In Football Off-Season Development is key to ‘competitive advantage’

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Football players from coast to coast are currently competing in the early stages of their respective seasons.
Before long, it’s going to be time to start preparing for 2013.
Playing quarterback at a high enough level to attract the attention of college recruiters obviously takes talent. It also takes training and preparation.
National Football Academies is ready to help rising young players enhance their skills by offering Off-Season Development camps at locations around the country.
OSD camps start in mid-December and run through early May.
According to NFA founder Darin Slack, who was an All-State prep quarterback and All-American at the University of Central Florida, OSD camps are critical as players exit one season and start getting ready for the next one.
“The optimal time to make changes in mechanics is always immediately following the season,” Slack said. “Typically, when you’re coming out of a season you’re still fresh from throwing, your awareness of throwing is still at a high level and you’re giving yourself the maximum amount of time to make whatever changes you need to make to upgrade for the upcoming season.”
For competitive quarterbacks hoping to play collegiate football, Off-Season Development camps help accelerate understanding and execution of each player’s primary movements (mechanics) while helping develop the ability to self-correct – not self-destruct – under pressure.
“We’re always trying to gain as much competitive advantage as we can,” Slack said. “It’s all about competitive advantage, learning what you need to know as early as possible in the off-season to prepare yourself to get maximum reps in preparation for the next season.
“The OSD camps also sets the mindset for the upcoming season. Sometimes we tend to take a longer time off and you may think, ‘Well, the season ended and I’ve got time to rest before it’s time to really kick it in and it keeps being procrastinated and put off. The off-season development camps ignite that off-season mindset. You don’t want to waste a day, waste a rep. It sets the tone for your off-season. It’s a great way to get your priorities straight and ensure maximum competitive advantage heading into the fall season.”
In 2006, Slack launched the “Power” camp, a smaller version of the current OSD camps. As NFA has added more qualified and talented coaches to its staff, Off-Season Development camps exploded in popularity and expanded to serve players across the United States.
“Initially, the Power camps had 10 to 20 players,” Slack recalled. “I just didn’t have the qualified coaches at that time. We transitioned into the OSD and then we transitioned again and went larger once we were confident we could maintain the level of quality with the higher numbers. Because we have the amount of certified coaches we do, we can expand without the loss of value.”
Value is a high priority for Slack and the rest of the NFA coaching staff. Each and every coach understands that players and their parents often make sacrifices to participate in NFA camps.
“In the Off-Season Development camps, people are making a substantial investment from a family standpoint and they’re making a significant financial investment,” Slack said. “It’s an important investment and it’s strategic because the mindset of the parent is to get their child the kind of training they need.
“Out best response to that is to provide the value that they’re going to need to make sure they feel when they leave that camp that they’ve got the best opportunity.
In OSD camps, there is one certified coach for every five players and that ensures individual attention, a critical factor.
“The Off-Season Development camps are designed not only to provide the best training they can get, but do it with the most effective and qualified coaches we can,” Slack said. “That will give them the individual attention they need to make the changes they need. It’s really a value proposition. We’re really trying to make sure that the people that come sense they got the value for their significant investment and they feel we’re trustworthy at that level.”
With so many former NFA participants now playing college football, the benefits of attending OSD camps are obvious.
There is another huge benefit as well when it comes to attracting the eyes of college recruiters.
“Off-Season Development camps are all about building relationships,” Slack said. “This is one of the things that’s important when you’re talking to people about the recruiting process. In order to get a college coach’s attention, it’s become more and more about building relationships. In Off-Season Development camps, the volume of involvement tends to increase. More importantly, customer relationships improve so we’re able to educate people more effectively through relationships we’re building and what they’re going to have to do to get their sons recruited.”
Slack recalled the time when he was being recruited by major colleges before opting for the opportunities offered by the University of Central Florida.
“Recruiting now is not like it was in the old days where you’d just hope somebody was going to show up on your doorstep,” Slack said. “These athletes need to be trained to build relationships with coaches and this is one of the ways they can do that. This is going to establish them in their practice, if you will, to go out and be able to deliver in front of college coaches.
“The off-season development is a good dry run to be around coaches and build relationships with coaches, interact with coaches and then build toward the education they’re going to get. Unless you’re a five-star talent out of the gate, you’re going to have to do the same thing when you start to pursue college camps because that’s what they must do to get on the radar of these college coaches.”

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