general physical qualities representative of key motor abilities pertaining to the game may be a means to an end but if my guys actually get weaker (e.g. they squat, bench, or power clean less weight) but play faster on the field then they actually have achieved their ultimate preparation goals and are still happier than a pig in sh*t.
My hope is that eventually this idea catches on to others not only in the NFL but those preparing athletes at lower levels as well as in other sport disciplines. Thus, this blog is for lots of people. To start, it’s for athletes. Second, it’s for their coaches. This includes football coaches, strength coaches, and athletic performance trainers alike. Third, it is for the fan of this great league that we are so passionate about. So, if you fit into any one of those categories I hope you go on to enjoy it!