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Trainers, coaches discuss importance of showcases

Giant Skillz Athletics hosted its its first Northern California linemen showcase Saturday. Chris Jackson / Staff Photo
Giant Skillz Athletics hosted its its first Northern California linemen showcase Saturday. Chris Jackson / Staff Photo

Some local trainers and coaches are doing all they can to help boost the profiles of athletes during these unprecedented times.

With high school athletic contests postponed until the spring semester and practices not beginning for fall sports until December, there are fewer opportunities for athletes in the region to get their name out there.

Texas is playing high school football games on national television. So is Georgia. Alabama. Utah.

Meanwhile, the Bay Area is waiting until the spring, watching others carve out film that can hopefully lend them to opportunities at the next level.

“We’re behind the eight-ball, and that’s just because of we’re not necessarily playing, and so the athletes that are playing, they’re getting an edge just based on repetitions, and those repetitions for the California guys and for the west coast guys are these showcases, are these group sessions, are these trainings,” said Xclusive Speed founder and head trainer Giles Chapman.

In steps what Chapman and others in the area are doing to combat the current situation, providing a platform to bring more exposure to athletes.

Over the summer, Xclusive Speed, hosted its first-ever Bay Area Top 100 Showcase in San Ramon. Earlier this month, the second rendition of the Bay Area Top 100 Showcase was held, and this provided even greater opportunities for those involved after a successful showing the first time around that saw multiple players receive offers in the days following it.

The competition portion of the second showcase was live streamed to college coaches across the country, and college coaches who could not tune in during the morning were able to watch the replay of it later – all of which came after results and film from the first showcase were sent to more than 100 colleges.

And, during the Bay Area Top 100 Showcase, strict COVID-19 guidelines were followed.

Spectators were dispersed and socially distanced throughout the stands. Coaches were tested for the virus in recent times. Coaches were required to wear masks.

“Part 2 of the Bay Area Top 100 showcase – it went incredible,” Chapman said. “I’m kind of lost for words. I’m glad everything was ran safely, smoothly. Besides the competition part, besides the excitement level, everything was safe. The parents enjoyed themselves. The athletes enjoyed themselves.”

Ty Brown, who is with Elite Athletic Training and is a high school football assistant coach, has helped at numerous showcases and camps during this extended offseason and seen the benefits, too.

What Brown and others he works with are ensuring that the athletes they are training are honing in on skills that will benefit them once they step foot on the field – all the while doing it in a safe manner.

“If I’m a kid from California, you’re looking at recruiting where I’m not just recruiting California kids,” Brown said. “I’m recruiting Texas kids, and if I’m the University of Nevada or if I’m UNLV or if I’m USC, and kids in Texas are playing, and I can see them play, well that’s obviously a competitive advantage, so the only way that we can kind of help our guys kind of circumvent that or at least help them combat that is by giving them these events and these showcases and providing like real time training techniques and things like that to kids.”

But while the circumstances may be difficult for athletes in the region as they wait a few more months to compete against other teams, this is a period where everyone can get even stronger and use this time to their advantage in the long run.

Iron Sharpens Iron’s Derrick Stephens, whose showcases require temperature checks for all participants who walk in, lets his athletes know that football games are just one night out of the week. What are you doing the other four days when nobody is watching? What are you eating? Are you connecting with others? Are you networking? Are you marketing yourself? Are you preparing the right way?

Are you doing all of the things required to be successful and separate yourself from the pack?

“This is where adversity hits,” Stephens said. “Are you going to say, ‘Ah, man, I don’t have it.’ Or, ‘I have it.’ And this is where I personally find out how bad a kid really wants it because they can literally sit on the couch and be like, ‘I’ll just wait until football season. I’ll just wait until this happens again.’ But this right here is a blessing. Times like this – it’s where you find the heart, the heart of an athlete. I just tell them you have to continue to get better.”

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