Private trainers at the NFL level have become a ubiquitous presence around the league. It has become virtually a prerequisite for self-improvement over the course of this past decade thanks in large part due to the extensive scaling back of player-coach contract that came as a result of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement in 2011.
Virtually any player that you speak to either already has a trainer of some sort or will soon learn that they need a trainer in order to keep up with the rest of the league, because there are long stretches of the offseason between the end of the football year to the middle of April, and then from the end of spring workouts to the start of training camp, where players are on their own.
Most players spend this time working with private trainers, a process that we as followers of the Pittsburgh Steelers have come to know extensively thanks to some players’ high-profile relationships with such personnel.
Wide receiver Antonio Brown, for example, has been working with a trainer by the name of David Robinson based in Dallas, Texas. Among his other current clients are Denver Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders and Washington Redskins tight end Jordan Reed.
Robinson recently sat down to speak with Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson of the Scoop B Radio Podcast to talk about some of the players that he worked with, and he took some time to discuss what he has been working on with Brown, already regarded as the best in the game.
Sccoop B asked Robinson what it was like to work with players who are already at the top of their game such as Brown and what he could teach them, and the trainer began his response by drawing a comparison to playing wide receiver in the NFL and playing in the NBA.
“When it comes to playing and breaking everything down, having the proper foot placement you can never work on that muscle memory too much”, Robinson said. Brown already has a reputation for being a maniacal trainer unafraid of repetition.
“One thing I did show Antonio when he started working with me was his curls and comeback routes”, he told Scoop B. “He has a tendency of running around with his inside foot which causes you to run in place and it can cause you to get caught slipping at the top of your route”.
Robinson said that they “worked on him planting and driving on his outside foot when he comes out on his break to give him more power and balance coming out of his cuts”. He also noted that they “worked a lot on power drills” that involved him catching passes “while somebody is pulling his arm to put him in the mindset of whether he’s open or not he knows that ball is his”, an exercise designed to compensate for his size.
It’s hard to imagine a player such as Brown, who is so diligent in perfecting his craft, can still have so much more to learn and to improve upon, but as they say, if you’re not moving forward then you’re going backward. You can listen to the full interview with Robinson on Scoop B’s podcast in the embedded link above.