Brian Martin, CSCS, has been a friend of mine for over 10 years as he’s worked with some of the top training facilities in the business, playing a key role with training titans like TEST Football Academy and Parabolic Performance and Rehab, two New Jersey-based services. But he’s also had a hand in successful training services in California and Florida, giving him a resume that’s more varied and diverse than most in the business.
But Brian’s more than a trainer. He’s an entrepreneur, and having recognized the growing trend in combine prep, he’s putting his expertise to work with upstart services looking to expand their work with young athletes. With the number of players he’s trained and relationships he’s built over almost three decades, I can’t think of anyone more qualified to do this.
With that in mind, I spoke with Brian about his emerging business, B. Martin Sports, as well as a few tips for rising trainers in the combine prep space.
Tell us more about working with others to create elite-level football and sports performance destinations.
BRIAN: “Having been in the industry for 26 years (since 1992), I felt that it was time to lend my experience to up-and-coming sports performance coaches and facilities. Also, many ex-(NFL) players are opening facilities and I’m trying to help them navigate the waters on how to set up a facility. I had received hundreds of inquiries over the years asking how I got started in the NFL training business and how we were able to grow the business in cold-weather New Jersey as well as more ideal warmer-weather climates like South Florida and Southern California.”
What kind of volume of players in combine prep were you dealing with at your peak?
BRIAN: “In peak years, between combine prep and NFL offseason athletes, we would work with over 100 athletes in multiple locations in the winter months and dozens over the summer. This process took a lot of time, effort, and strategic planning. We had to make sure we had the proper facility (indoor and outdoor), strategic equipment and layout selection to optimize training.”
That’s a lot to take on. How did you break it down to the basics?
BRIAN: “It all starts with the 4 Ps. They are:
People: You have to know who you’re dealing with and value them, from owners (many of them former NFL players or other business leaders), to sports performance directors and coaches, medical staff, massage professionals, nutritionists, etc.
Program: You’ve got to focus on programming and periodization and have a well-thought-out coach-to-player ratio and sequence. This is all based on medical history, position played, and a movement screen; they’re all key factors. You must be sure to match your equipment selection and layout of facility to your training methodology.
Place: Facility location and proper space are critical to success. Equipment layout and selection are monumental so you can be efficient with use of space and to achieve optimal results. In 2018, I signed a deal with EnerG Wellness Solutions in Baltimore because they are the very best in the industry in facility layout; selecting ideal equipment from multiple vendors (and not just one or two companies because facility has a sponsor deal); and meeting the demands of your clients and customers.
Promotion: Once you are locked and loaded with a great staff (people) and have amazing (programs) in the right space (place), be sure to be strategic in your sales/recruiting and marketing approach. Working with groups like Inside the League is a great starting point, and then be very diligent in your media, print and marketing approach by aligning with strategic partners who specialize in this area.”
What would you tell a young sports performance coach is the most important element of getting started in the NFL training business?
BRIAN: “I would suggest mastering the 4 P’s above before trying to jump right into the business. There is a lot of competition in the NFL training space so be sure to align with the right people. That includes aligning with people in FOOTBALL-specific training (sports performance AND positional); with current and former pros to help with program design and recruiting; with the right medical and physical therapy staff, massage professionals, nutritionists and meal prep companies, sports psychologists, hotels and housing; and aligning with NFL agents, coaches and players. Most importantly, ask a lot of questions!”
How can people ask you further questions about the process?
BRIAN: “I am happy to help those looking to get into or grow in this business with advice on all of the above, with a particular focus on facility layout and design and equipment selection as well as advice and guidance on programming, logistics, and connections to NFL agents and coaches/scouts in various markets.”
Readers can also follow Brian on Instagram and Twitter at @Bmartinsports, and Brian welcomes questions or comments via DM.