Saturday, December 20, 2008

Webinars in New year

I've been doing some initial webinars on coaching topics recently. Its a little strange at first not being able to see the coaches you are talking to, but the response has been good and coaches have been getting useful info. So I decided to venture forward and commit to doing at least 6 webinars in the coming year.

One of the keys are the video tools available now. Coaching movement is a highly visual process, so tools like online video and Dartfish make it practical. Coaches can discuss technique and watch movement and demonstrations.

Stay tuned for dates and topics to be announced!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

NFL Combine Prep

Well it's that time again. The beginning of what is in many ways a very strange process. NFL Draft prep. Getting guys ready for the all-star games, combine, and their pro days. We just started with guys from Michigan, Louisville and Central Arkansas.

It has become the "big show" of speed training for non-track athletes. Get them ready for that 40 yd dash and other tests. Every coach and their mother claims to "be the best" or "have the secret". I think it was Vern Gambetta who posted a few years back that each of the major training facilities should slap logos on their athletes like NASCAR.

We can debate the validity of the combine, 40, 5-10-5 and so on till we drop, but currently it's part of the job interview for these guys. That means we need to help them, or in many cases, not hurt them.

The reality is this process is so short, you have to really decide what you can positively impact and be very careful not to negatively impact anything. Whatever you do, don't try to do everything. These guys aren't training to be football players at this point and its not about a long term view of athletic development. I shake my head every year, because its soooo much about what I am usually denouncing in training athletes.

The upside, is that I find it a great challenge to my skills as a coach to get the maximum results in this environment with these constraints. They are tired and beat-up from the season that just finished. Often we a rehabbibg injuries. We will have some guys for less than 3 weeks before they go to the Senior Bowl for a week. Then they come back and we have about 3 weeks or a little more until the combine. Some will go right back to school for a quick Pro day, and some will come back for up to another month of training.

All in all, we don't have much time to impact change. So we try to optimize everything. One of those elements is deciding what to do about their speed training. What is their strength & power profile, how is their technique, what does their start look like, how about their acceleration vs. their maximum velocity (and yes they reach maximum velocity in the 40).

In coming weeks I'll keep you updated on what we are doing.