Former Cronulla strength and conditioning coach Trent Elkin and Valentine Holmes are set to work together to physically prepare Holmes for a shot at the NFL.
Holmes is set to put together a team of local experts in order to get him in shape before he goes to the IMG Academy in Florida in January.
The next six weeks could make or break Holmes’ prospects as he comes up against against Americans who have played gridiron for most of their lives.
Holmes chose Elkin to develop the Australian star’s strength and speed and turned to Sutherland Seahawks gridiron coach Peter Upham to touch up his skills.
Elkin copped an indefinite ban for his role in the Sharks 2011 drug saga, as he successfully appealed the suspension three years later.
Upham will sit down with Holmes team including Elkin this week to plan the preparations before he goes to the states.
“They’ve hired Trent Elkin to start preparing him physically,” Upham told Fairfax Media.
“I’ve got a meeting with Trent to discuss training times, when he’s available and whatnot. I’ve basically sketched a basic idea of all of the contests of what he will have to go through.
“He needs to understand the movement concepts, working on stance and stance release, how to release from the line, run-blocking skills, catching skills.
“He is going to have to get used to wearing wearing equipment, which is another thing. Even if he just did that, that would be of tremendous benefit. The experience of wearing a helmet and having your vision broken down a bit, that’s an important adaptation to gain.
“Then there’s just running around, fielding high balls, they are things to work on. The next thing would be hearing and being to interpret language that he’s got to be familiar with. There’s also basic concepts in the passing game, so we can build some awareness in that respect. There’s a bit to do.”
For every 30 minutes Holmes spends training, he will have to spend an hour watching film until he gets the basics right. Upham may also get his Seahawks side to help around with some game day scenarios and plays to practice.
“His production is very well known, he has great evasive maneuverability and he’s obviously very athletic. It will come down to the finer detail stuff,” Upham said.
“His learning attitude will be a big thing, how quickly he picks up skills and has an interest in pushing through some challenges. Having made this decision he probably has some attraction to it, is a fan of the sport and has ideas about what he will actually have to do.
“Introducing those drills and repetitions might be boring for (a seasoned player), but could be interesting to him. That could be an advantage, the mundane to somebody like him may be quite exciting.”
“As a kick returner he brings to the table some advantages,” Upham said.
“Contesting balls in the air is specialised skill, it’s not a huge part of the game but big enough to be important.”