Finding the Right Coach: Pro Day Prep
"...players and coaches should have the same goal working together"
- Garrett Anderson, QB
As the NFL Draft has come and gone I wanted to reflect on this year’s Pro Day/Draft preparation. I have been apart of various facilities the past four years and this year was my first developing my own process and training system.
I met Garrett Anderson, QB - UCONN through QB Coach Will Hewlett. We got along great from the start as he peppered me with questions regarding the training. I do train athletes a bit different than the norm, but a coach that can show results time after time and has reasons for the process, builds trust and buy in from athletes. I want the athletes to come to me with all kinds of questions. This not only makes me better, but it gives the athletes more input into THEIR training program.
I reached out to Garrett to see if he would give his thoughts on the training process. As an athlete who has been at multiple divisions and levels of the game, he has experienced more training philosophies and environments than most. Here's Garrett...
For those who don’t know, pro day for a college football player is a pivotal moment when trying to play professional football. In many cases this day can make or break your chances, especially if you are not one of the few college football players who are invited to the NFL Combine. This was definitely the case for me. As soon as my senior season ended I shifted my focus on to finding a way to have an opportunity to play professional football. Finding a great place to train for pro day was at the top of my list. I spent countless hours researching numerous places and different options all over the country. The ironic part is that after all that searching; I ended up only about thirty miles from my hometown.
What stood out to me from the beginning was the fact that I would be able to work one on one each and every session. This is almost unheard of in the world of combine and pro day prep. As well as working one on one with CJ, I would be able to train in the same facility for position work with Will Hewlett, who I have been working with throughout my college career. The situation was absolutely perfect and I knew I would be getting everything out of this training. Sure enough, I left after those couple months of training with no regrets and confident I could just go out and do what I had been working on. But it was not until I met back up with my teammates, that I realized how great my experience really was.
When my teammates and I arrived back on campus before pro day we all had stories about where we trained and our experiences. I was amazed to hear from multiple people that they felt their programs were inadequate. A couple of these guys even attended very reputable combine prep facilities. For example, one of my teammates said at his facility everyone was told to do the same stance for the forty-yard dash. It did not matter if they said it felt uncomfortable, according to the coach there was only one right way to do things. This story made me reflect on my experience with CJ and when I texted him about this, I loved his response. He texted back, “Every athlete is different. I start with basic concepts and move them into what works best with them. This helps not only their confidence, but gives the athlete more self-awareness and the ability to not be a robot”. I absolutely loved that response and it is a philosophy I will take with me as a coach one day. This is dead on because my teammate’s confidence was so shaken with this new stance, he decided to switch back to a stance he had not been practicing. Now imagine if his coach allowed him to work out of a stance he was comfortable with for two months. This is something I loved about working with CJ that is also an advantage of one on one training. There is much more interaction between player and coach. With a large group, it is difficult for things to be individualized. It is also difficult on the coach to have to teach some people one way and others another I totally understand that, but for a day as big as pro day, don’t you want to give yourself the best opportunity possible?
CJ had a completely different approach to his training than most of the coaches my teammates’ had. He never had a problem with me questioning things or getting his opinion on switching things up, which is a trait that is lacking among many coaches. It would be great if everyone could admit they don’t have all the answers, because no one does. After all, players and coaches both have the same goal and should be working together. I felt that throughout my pro day training, CJ and I were on the same team. We both set ego aside in order to figure out what would make me the most successful come pro day. I have joked for a long time that I have mostly learned how I DO NOT want to coach from many of my coaches, but when it comes to my training experience with CJ, there is a ton that I have learned about how I DO want to coach.
- Garrett Anderson
40 Yard Dash - 4.58 sec -.23 sec
Vertical Jump - 32.5” +6”
Pro Agility – 4.25sec -.10 sec
I want to thank Garrett for taking the time to write this during mini camps and other responsibilities this time of year being a football player. It means a lot and I enjoy all feedback from athletes and coaches. I hope this can help athletes, coaches, and parents when searching for a coach/facility to help them get to the highest level of competition. Best of luck and success to all, and have a wonderful week/end!