Feb 11, 2013, 2:21 PM EDT
Editor’s Note: Former University of Richmond quarterback John Laub (’12) is currently training for the Spiders’ Pro Day and a shot to play at the next level. Join him on his journey as he shares his thoughts and experiences alongside his coach and three training partners in a series of weekly blog posts. Laub’s second post can be found here.
Hey CAA Football Fans, I’m here to give you another look into my journey training for a shot at playing football at the next level. In my last post I had mentioned that I began training on December 30, so with this being the seventh week of training we’re now moving closer and closer to when we need to perform in front of scouts.
College Pro Days run throughout the month of March and give scouts the opportunity to go on campus and see these football players up close and in person. It also gives those scouts a chance to record athletes’ times performing the various tests and to watch them perform the field drills that are specific to each player’s position.
Richmond’s Pro Day is March 19, and six of my teammates and I will have our opportunities to impress. In addition to Richmond’s Pro Day, I will be participating in a Showcase out in Akron, Ohio, from March 8-10. The “Beyond Sports Network” sponsors the event, and when we’re there we will run through all of those same tests while also getting a chance to participate in a game to finish up the weekend.
Also, a few days after Richmond’s Pro Day, I signed up to take part in an NFL Regional Combine that is to be held at the Under Armour Performance Center, which is the training facility used by the Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens. This gives me three different opportunities to test and perform in hopes of getting noticed and showing that I belong on a roster at the next level.
As I write this, I am 26 days away from that first date when I need to perform at my peak level. In order to ensure this, I’ve been following a detailed and rigorous training program that will continue through the rest of February and up until the BSN Showcase on March 8.
Like I’ve said before, I train with three other athletes who are also pursuing their dreams of playing football professionally. We work out Monday through Friday from roughly 10-5 with a break for lunch in the middle of that. A typical day for me is to arrive at our training facility, the nZone, at around 9 or 9:15 a.m.
If you ask anyone who’s been around me at Richmond, they’ll tell you I’d rather be 40 minutes early to where I need to be than a minute late, which is just how I was brought up. For me, though, I like to make that time productive, so I spend about 30-45 minutes doing ladder agility drills to quicken and improve my footwork. If you watch some of the great NFL QBs, you’ll see that they have the ability to move in the pocket and avoid the pass rush and also avoid unnecessary hits. As a QB it’s all about being able to make great decisions in high-pressure situations and to move comfortably in the pocket in order for you to execute in those situations.
From about 10-11 a.m. the four of us athletes begin our Mobility and Stretching session. This is a more personalized session that’s based on our position. For example, I have about 8-10 ankle stability/strengthening exercises that I do during this time along with glute ham work and band stretching, whereas some of the other guys work more on T-Spine and Shoulder work.
These are some of the little things that when corrected are able to help you tremendously on the field. I know that the work I’ve done with my ankles is helping me cycle off the ground faster when I run, which in turn makes you faster.
Next, we normally lift for about 90 minutes, and it varies as to whether it’s an upper body or lower body day. I absolutely love lifting – any of my teammates can tell you that, and Richmond’s Strength and Conditioning coach, Chris Stewart, can definitely back me up on that as well. It’s just a time for me to push my body and compete against myself to get better while also pushing my teammates to get better.
All of our lunch and dinners are made by a personal chef. I have no clue who this person is because I’ve never met him, but he definitely knows what he’s doing. I think I could eat the bison wrap that he’s made for us on an everyday basis and have absolutely no issue with it.
After lunch we have our Speed and Agility workout. This varies from working on the individual tests related to the form in our 40 starts, the positioning when making our cuts in and out of the Pro Agility, etc. What we’ve been working on a lot recently is more of the “Top Speed” phase and increasing our speed once we’ve left the acceleration phase. A big thing that I’ve learned in the past at Richmond and especially appreciate now is the importance of taking big strides and covering as much ground as I can. So, during this phase, we’ve been working on that and concentrating on driving the knee up and exploding through the ball of your foot. During this time, we also do some of the more traditional drills that you think of when you think agility work in addition to some Plyometric work.
Next, we get into our field/position work for the day. It’s kind of interesting being the only offensive player of the four of us, but I like it because I get to go against some great players every day that we train. Where we train, I’ve been fortunate to be able to throw to individuals who have professional football experience, which has helped me get used to the speed a little bit. Thomas Mayo (who was most recently a part of the Oakland Raiders organization), Jared Green (the son of former Redskin DB Darryl Green and who was on the Carolina Panthers last season) and Dontrelle Inman (who played at UVA and is in the CFL) have been some of the guys that I’ve been able to throw to in order to get acquainted with the professional speed of receivers. Other than throwing routes, during this time there are also a lot of specific football drills that we do as well as reaction drills that promote pocket presence and moving comfortably in the pocket.
Our schedule obviously rotates and changes on a weekly basis, but for the most part that’s the schedule that we stick to. We are able to get a lot done every day that helps us get better.
Another thing that I quickly learned in college and that I’ve applied here is the importance of what you do on your own in addition to the workouts. For me it’s constantly taking care of my shoulder, doing ankle mobility/strengthening drills and tons of stretching every day.
It’s an all day commitment and that’s how you have to think about it: What can I be doing right now to get myself one step closer to my goal? You’ve always got to be working and pushing yourself because there’s someone out there doing the same thing and working for that same spot. You’ve got to more committed and more focused than you’ve ever been, and you’ve got to put the work in for months leading up to those days you’re in front of scouts.
When you then get that opportunity, you can show them that you deserve a spot on their roster. You deserve that 405 that you’ve been working so hard for.
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