Mar 4, 2013, 11:24 AM 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 fifth post can be found here.
Hello, CAA Football Fans. I’m here once again to give you another look into my training as I pursue my goal of playing in the NFL. Back in December before graduating from the University of Richmond, I sat down with our coach Danny Rocco after the season to discuss my future and pick his brain a bit. During our conversation he said something about the training aspect that was great advice and has really stuck with me. He told me that I need to train with others who are going through the same thing as me and with guys who have been through it before because that’s how you get the most out of this process.
This process is different than offseason training leading into spring ball. It’s a whole new beast that you haven’t undertaken or trained for throughout your college career. So his point was one big takeaway from our discussion and is one of the reasons why I ended up training with Justin Kavanaugh at SSI here in Northern Virginia.
At SSI I’ve had the fortune of being around three other individuals who are also going through this struggle and grind of a process. Some of the other people I’ve been fortunate enough to throw to and work out with have also been through it and have been able to help along the way.
Before our first few days of training in late December, I had never heard of Georgetown’s Rob McCabe or NC State’s Brian Slay. And I was fortunate to be training with Darryl Hamilton, who has been a teammate of mine since 2008 and someone who has been through a lot with me over that time. So when it came to Darryl, I already knew what kind of player he was — his capabilities and strengths, some of the things that motivate him, etc. But I had no clue with Rob and Brian, so it kind of felt like my first college training camp all over again where you had to get to know your teammates and build relationships with them.
It’s safe to say it didn’t take long for the four of us to gel together and begin helping one another right away. I think it came so easily because all four of us realize the importance of this process and that you have to come in every day with the kind of focus, willingness and work ethic that will ultimately land you on a pro team. When 100% of the group understands the objective and is willing to work to accomplish it, that’s when you see teams make strides and achieve success. And that’s what I’ve seen our team of four accomplish over these past 10 or 11 weeks of training.
One thing that I like about our training group is that each of us knows that this training has to be personalized so that we can each perform at our highest level. And at the same time, each of us also helps each other throughout the process and pushes each other to be our best. We’re able to get the most out of this smaller group because there are three other people we’re training with day in and day out who want to see the others succeed.
I think this idea may be lost at larger national companies that take on and train 50-plus athletes for the Combine. The idea that each and every single athlete sharing your same dream and undergoing the process alongside you actually want you to succeed as much as they want to themselves just isn’t as present. The four of us have a focused, individualized mindset in which we each want to make a team and get an opportunity to play professionally, but we also want that same success for the person who we’ve been grinding through this training with since the end of December.
March is a huge month for all four of us because the training is winding down and our opportunities to showcase our abilities at our respective showcases and pro days are coming increasingly closer. This is what our training all comes down to: These chances to show that we can make an impact on a roster this coming season.
I don’t think the individual strides that we’ve would have come about if we weren’t pushing ourselves as a group to compete and get better day in and day out. There’s something to be said about the strides you make as an individual when you are a part of a team that is also focused on and willing to work toward a common goal. Darryl and I saw it throughout our careers at Richmond, and I’m sure Rob and Brian saw it at Georgetown and NC State.
During my last year at Richmond, Coach Rocco did a phenomenal job of getting everyone on board and focused on what it was going to take both mentally and physically from every individual in order to become a championship caliber team. Now all of us from that team have a conference championship ring to validate that.
I’ve also seen this with our group at SSI given the strides we’ve made physically in our measurable testing/times and mentally in having a better understanding of this business and the type of mindset you must have in your approach to this job interview. I know that because of the other three athletes training with me, pushing me and competing with me, I have been able to get closer to realizing my dream of getting that roster spot and that 405.
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