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IMG Academy: A monstrous complex that caters to all athletes—every sport, every age, every gender, every country in the world. Here’s the one interesting aspect about the facility: if you stand in the weight room, for example, to your right you can see some of the most gifted NFL athletes grinding through another workout. Look immediately to your left, and you’ll see a group of eight-year-old kids getting swoll. IMG is a busy place day-in and day-out with younger athletes, high schoolers, college athletes and pros all over the place trying to fine-tune their skills in their respective sports. The IMG staff knows what they’re doing, and they do it very well.

DBs Galore: The list of NFL defensive backs training yesterday included: Houston Texans CB Dunta Robinson, Philadelphia Eagles All-Pro S Quintin Mikell, Indianapolis Colts CB Tim Jennings and Baltimore Ravens speedy CB Fabian Washington.

We were able to acquire some great training video content from the day-long shoot, which included on-field position-specific drills in the morning led by former NFL CB Otis Smith; an afternoon communications/leadership workshop (more on that in a minute); a weight room session in the afternoon; and finally a grueling hill workout out by the golf course. I’m not going to spoil all of the training details, but I can say that whether or not you’re a DB, these on-field drills and hill workouts are a must to increase speed, improve footwork (which, by the way, is flawless among these NFL vets) and enhance peripheral vision.

There is No Off-Season: I really can’t do the day justice on paper (or computer screen). It’s difficult to convey to you how hard these NFL guys got after it all day (well, until you see the videos at least). Let’s put it this way: these established pros willingly came to IMG to vigorously train for three days and live in housing at the IMG Academy just to prepare for NFL Training Camps. These guys are committed to training, competition and improvement in all areas of their games. At the end of the day when the players were pushing their bodies through various speed races on the hill, the trainer asked Dunta Robinson how many sets the guys should do. He responded, and I paraphrase, “As many as you want us to do. I didn’t fly here from Houston to do nothing.” Below is the itinerary of the players’ day to give you a little perspective:

7:00-8:30am: Breakfast
9:00-10:00am: Evaluation/Stretch/Warm-Up
10:15-11:45am: Position-Specific Training
12:00-1:30pm: Lunch
2:00-3:00pm: “Game On” Seminar at the Sports Performance Center
3:15-4:50pm: Strength Training
4:50-5:15pm: Pool/Ice Bath Regeneration
5:30-7:30pm: Dinner/Evening Massages

Many Thanks: The staff at IMG was very friendly, accommodating and most importantly, they chauffeured me around in a golf cart all day to save my legs (hey, it was a nine-hour shoot, so cut me a break). Special thanks to PR Coordinator Dan Tierney for providing us a quick tour of IMG’s state-of-the-art training facilities. Be on the lookout for an “IMG Facility Tour” video in the near future.

Weather: “Sticky” is the best way to describe the weather in Bradenton and Tampa. If you were lucky enough to muster some saliva between the cotton balls in your mouth, the spit would evaporate in mid-air before hitting the sidewalk. However, at IMG, the show must go on between the humidity and random three-minute rainfalls. A special shout-out to Gatorade for keeping the athletes and my videographer properly hydrated throughout the day.

Travel Tips: Listen, if you’re an able-body male over the age of four and a half, there’s no reason to slowly pull a suitcase on wheels in the airport. Pick up and carry your bag like a man. If you’re running to catch a flight, you’ll get a great cardio and strength workout.

When in Florida, bring cash for the toll roads. If you’re unable to foot the $1 toll, they’ll issue you an “IOU,” even if it takes 10 minutes for the tollbooth guy to fill out the paperwork as angry cars wait behind you. Oh, and if you don’t pay the “IOU” within two weeks, expect a $100 fine.

Celebrity Sighting/Meeting: As I mentioned earlier, after lunch the players attended a really cool seminar/improv session to improve communication skills and leadership ability on and off the field. The communications specialist conducing the funny and insightful seminar was none other than Steve Shenbaum, the red-headed actor who played the band camp director in American Pie 2. And I don’t care if referencing that movie dates me.

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