My Off-Season Training w/ Cooper Kupp (Part 1)

My Off-Season Training w/ Cooper Kupp (Part 1)

Through Cooper Kupp's 2021-2022 prolific triple crown season, many people began to ask the question… “What did he do in preparation to have one of the most dominant seasons in NFL WR history?”

These questions by numerous reporters prompted Greg Bishop of Sports Illustrated and Kaelen Jones of The Ringer to reach out to me, to learn about the work that went on behind the scenes, in Portland OR, during the off-season leading into this year.

The opportunity to be interviewed about the work we did this off-season was nothing short of a career highlight and you can read their full articles below.

“Kupp also arrived at that specific emphasis last spring, with an assist from Erik Jernstrom, the director of sports performance at EForce Sports in the Portland area. They created an “athletic profile” through a battery of test results and GPS info from the Rams.” - Greg, Sports Illustrated

Read Sports Illustrated Article Here!

“Jernstrom first started training Kupp this past offseason. Jernstrom’s training method includes four areas of development: technical, tactical, physical, and psychological. He’s the one who introduced the OODA loop method to Kupp and explained the importance of quickly assessing an environment.” - Kaelen, The Ringer

Read The Ringer Article Here!

Man with cap doing drills

The Goal & The Plan

At face value it sounds simple, Kupp’s two main goals we discussed in our first meeting were to improve his speed both physically and mentally. Physically, in the form of first step quickness and top-end speed. Mentally, in the form of processing the game at faster and faster rates. While these goals are simple, the organization and development of a training program to achieve them is far from that.

Step 1 - Determine The Timeline:

An NFL off-season is not as straightforward as you might think. Between OTAs, training camp, personal travel, business trips, unexpected meetings, etc. there is a lot to be accounted for. A typical year goes as follows.

NFL Calendar

Add personal/business travel and unexpected meetings into the mix and this means I get between 12-16wks of training during the months of Feb, Mar, Apr & Jul. Knowing the amount of training time we will have and when, plays a crucial role in how I determine the training plan structure.  

Step 2 - Build An Athlete Profile:

Once the timeline is determined, we need to build an athlete profile. This gives us an opportunity to “take a look under the hood” and gather objective information on Kupp’s current ability levels. For us, we assess the following to build out an athlete profile.

1. Health: RHR or HRV

2. Speed: Load-Velocity Profile

3. Jumps: Power-Elasticity Profile

4. Strength: Force-Velocity Profile

5. Fitness: Aerobic Cap or HRR

6. Skill: Film Review & Grading

Once all our testing is done and his athlete profile is developed, we analyze the information to determine his relative strengths and weaknesses. This allows us to see what qualities are the most important to address to help him reach his goals. The tests associated with those qualities then become our KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) for improvement and we retest them throughout the training process to ensure we’re making the appropriate amount of progress.

In an era where data is abundant, it is vital to appreciate that; if everything is “important” then nothing is important. To the same degree… if everything is a KPI then nothing is a KPI. Measure what matters and don’t get lost in big data. This concept allows us to stay focused, keep the goal and not develop paralysis by analysis.

The next blog in this series will dive deeper into our specific athlete profiling tests including; what they are, how we administer them and why they’re important for designing Cooper Kupp’s training.

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