One-on-One: TEST Founder & CEO Brian Martin Talks Off-season Training, Recruiting Clients and JaMarcus Russell
Earlier this afternoon I had the chance to speak with TEST founder and CEO Brian Martin over the phone.
Martin, a former player at Bloomsburg University and the University of Delaware, founded the TEST Football Academy in 1992 and has 20 years of sports performance experience under his belt. Over the years, Martin has formed a very strong TEST staff of trainers, coaches and players, including former players such as Jeff Garcia, Donnie Edwards, Marshall Faulk, Chad Pennington, Cornelius Bennett, Keith Byars, Errict Rhett and Will Shields among others.
TEST, which stands for Total Energy System Training, also has numerous locations across the country, including New Jersey, San Diego and Miami and works with youth football, high school football, draft prospects and current NFL players on off-season training from coast-to-coast.
In addition to keeping players in tip-top shape in terms of physical strength and speed, TEST also provides physical therapy with the help of hired trainers and even media preparation for potential NFL draft picks.
We took the time to speak with Martin to get a better feel for what he has done with the program, what he thinks of this year’s draft, and he even gave us an update on JaMarcus Russell’s NFL comeback attempt:
All-Out Blitz: How did you get started and what gave you the idea for the academy?
Brian Martin, TEST: I started doing sports performance and off-season training, and worked with quarterback Neil O’Donnell. A couple years later I got into combine training when it started becoming a bigger deal. There wasn’t really a lot of options for year-round training and there was a definite need for it.
AOB: When did you add youth and high school football into your program?
BM: Well I coached youth football in the early ’90s, but I would say it started around 2000 when we opened a facility in Martinsville, NJ. Youth coaches and teams started coming to us for 40-yard dash and position drills.
AOB: What is your biggest priority when it comes to training and preparing your players?
BM: Our biggest priority is to work on keeping players healthy and working on flexibility. Making sure the guys are stable and healthy. Next I think is speed training, getting players as fast as they can be. Also strength training and working on position drills.
AOB: Who are some of your biggest clients and how do you recruit players?
BM: Our biggest client is this past season’s Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco. Also top five pick and 2-time Pro Bowler Patrick Peterson, Ryan Clady and current free agent linebacker Bart Scott. We work with a lot of high-level guys and are currently working with over 200 players.
In terms of recruiting, we have great relationships with agents, meet with families and universities and also word of mouth. Word gets out and coaches and players come to us.
AOB: Speaking of Flacco, what did you find most impressive about his 2012 Super Bowl run?
BM: His efficiency and intellect. He made great decisions and was able to lead his team. I think his 11 touchdowns and zero interceptions during the postseason speaks for itself. He was very smart with the ball and was able to overcome the adversity he faced in the postseason game against the Broncos.
AOB: You also provide media training for clients. How do you prepare players for dealing with the media?
BM: Well we bring in Dr. Robert Price who works with the players. He works on preparation and the interview process with players. Not everything these players face during their careers is going to be positive, so we prepare them for everything. We try to zero in on high character guys, but everyone makes mistakes so we make sure they are ready for anything when it comes to dealing with the media.
Some players are camera shy, so we stick them in front of the camera and help them with facing the media so that they are prepared for it.
AOB: You and your staff have been training former No. 1 overall draft pick JaMarcus Russell (pictured, above, left, training with former NFL QB Jeff Garcia) as he attempts to make a comeback to the NFL. What do you think of his progress thus far, and do you think he will get a shot with an NFL team this season?
BM: Yes, his progress has been tremendous. He’s lost 30 pounds over the last eight weeks and he’s certainly matured a lot over the past few years. He’s been out of the league for a couple years and he hadn’t really worked out much during that time, so we’re just trying to get him flexible and back in great physical shape.
He’s older and wiser, and I think he’s learned from his mistakes. He’s on a mission to get back on the field and he’s close to start working out for teams in the next 15-30 days. Since this year’s QB draft class isn’t that strong, I think teams should give him a long, hard look and he should be on a roster pretty soon here.
AOB: Like you just said, scouts have claimed that this year’s QB draft class isn’t very strong. They even claim it could be the weakest in over a decade. Would you agree or disagree with that statement?
BM: Yes, I would agree with it. There are a lot of question marks surrounding these quarterbacks, especially with Matt Barkley getting hurt last season. There isn’t really a bonafide, blue chip quarterback out there. They do have potential though, and we’re actually training a couple of quarterbacks that could go in the late rounds of the draft that I think are right up there with the other guys in terms of potential. So we’ll see what happens.
AOB: Who do you think the Chiefs should select with the No. 1 overall pick?
BM: I think Luke Joeckel (Texas A&M offensive tackle) is the most game-ready, and the Chiefs could use some help up front. It’ll probably be between him and Eric Fisher (Central Michigan offensive tackle), but they could also use a top pass rusher. Dion Jordan (Oregon defensive end) is another option for the Chiefs to go with.
AOB: Thank you very much for your time, Mr. Martin, and good luck this off-season.
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For more information on the TEST Football Academy and the clients/coaches of the academy, you may visit their website at testfootballacademy.com.
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