Adapting to Challenges and NFL Football – Blake Bell

NFL, Football, San Francisco, Combine, Power, Speed, Agility,

In this week’s episode we talk to Blake Bell, an NFL Football player.  Blake is a Tight End for the San Francisco 49ers. Blake has a unique background since he was a quarterback in college, but converted to Tight End his senior year of college and continued that in the NFL.

We learn how Blake adapted his skills to a new position to continue his progression in football, which provides great lessons for everyone on adapting to the situations we are presented with to thrive.

Combine fitness, off-season training, basics of football and many other practical take-a-ways this week whether you are looking for some conversation fodder over the holidays or just continual improvement on your consummate athlete game!




Blake Bell (NFL) is a Tight End for the San Francisco 49ers. Blake has a unique background since he was a quarterback in college, but converted to Tight End his senior year of college and continued that in the NFL.

Practicing/living/training in Santa Clara, CA

Tell us you ?

How did you find football?

played growing up-dad and uncle both played professionally

uncle played 10 years for Chiefs, dad played 7 years for Colts and Seahawkswent to college in Oklahoma as a QB

You played quarterback in college but switched to tight-end, which is typically a pretty versatile player performing some blocking but also able to be used for receiving the ball. Why did you pick that spot? 

NFL vs Collegiatebattling with another guy and ended up just switching to tight end for the Sugar Bowl“position I was meant to play.”

QB: hardest position in sports—you have to know positions, where you’re going, read the defense, see everything on the field—very mental

Tight end: more physical, getting down and dealing with linebackers, etc.

coach was very big on video training/assessment

playing QB helped learn to see defense, which aided in tight end position

tight end very versatile and what the job is “depends on the team”

how did you make that switch successfully, it is not overly common to switch positions is it ? 

QB at Oklahoma let him get used to the more physical elements necessary for tight end

Your Dad played and your uncle, did this help make the path to the NFL easier? 

They were able to offer guidance dad helped coach until high school don’t always talk about football together!parents were open to whatever he wanted to play

ever play other sports?

played basketball and baseball had to decide between baseball and football b/c of throwing motion (pitching vs throwing football)played basketball throughout high school

switching from QB, was this hard? Did you feel disappointed or have trouble choosing? “it was completely my decision, I’d already been thinking about transferring.”dad played tight end as well had dreams about playing tight end as well too“When i made the decision I knew I was going full-throttle”

school/football balance

“it was tough”

you just had to make sure you were prepared. if you knew one day was a hard training day, you wouldn’t do as much work, but you’d do more on a rest day

you might struggle with it, but you have to do what you have to do to pass classes so you can stay on the field

Tell us about the combine experience – how much training did you have to put in prior to the Combine? (testing day for drafting)

Ryan Flaherty—trainer in Carlsbad—helped prep for weight lifting / running /etc.

“It’s one of the biggest interviews of your life and you only get one shot at it.”

train-use ocean as cold tub-repeat

“it was a grind and it was a tough time but it was the best time.”

40m time: 4.72 (“I wanted to break 4.6 but I was happy with what I was. I’m about 260lbs so that was good.”)—time is relative based on position, tight ends sort of depend on team/skill sets

Training camp had chef! (Trying to lean up to help with speed)

What are Combine exercises? 

40 yard dash time ?

weight / strength training

agility and ‘routes’—running simulated plays / workouts to see how you run and how you move

What is a typical training week for the off-season ?
when season is done, take a couple weeks off to get body back from season, deal with any injuries, vacation etc.get into training again; get more sleep!run, run routes in the AM and then relax for the rest of the day
When get Back to fitness building for season?
month or two beforehand, gradually introduce and build back up
ex: 10x100s, then 15×100 next session
start higher rep, lower weight; then add weight and decrease reps: standard lifts like squats, benches, power cleans
What about mobility?
cold tubs, hot tubs
lots of stretching
lots of people do pilates/yoga to stay stretched
any time you can keep moving!
How does this compare to in season?
 lift 2x per week in the beginning of week,
staying the same and not adding weight
trying to stay healthy,
nursing small injuries (i.e sprained ankle) to get ready for the game
pre-game workout? 
if you have a night game, maybe a team stretch, but at that point, you do what you gotta do to get ready to play“I just go out and stretch, maybe run a bit, do some routes, to get prepared. Going out not stretched is a good way to get injured.”Don’t want to do too much, the game is going to be taxing too
mental pre-game component?
Sports psychs are around
most mental is working with team, watching videos, prepping and working together
^similar to visualization!
“winning is everything”everyone is preparing the same and trying to figure out ways to win
Amazing Video Quality and Camera Angles in Football
you don’t think about the cameras, you think about the game when you’re on the field
Are there still skill sessions you work on each week? (not just tactical / plays ) ? 
During practice, you have time for offense, defense, specific periods.
You’re catching hundreds of balls, working on route concepts,
working on styles of catching balls (high, left, at the knees, etc.)
Machines that shoot the ball at you so you can simulate and catch 50 balls
“You might be at practice and run a simple route and you’re open and you just drop it” (and then you can see it on film)
“Look the ball in” — make sure you catch it and then run
“I’ve always thought that it’s the minor details that add up to be the big thing. It’s every day, working on those little things.”
“It’s the little details that make the biggest difference.”
“The game, you can snap your fingers and it’s done.”
Do players that don’t handle the ball still throw the ball around in practice?
 Defense guys might intercept or pick up a fumble, so they handle the ball occasionally, but not as much
They work on blocking drills, not catching drills
Everyone sticks to their positions
What is the best way to learn to throw/catch a foot ball ? Tips/drills?
 sometimes works at high school camps
best done in person
all comes down to the basics: gripping the ball right, elbow position, release, STEPPING AT TARGET
Gripping the ball: grip on the threads on the football
everyone has different techniques
 Catching the ball?
most of it’s just concentration
hands in a diamond—classic cue
make sure you catch the front point of the football—focus on that
so frequent that people take the eye off and that’s when you miss it=eye on the ball!
What do you do for crosstraining?
bit of everything—running a lot of routes
so need to be in shapesprint work
short runs for cardio
spin classes to give legs a good workout
steady state is hard, but good for him—makes him work and work parts of the body he doesn’t normally work
What is the best book (or movie) on football or for athletes (something influenced you)?
I always really liked Remember the Titans—it’s a classic and pretty accurate to real life.

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