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Old 03-19-2007, 11:26 PM
Blue Bolt
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Arrow NFL's Secret Weapon - Pilates?

Putting in the work
WR Johnson separates himself from rest of draft class

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/200...day/index.html


After a brilliant college career, Calvin Johnson
has done nothing to disappoint NFL scouts during
his pre-draft workouts. AP

By Dom Bonvissuto, SI.com
ATLANTA -- Walk up to an NFL fan on the street, ask him who Tom Shaw is and be prepared for a shrug of the shoulders. Ask Tom Brady, Peyton Manning or Reggie Bush about Shaw and the answer will be much different.

Calvin Johnson now knows about Tom Shaw, too. The former Georgia Tech wide receiver has been in Orlando since January working with Shaw, a renowned trainer who specializes in helping NFL draft hopefuls prepare for their combine and pro day workouts. Shaw's client list has included Brady, Manning and Bush. He has worked with 85 first-round draft picks, including four overall No. 1s, and some draft experts contend Johnson is good enough to be the fifth.

Johnson showcased his skills for NFL scouts on Thursday afternoon at the Yellow Jackets Pro Day and his performance did little to dissuade the belief by many draft experts that the 6-foot-5, 239-pound Johnson is the best prospect in April's draft. Despite an abbreviated pro day session due to weather concerns, Johnson excelled in the vertical jump (42.5 inches), long jump (11 feet, 7 inches) and caught every ball thrown his way. He did so in front of representatives from 28 NFL teams, including Raiders coach Lane Kiffin, Redskins owner Daniel Snyder and coach Joe Gibbs. Johnson opted not to run the 40-yard dash, choosing to let his 4.35 time at last month's combine speak for itself.

He did, however, want to clear one thing up. Published reports out of the combine said Johnson ran the 40 in shoes borrowed from East Carolina quarterback James Pinkney. Johnson said they were actually his own shoes, which Pinkney borrowed to run his 40. He felt it was important to clear this up, because with his work ethic and the diligence with how he goes about preparing himself, it would be uncharacteristic for him to forget something as simple as a pair of cleats.

"The thing that separates Calvin is he didn't have to create a work ethic, he already had a work ethic," said Georgia Tech head coach Chan Gailey. "He had it from the first day he stepped on campus. This is a pattern, a history, a character trait. It's not a show he puts on for scouts and coaches."

Shaw agrees, pointing out while Johnson's numbers at Georgia Tech (76 catches, 1,202 yards, 15 touchdowns as a junior) were stellar, it's his attitude that makes Johnson stand out. "Calvin Johnson is completely different than any athlete I've come across," Shaw said. "He works out like he's a free agent, like he's Mr. Irrelevant. Calvin is an athlete that is the hardest worker I've ever had. He never gets frustrated. All he wants to do is get better."

Since the college season concludes between late December and early January and the annual NFL combine occurs in February, Shaw has only a short time to prepare the athletes for the event. Because of this, athletes in Shaw's program go full bore, hour after hour, day after day, to best prepare themselves.

"We don't give guys time to rest. We have two months to get guys better," Shaw said. "We run into an opportunity where kids can get injured quickly. So I give them every advantage that we can."

Enter Sarah Picot. A former professional dancer, Picot is now a certified Pilates instructor and author of a book and several DVDs on the subject. One of her DVDs, titled More Than Mat Pilates, caught Shaw's eye during a trade show exhibit in 2005. He invited Picot to Orlando to spend some time with his athletes, who were willing to try anything to alleviate the pain caused by Shaw's intense workouts and also settle their nerves as they prepared for the big day.

"They were very, very worried they wouldn't be in their best physical condition for the combine," said Picot, 39. "They felt a little desperate that there was nothing else for them to do short of going and getting physical therapy and massages and ice or heat."

Picot focused her time with the athletes on improving flexibility and strengthening their core. She found the guys were in phenomenal shape, yet still had ways to go in terms of muscle efficiency and balance.

Shaw confirms that, relaying a story about one of his clients, Deion Sanders. During his playing times, Shaw says, Sanders had a difficult time stretching. When trying to touch his toes, he couldn't go more than four inches past his knees. Shaw said the inability to properly stretch is a common problem among professional athletes and can become a direct cause of injury. That's the reason he keeps bringing back Picot to teach her mat Pilates techniques to his athletes. "It gives them an edge that very few players have," Picot said. "Nobody is concentrating on this stuff."

According to both Picot and Shaw, the athletes were very receptive. It would have been easy for them to look at the 5-4, 100-pound Picot and feel skeptical. Picot herself admits to knowing very little about football. But they all found the common bond of wanting their bodies in peak condition, so as not to injure themselves out of a job.

"We were open to everything that was going on down there," Johnson said. "We are aware that people know more about what we do in certain areas. She knew more about flexibility than we did and we learned the more flexible you are, the faster you're gonna be."

For his part, Johnson was a perfect pupil, said Picot, who admitted she didn't know who he was before their sessions. That puts Picot on an increasingly short list, as Johnson has been at or near the top of NFL teams' draft boards all winter, peaking when he ran the sub-4.4 40 at the combine, a time unheard of for a guy his size. While Shaw doesn't credit Pilates solely for helping Johnson reach his goal, he says it's an essential part of the mix.

"Calvin is looking for things that can help him as a football player," Shaw said. "When Calvin hears us say it works, he tries it."

And that was evidenced, Picot said, by the way Johnson responded to learning about Pilates. "He wasn't lying down waiting, he was looking at me ready for the next exercise. There were players from the Steelers and the Redskins there and they were already at that level. They didn't stop and sit and fool around, they listened to everything I had to say. Calvin was like that."

"People look at Pilates as sort of a girls exercise," Picot continued. "You can ask any one of those men I worked with, we kicked their butts. They were shaking, they were sweating, they were uncomfortable. And then afterwards they felt calm, relaxed, loose. It's a very empowering program and has so much potential for the NFL."

The same can be said about Calvin Johnson.

I guess it's not all steroids afterall.

Last edited by Blue Bolt; 03-20-2007 at 12:10 AM..
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Old 03-19-2007, 11:31 PM
BCBoltFan BCBoltFan is offline
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I got a free pilates ball in my cereal, maybe I should give it a try.

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Old 03-19-2007, 11:33 PM
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the only pilates I know is stuff I saw a hooters girl go on a best damn sports show period special
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Old 03-19-2007, 11:38 PM
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I'm pretty sure LT does pilates with Todd Durkin in the offseason.
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Old 03-20-2007, 12:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LightsOut4ever
the only pilates I know is stuff I saw a hooters girl go on a best damn sports show period special
Speaking of pilates and girls..

I'd love to see the Charger Girls do pilates!!
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Old 03-20-2007, 12:15 AM
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I remember when Tim Dwight was with us, the offseason before his last in Bolts, he was big into pilates and yoga as far as helping avoid injuries.
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Old 03-20-2007, 12:23 AM
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Let's hire the Charger girls to do a demonstration at my house. Everyone's invited!
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Old 03-20-2007, 12:26 AM
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I was skeptical at first, but Pilates does wonders. I mix it with cardio and other stuff, but it seems to help a ton. I have done the cardio and other stuff for a while, and added Pilates, and I have lost 6 more pounds than I was expecting, in 2 months.

I can see it helping NFL players.
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Old 03-20-2007, 09:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SuperMatt
I remember when Tim Dwight was with us, the offseason before his last in Bolts, he was big into pilates and yoga as far as helping avoid injuries.
Lol, that's funny, didn't hamgstring issues bother him in his last season with us?
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Old 03-20-2007, 11:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StevenSD
Lol, that's funny, didn't hamgstring issues bother him in his last season with us?

Looks like he played 12 games in 2004 with the Chargers, averaging 24.4 yards per kick return with one TD to show for it. He also had 2 catches for 31 yards.
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