You may know him as the Tennis Ball Guy, Speed Guy or the Football Guy, or even the guy who trained P Diddy and Quavo. Jamal has been known as all of these things, but when asked how he refers to himself, he said, "as a movement specialist." With more than 15 years of experience under his belt, he runs an intensive off-season training camp for NFL players at his gym, JTL Performance in Hollywood, California. One of the reasons for the training camps continued success year over year is because of its unique and specific programming and methodology. Playing in the NFL requires high-intensity fitness, impact resilience, active thinking and vision, and of course adequate recovery. The camp methodology is designed to get these players to pre-season better than they were last season.
We asked Jamal to share a few of his favorite training tactics and drills that make his camp so legendary.
- The tennis ball drill
The tennis ball drill is a staple at the off-season training camp. Presumably, the drill that made him famous! It is a reactionary agility drill that requires focus and vision. Liggin throws two tennis balls in various directions and at various heights. The athlete has to catch each ball and immediately toss it back. It sounds simple but is highly dynamic and fast-paced. This drill is great at driving the competitive edge, and although seemingly chaotic, Liggin is always in control, placing the balls exactly where he wants them to challenge his athletes to get better.
- Reaction training with BlazePod
What is known internally as "Vision Wednesdays' ', Liggin uses BlazePod’s advanced reaction training system to challenge his athlete’s athleticism and cognition to make fast and accurate split-second decisions. The vibrant light-up Pods function as visual cues, triggering the athletes to react as fast as they can. The process of perception, processing and reacting improves their in-game vision, agility, coordination, and decision-making skills. The Pods are controlled by the BlazePod App, which offers hundreds of unique BlazePod drills and the option for Liggin to customize to his players' goals. He also tracks and records hits and misses in real-time, providing valuable live data that highlights each player's strengths and weaknesses and tracks progress which helps prioritize future training strategies.
- Beach training
Soft sand training; one of the famed benefits of having your camp in Southern California. Speed and agility drills in the sand makes each athlete have to work harder. There is delayed ground reaction time and force because of the sand, which makes the athlete have to produce more force to move faster. When you put them back on a more stable surface like grass or turf you see an increase in ground reaction force and a decrease in ground reaction time; this equals speed. Liggin likes the sand because it strengthens their feet, and provides a more unstable yet, very forgiving lower-impact way to train. Lateral agility and reaction drills using tennis balls, blaze pods, cones, med balls and ladders are just some of the various levers Liggin pulls to upgrade each athlete's performance scorecard. Money in the bank! The California sun and rigorous soft sand are perfect for helping each player stay mentally tough.
- Active recovery and rehabilitation
Recovery days are not rest days. On recovery days, Liggin takes his clients to the pool or creates hand-eye coordination, balance, and mobility drills. It is a lighter physical load day but heavy on cognitive training and mobility. The pool is a great tool for low-impact movement patterns and mechanics: skipping, running, hopping, and shuffling with buoyancy give the tendons, ligaments and joints a chance to recover free of aggressive impact forces actively. In addition, Liggin offers a complete suite of treatments such as physiotherapy, massage, cupping and acupuncture, all aimed at recovery and injury prevention.
This was a sneak peek into the Jamal Liggin no-off-season NFL training camp. Check out BlazePod’s reaction training kits and create your own "Vision Wednesdays" Visit www.blazepod.com Now!