Trevor Moawad, Director of the Athletic & Personal Development program, recently spoke to multiple outlets about the successful NFL Combine training program.
At IMG, where Hudson is among 23 draft hopefuls working out, prospects undergo a battery of tests called Combine 360, which Performance Institute Director Trevor Moawad called "a scaled-down version of the NFL combine." It includes physical, mental and even vision testing and gives each player a score that can be compared with those of NFL players over the last 30 years. Those scores allow trainers to tailor workouts to the needs of their clients.
"For a player like Rodney Hudson, he spends additional time focusing on his weight," said Moawad, who also serves as Florida State's "mental conditioning" coach, focusing on character development. Can he be fast, agile, move well, but do it weighing 300-plus?"
Hudson was listed at 291 pounds at the Senior Bowl in January â a large man by most standards, but on the small side compared to most NFL offensive guards. With a nutritionist eating by his side at every meal, he's added 13 pounds of lean muscle mass and is now 304 pounds, Moawad said.
Training regimens vary not only from player to player, but from month to month. Pre-combine workouts are focused heavily on helping athletes improve their marks in the drills they'll be asked to perform in Indianapolis.
"When you go to the combine, you're preparing essentially for a track and field meet," said Moawad, whose facility employs former LSU track coach Loren Seagrave as a speed coach and counts NFL stars such as Carnell Williams and Josh Freeman as long-term clients. "You don't have 80,000 fans, you've got 100 coaches and scouts with notepads. Psychologically, you have to prepare like a track athlete."
It's not just on-field work, either. At IMG, a 400-acre facility that also includes programs for athletes at different levels in several different sports, Moawad said NFL prospects are offered improvisational training to prepare them for team interviews and, later, for endorsement opportunities. They also undergo a vision training program utilizing technology developed by the U.S. Air Force.
"The eyes are a muscle," Moawad said. "It makes your eyes operate more efficiently and effectively, essentially strengthening the muscles."
That's an important distinction - how do you train them to be better NFL players - not just improve
for the combine?
We get players ready for the NFL. As an athlete, there are specific physical attributes the combine measures - speed, power, acceleration, etc.
But we show them - educate them - on how it all relates and applies. What are the common denominators of successful players? That's more than just tests and getting players ready for the combine. We have lots of former players that help as well. We show them videos of what's worked and hasn't, teach them to have a plan, to be good characters. It's not just about physical tests. It's also about perspective. Martin Grammatica once said to me that he wished every player would be forced to take one year off to appreciate the game and what it takes to succeed.
How do you teach attributes that to some seem like intrinsic values?
But they aren't intrinsic. You can educate and instill values. Showing up on time and being positive are choices players make. We teach them techniques to help them do so. These can be taught.
Lot's of players come from tough backgrounds - single mothers and the rest of it. But that's not an excuse not to do the right thing. A lot of what we teach is about cause and effect. Of physical training decisions and social decisions. It's all about educating them on the big picture.
How do you help players after they get drafted?
We stay connected to many players by phone, text etc. We'll provide meals for some, send mental coaches to them for 2-3 games a year, send strength coaches to them during the season as well.
With the lockout, more players will visit us in the offseason. I'm expecting that players get more flexibility in the new CBA to do what they want in the offseason and train where they want to. The OTAs are not really voluntary - the players won't be stuck at the team facilities in the new agreement where they have just 3 or so strength coaches for 85 players.
The lockout is worrisome because most players won't come out to facilities like ours during the lockout and won't stay in good enough shape or stay out of trouble. It's no coincidence that 1982 and 1987 were the two years in the NFL that had the highest % of injuries - they were lockout seasons.