Warming Up

What do you do before you workout? Here are 4 tips to get your body ready for action!

Before a game, I always hit the field early to get ready.

I start by running lengths of the field with my headphones in, visualizing the plays to be made. Then, I stack sprint drills with yoga flows and sport-specific movements to get my body into game mode.

Over my career, I have developed a personalized warm up routine that can put me in the high-performance zone physically and mentally.

But…

Considering that I play professional football, my warm up should look a little different than yours.

Even though there are thousands of different exercises that you can include in your warm up routine, there is nothing wrong with keeping things simple.

Here are four tips that you can use to maximize your athletic performance and decrease your chances of injuries.

Continue reading “Warming Up”

Slow Feet Don’t Eat

Regardless of which drills you are working, Focus On The Techniques & Fundamentals!

3 Quick Thoughts on Agility

Movement skills are essential for players at every position in the game. As a defensive back, I rely on my agility and change-of-direction skills to chase down shifty running backs in space and cover blazing fast receivers all over the field.

Agility ladder drills are my favourite, hands down.  I’ve used ladders and cones in my workouts for over 15 years to develop my speed, coordination, balance, and explosiveness.

A quick YouTube or Instagram search will return countless drills for developing quickness and stop-on-a-dime cuts. So how can you separate the helpful from the hype?

Try not to get caught up in the idea that you need to do something highly complicated to get the high-level results you need.

22’s Tip: “WHAT you do does not matter as much as HOW you actually do it.”

Regardless of which drills you are working, Focus On The Techniques & Fundamentals!

Here are 3 Tips that I keep in mind whenever working on my feet:

  1. Bend Your Knees
    Begin every drill in an athletic stance, just as you would if you were getting lined up to play.  Start with your knees bent and your head up. The goal is to maintain that same knee bend and posture all the way through to the end of the drill. Think “Compact & Comfortable”.
  2. Slow is Smooth & Smooth is Fast
    Do not rush! Give your brain a chance to learn the footwork patterns of the drill at a controlled tempo. This will go a long way in developing the coordination and muscle memory needed to take the drills to the game. Start slow.
  3. Arms!
    Naturally, every lower body movement is counterbalanced with movement in your upper body. However, when people are focussed on their feet they have a tendency to tighten up their upper body. If you want to move your feet quickly, your arms will have to keep up. Do your best to relax and be natural. Shake it out, drop your shoulders and pump your arms.

Work on these 3 things during your next workout or practice.

Do you have any agility tips? Leave your coaching points in the comments below.

– 22

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Gear Guide: 7 Things I Keep in my Gym Bag

The best results are reserved for those who are well prepared. So, why not set yourself up for success and take the time to build some positive routines?

“If you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready.” – Will Smith

I always keep my gym bag by the closet door, packed and ready to go.

All of my life I have loved playing sports and working out, but even as a pro athlete, sometimes the hardest part of being active is just getting started.

During my career, I have noticed that the best results are reserved for those who are well prepared. So, why not set yourself up for success and take the time to build some positive routines?

One of the most productive routines I have involves packing my gym bag long before my next workout. This lets me grab my stuff and go when it’s time to put in work, no hesitation, no procrastination, no time wasted.

Check out my gym bag gear guide and let me know what you think.

Do you keep all seven of these tools in your gym bag?

Gear Guide: 7 Tools of the Trade

Proper Footwear
Gym Workouts: The exercises that you do and the surface that you train on will determine which shoes you should wear. Whenever I’m in the gym lifting weights, jumping or changing directions I wear cross trainers because they offer more lateral stability than traditional running shoes. Running shoes are perfect for jogging, cardio equipment or anything that is only linear.

How can you tell the difference between running shoes and cross trainers? Running shoes have more of a curve at the front to help you roll off your toes. Most cross trainers, on the other hand, are flatter with a more rigid arch to better support your feet when you are changing directions quickly. (Don’t believe me? Ask Asics)

Field Workouts: When I am on the field doing football drills I always wear cleats. Anything else is going to limit the quality of the workout. Last season I wore the white and gold Nike Huarache Lacrosse cleats, but this year I’m rolling with the low cut Nike Vapor Untouchable Pros.

My Foam Roller
Stretching is great, but there are other great ways to get deep into your muscles and loosen them up. My Trigger Point Foam Roller is a life saver. I try to foam roll at least once every day because it helps to keep me feeling fresh and flexible.

An Agility Ladder
This is my secret weapon. I never leave home without it. The Agility Ladder is extremely versatile for training speed, agility, coordination, balance, and explosiveness. You can get one of these ladders in the sporting goods section of WalMart for about $30 and it will worth every penny.

A Stack of Disc Cones
Cones are used as landmarks in movement based drills. Since I play football, the majority of my workouts take place on the turf, so cones are a huge part of what I do.

Disc Cones are really good to keep in your gym bag because they are stackable and don’t take up much space. I usually bring more than I need just in case. The average drill will require six to eight cones, so bring 20.

A Shaker Cup filled with BioSteel “Pink”
If you have sports drinks, protein, or other supplements to mix then your best bet is to use a shaker bottle instead of a regular water bottle. That way you can mix up the powders completely, so they aren’t chalky or lumpy… yuck.

As for fueling your body, everyone has heard that it is important to drink water and stay hydrated while you exercise. This is completely true. However, when you sweat during a workout you lose much more than just water.

Personally, I like to drink BioSteel High Performance Sports Mix during my workouts. It replenishes the B-vitamins, BCAAs, and electrolytes that you need to make it through a tough workout. Also, BioSteel HPSM is sugar-free, made using natural flavours and non-GMO ingredients. Unlike Gatorade, which is sweetened with high fructose corn syrup, “The Pink Stuff” is sweetened with a plant called stevia and coloured with beets.

Wireless Head Phones
I love to listen to music during a lift or run. It helps me block everything out and really lock-in on the session. For the last year, I have been rocking the PowerBeats2 wireless earphones. They are perfect for being active. I love em, but it’s almost time for an upgrade.

My next pair will probably be the completely wireless Apple Air Pods or the PowerBeats3. Not 100% sure yet.

A Football
Coaches and trainers make sports more complicated than they really need to be. With all of the high-tech equipment and expert strategies, we can easily lose track of the real goals we are working towards.

Football is a simple game when you really look at it. Get the ball, keep the ball, move the ball across the goal line. So, I like to catch the ball and practice carrying it whenever I get a chance. That’s why I never leave home without my football.


This is what my gym bag looks like. I always keep the essentials with me which helps me to get the most out of every workout. You might not be training for football season, but you should still take some time to figure out what tools can help you hone your craft.

Keeping my bag ready to go makes it easy to get up and go when it’s gym time. Try packing your gym bag before you go to bed so that you can hit the ground running in the morning. This trick always helps me avoid procrastinating.

Let me know what you think of my list. What other things do you like to bring to your workouts? Leave me a comment and let me know.

– 22

P.S. – For more fitness tips listen to Episode #2 of “The Come Up” Podcast here: How to Make Gains in the Gym.

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How to Get CFL Schedules on Your Phone

I know you love the game, but do you honestly have the time to set calendar reminders for all 18 games in the CFL season? … Didn’t think so.

No need to worry, I’ve gotcha covered 😉

My Memory is shaky at best when it comes to dates and times, so I write everything down.

I know you love the game, but do you honestly have the time to set calendar reminders for all 18 games in the CFL season? … Didn’t think so.

No need to worry, I’ve gotcha covered 😉

Click the banner below to download your CFL team’s full schedule directly into your calendar.

cfl schedules

Continue reading “How to Get CFL Schedules on Your Phone”

6 Tips to Survive Training Camp

Training Camp Survival Guide: 6 things every football player needs to know

After spending all offseason preparing your body to endure the marathon style grind of the regular season there is only one thing standing between you and that opening kickoff of Week 1 – Training Camp.

No matter which league you play in, camp a beast! For two or three weeks you practice and compete once or twice per day and then you have a few hours of meetings. Once you add in three meals and possibly some therapy time, you’re left with only a few minutes to yourself each day.

This downtime is where the real battle is won and lost.  Ask any veteran player and they will undoubtedly agree.

By day three or four most first-timers (more affectionately known around the world of sports as “rookies”) will be begging for mercy. Lactic acid will set up shop in the legs, perma-fatigue sets in and dehydration can become a real threat. Meanwhile, savvy vets usually don’t hit the wall until days later, if at all.

Training camp is tough. That’s something everyone will admit. But, what are those upperclassmen doing to keep their performance peaking all through camp that the young guns aren’t? How do the more experienced guys maintain a razor focus in the early morning and late night meetings?

Well, I don’t know what you do, but here are 6 Training Camp Hacks that help me keep a spring in my step during the toughest part of the year.

How to Survive Training Camp

  1. Hydrate Often
    This one is simple. Ask anyone who studies the human body and they will tell you that it is made up of mostly water. Exercise makes you sweat – obviously. Why is that important to know? Well, most soft tissue injuries that I’ve seen (pulled muscles, strains, tears) tend to happen when you are dehydrated. With this in mind, you need to put an emphasis on keeping your body’s hydration level in the optimal range whenever you’re active.
  2. Eat Clean
    The energy that your body runs on comes from the calories that you take in when you eat. Let it be known, not all calories are created equal, so it’s really important to fill up efficiently.Try to refuel with nutrient-dense meals so that your body can recover from the stress of long, challenging practices. Your muscles need carbs and protein to bounce back after a hard workout, so if you want to maintain your strength during training camp make sure you focus on your food intake.
  3. Stretch & Foam Roll
    Most of us are not nearly as flexible as we could be, myself included.  I spend a fair amount of time working on my flexibility and mobility during the offseason, but during training camp, I always make a point to stay on top of it.On a regular day during training camp, I will stretch and foam roll on my own no less than three times. Once in the morning when I get out of the shower. Then again after practice before I leave the field. And again, one more time after I take a shower at night.I always try to stretch my muscles when they are warmed up. This is the best way to make sure that you don’t hurt yourself. A good stretch should be held for at least 20 to 30 seconds. Likewise, when it comes to foam rolling, think about spending a similar amount of time working on each muscle group. As an athlete your body is your “vehicle to success”, so you would be wise to give it a tune up regularly.
  4. Take Naps
    During my first four seasons playing in the CFL, I have mastered the art of the Power Nap. It is probably my secret weapon. Don’t be afraid to hit the pillow for a quick 20-minute snooze after lunch.Also, if you’re going to be napping just make sure that you bring your alarm clock. The last thing that you need is to sleep in and end up late for meetings or practice. You don’t want to make a bad impression on your coaches before the season even start.
  5. Cold Tub & Contrast Shower
    After a few days, you will slowly start to get sore from a build up of inflammation and lactic acid if you’re not proactive. Cold tubs are a classic way to refresh the body after a grueling day on the practice field. You don’t need to spend all day in there, though. I usually notice a good improvement after a quick 5-minute dip.The only thing that I like better than the cold tub is contrasting. Contrasting is when you flip back and forth between hot and cold. There are varying arguments for how long you should spend in each. Personally, I like two minutes cold, three minutes hot, back and forth for 2 – 4 cycles. If you don’t have access to a cold tub you can always do this in your shower too.One rule of thumb: If you are about to be active, finish in the hot water so that your muscles are warm and ready to move. If you are done for the day, end your session in the cold.
  6. Bring Seeds!
    Sunflower seeds are a tired man’s best friend! When you’re in a meeting and you feel each blink getting longer and longer, don’t reach for an energy drink. Instead, grab a handful of sunflower seeds and a paper cup. Eating sunflower seeds actually takes a lot of effort, so it’s an easy way to trick your brain into staying focused. Plus, if you don’t know too many guys on the team you will definitely make a few new friends once you bust out the package.
    If I can offer you some bonus advice on meeting room seeds, share wisely. Never hand over the bag!If you let them pour, you’ll be buying some more…

These are just a few tips from my experiences over the years. Hopefully, they will help you out when you report to camp this year. If you can think of any other keys to training camp success, definitely leave a comment and let me know!

– 22

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Football 101: Off Man Coverage

Every DB wants to be labeled a playmaker, but before you can show off your ball skills and footwork you need to master the basics.

If you line up against some of the best receivers in pro football week in and week out you can bet that your technique is going to be put to the test.

In my years of experience, I’ve realized that it takes hard work and lots of practice to become a shutdown cover guy at any level. A good defensive back relies on sharp reflexes, great instincts, and composure under pressure to make plays and impact the game.

Of course, you want all of your players to become playmakers, but before they can show off their ball skills and footwork you need to help them master the basics.

As a coach, you want all of your players to become great playmakers, but before they can show off their ball skills and footwork you need to help them master the basics.

When you teach man-to-man coverage (m2m) keep these 3 Coaching Points in mind:

  • Alignment
  • Pad Level
  • Eyes

Continue reading “Football 101: Off Man Coverage”

How to Make a Solid Highlight Video

“You can accomplish a lot with a camera and a laptop.” – 22

Each year thousands of student athletes across the country compete to earn a spot at the next level. Everybody wants to get noticed, but the question is “How?”.

Photo Credit – Hamilton Tiger-Cats
If you want to be recruited, or better yet, if you want to earn a scholarship offer you have to catch the attention of university scouts. Some people believe that if you are talented enough, scouts will simply find you and the rest will take care of itself. I’m not sold on that theory. That probably works for some people, but why leave it completely up to chance? Why not take control of your recruiting destiny?

Not everyone gets to play on a well known team with national exposure and media coverage. When I was in high school almost no one would come to our games. It wasn’t rare to have a handful of my friends and a few family members make up the majority of the crowd.  Our team had a reputation for underachieving, which meant that our games were usually skipped over when the scouts came to town – and you couldn’t really blame them either. I had to take matters into my own hands.

“You can accomplish a lot with a camera and a laptop.” – 22

In 2004 my older brothers helped me put together my first highlight tape. I was 15 at the time and believe it or not, YouTube didn’t even exist yet. Now, over 10 years and 10 videos later, I’ve had a chance refine my production process and identify the key elements you need to put together an eye-catching highlight reel.

Here’s the Formula

State Your Name – When your video begins viewers should immediately know who they are watching. List your first & last name, position, team name and the year you will be graduating. Make sure to also include any impressive measurables, statistics or awards that could add some credibility to the performance your audience is about to watch.

Highlight Yourself  – Before each play use on screen grahics to point yourself out. Without any direction most people will naturally just watch the ball. For the Quarterback or Running Back that works great, but when are any other position you need to draw attention to yourself. This helps the audience easily isolate you through the action leading up to the big moment.

Put Your Best Play First – You only get one chance to make a first impression. Set the tone for the rest of your video by starting off with a bang. Grab the attention of your audience with a Touchdown or a Big Hit. This video is your resume – be bold and really emphasize the things you do best. The average adult has an attention span between 7-10 seconds. Get them engaged early to give make them want to keep watching.

Quality Over Quantity – People don’t like long videos. They get bored. Limit your highlight reel to a couple of minutes. To be safe, no longer than one song. Remember, this is not an “every play you ever made” video.  Be selective with what you include and make sure that each clip is an example of your true talent and athleticism. Also, trim the few seconds leading up to the beginning of each play. Limit the breaks in the action. Often that will help shorten a video by 30 seconds or more.

Light On The Music – The truth is that most coaches are going to watch your video with the sound off. With that being said, you still don’t want your music distracting from your video.  Use instrumentals or clean versions only. Less is more.

Leave Your Email – The goal is to catch the eye of scouts and coaches by showing them a bit of your talent and athleticism. You don’t have to impress everyone, just someone. When you finally get that attention you’re looking for, make it easy for the coaches to get in touch with you.  At the end of the video leave an email address where they can reach you or your coach. No need to post your phone number publicly, an email address will get the job done. Also, don’t be afraid to leave your Instagram handle if you have one… as long as you manage your social media posts responsibly.

No matter what sport you play, if you want to get noticed you need to put yourself out there for the world to see. Next time you hit the field make sure the camera is rolling.

“Don’t tell people what kind of player you are, just put on the tape.” – 22

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I love watching Highlights! Post Your YouTube or Hudl Link in the Comments

Check out My Best Clips on the Game Tapes page.

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