Feb 19, 2015
Preparing to Perform

In response to the increased importance put on the NFL combine, a number of football athletes are working with top strength coaches to prepare for it. Nick Winkelman, the Director of Peformance at EXOS, spoke about his training of players entering the draft with The Chicago Tribune in an Q&A reprinted in the Carroll County Times.

According to the article:

  • Winkelman tells players the process isn’t about reinventing who they are: “Teams know what your film looks like,” he told the Tribune. “This is simply now to remind them of what you are physically capable of. So you want to be able to go through this process, hit the combine and say here’s my athletic signature.”
  • To do this, Winkelman tries to get players to take the same systematic approach that they do preparing for a game. And this preparation can be mental as well as physical. “We try to teach these guys that all of this is multi-dimensional,” Winkelman told the Tribune.  “You can physically have a bad day when mentally you’re having a bad day. So how do you approach your mindset understanding then that your mindset is impacted by your nutrition, your recovery, your sleep patterns.”
  • Winkelman also combines multiple facets of physical training to get the most out of players. “What we try to do … is provide a system by which you can manage your body with simple, integrated strategies,” Winkelman told the Tribune. “Strength. Nurtition. (Physical therapy). Massage. This is teaching them to be resourceful … Our big word is empowerment. We’re the guide. You’re the one who has to climb Everest.”

As Winkelman told the Tribune, players need to take the process seriously if they want to achieve success:

“We try to convey a message that you have to attack this process not as if you are earmarked for the first round but as if you’re earmarked to not be drafted at all and really bring a humility to your level of effort and timeliness and execution,” he said. “Overall this program helps guys do that…Because there are more than a few guys, especially the bigger guys who this can be ‘(Screw) these drills.’ And I tell them that attitude then gives a big middle finger to the process of the teams that are lining up to pay you millions of dollars. This is the gateway into the league. You better respect it.”

Read the full article here.

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