‘Preparing for the Worlds Toughest Interview’: Insights into a Holistic Training Model for Success in the NFL and Beyond.
Angus Mugford, IMG Academy, USA
Joshua Lifrak, IMG Academy, USA
David Hesse, IMG Academy, USA
Taryn Morgan, IMG Academy, USA
Theme: Elite performance
Program ID: LEC-05C
Presentation: October 2, 2013 3:30 pm - 4:45 pm
The National Football League (NFL) has become the most popular professional sport in the United States, according to a Harris poll (2012). This popularity has seen ever-higher revenue for teams and salaries for players, and stakes for teams to make the best player and personnel selections. In a violent sport that sees the average player lasting between 3 and 6 years (NFL Communications, 2011), increasing awareness of concussions (Lehman, Hein, Baron & Gersic, 2012) and a majority of retired players under financial stress within 2 years of exiting the league (Torre, 2009), the NFL and NFL Players Association are looking to address the holistic development and success for players. The current case study looks at a developmental program for aspiring NFL rookies preparing for the NFL combine showcase event, with particular attention to both long and short-term successful career transition. Stages of this process are highlighted, each with the implications, challenges and opportunities to maximize success in a short period of time. This includes acclimatization and recovery from a season, preparing for invitational bowl games, managing the demands and peaking at the NFL combine, and following up at a pro-day and ultimately dealing with the pressure and expectations of making an NFL roster. The program itself addresses a holistic approach to the athletic and personal development of each player with an interdisciplinary team. This includes mental and physical conditioning, speed and movement, sports medicine, nutrition, vision, communication, football specific training and life skills in a highly structured, intensive but supportive environment. Despite being a small, but elite population of athletes, implications are drawn for athletes preparing for career transition and how the field of sport psychology can integrate and positively impact their future transitions.