Bobby Stroupe shares the secrets and techniques of a Tremendous Bowl-winning coaching program

Bobby Stroupe has been coaching Kansas City Chiefs Patrick Mahomes since the quarterback was in elementary school. Stroupe is Founder and President of the Athlete Performance Enhancement Center (APEC) and coaches NFL and MLB players along with youth athletes at its Dallas-Fort Worth and Tyler, TX locations.

Mahomes just clinched his second Super Bowl win and Super Bowl MVP, along with two regular-season MVPs in his six-year career. Stroupe has been with his client every step of the way and is just as excited as he was when Mahomes first made it to the big game.

"It's incredible as a coach to see someone reach a level that they're aiming for," says Stroupe. "We talk about dreams into plans all the time and it's been painted on the wall of my company since 2005. For a coach to be able to be with someone, to be in a relationship and to see that development and that growth as a man or a woman - to get to the Super Bowl - it's just amazing to be able to do that."

As an underdog athlete, Stroupe was always looking for ways to gain an advantage. That's why he leaves no stone unturned to help his clients continue to excel on their pitch. The coach spoke to M&F about how he learned to channel his athlete ego to better help other athletes, why positivity goes a long way and how helpful whoop data has been to his training.

Bobby Stroupe

Turn fuel into focus

I really feel like all of my upbringing and sporting experience was really good psychological preparation for me to at least know what it's like to be in those moments. I was a bit of an outsider, an undersized kid, so I always had to find extra ways to fill those gaps. Having to do my own personal research and the extra work really prepared me for what I'm doing now. As someone who focuses on health, performance and player development, I know what it's like to find ways to be better than the competition as far as I've had to be able to find those gaps in order to play.

Even though I made it to a professional level in football, I was just striving to get a resume strong enough to attract clients and get opportunities with people I wouldn't otherwise have. Also, understanding what it's like to be an athlete in these situations was paramount. I think in life, in business, in relationships and in the training industry, you still have that competitive nature and sense of competition.

You constantly have the opportunity to challenge yourself and to get out there and be competitive when it comes to finding things that will improve your training practices. It's really humbling when one of your athletes gets injured or fails because if you're really good at it, you should be the one putting it on you. You should find a way to create a better scenario for your people and you should try to own every part of it that you can to get better.

The power of positivity

I think there's been a tremendous amount of evidence over the past 30 years about the power of positivity and the impact it has on the interconnection of neurological processes in the brain and body and the physiological benefits it manifests. Injury is part of sport and pain tolerance is part of greatness.

I also think that when you come up against an injury you have to have a cooperative group of people focused forward. It's like an F1 racing team. If you blow out a tire in the middle of a race, no one should say, "Who bought these tires?" The questions should be what needs to happen now and how are we going to win this. Thankfully Patrick has an incredible ecosystem of leadership, training and medical staff and we work together like a pit crew.

The great thing about him is that he is a very positive person. I challenge you to find every quote from him that speaks negatively about a person or situation. You will have a hard time finding it and that speaks to what kind of person he is. More importantly, it speaks to the type of relationship he has with himself.

I want my athletes to think about injuries that every single injury is their fault. The reason lies in the culmination of all factors, how they grew up and dealt with their body, sleep and habits. It's a cumulative result of how they've been living for the last 10 to 21 days to six months and it's the result of a decision or the solution they choose in a game. Whether it is a contact or non-contact injury.

I say that with a tongue in cheek, because if you do this, you will protect yourself. Injuries are far from their fault, but if they approach it from that perspective, and I'm also approaching it from the perspective that I need to find a way to improve my tissue's resilience, mobility, stability and flexibility when I'm working off-season . Then you have the Chiefs medical staff, who are proactive in taking care of things that are suboptimal or things that happen in the game.

If everyone involved sees it as their responsibility, including the athlete, then we now have an opportunity to have that best case performance when these things come up.

Stay true to your principles

I think for us it's about what are our core principles and things that we know we're going to use as part of our curriculum that enhance our athletic traits and what we do. You can change some of your strategies and concepts, but you don't change your principles of human performance. God isn't out there building bodies like the Terminator. They are still human bodies and there are things we must do.

The power of the whoop

When I finally got the chance to get Whoop, I ordered dozens of them for my training facility in 2016, and they were $500 each. I bought one for every single baseball player we've had this offseason. We had about 60 people at the time. We invested in the product not because it was a business relationship, but because I finally wanted to have some level of responsibility for making sure my boys are living right so this training can make the adjustments we want. I had to find out how good our training is. How am I supposed to know how good it is if I don't know who is living correctly according to the metrics for these adjustments? I could see that this guy wasn't sleeping, so we're not going to look at his results and judge ourselves by that. That he only improves two miles an hour on a left spinal rotation test isn't as important as this kid, who gets an average of eight hours of sleep a night. He's improving by nine mph on average and that's a better way for us to test if our theories are true.

It started with a selfish approach to being able to test our theories and our training systems. Ultimately, what happened was that athletes started investing more in gamifying recovery and becoming more competitive in this area. Whoop has so many metrics to look at, but it's all about the stress and recovery score. You simplify the complex when you communicate with the athletes and then have the opportunity for them to actually change something. I have often been quoted on it and I will say it again. I don't care if it's accurate, and here's why. All I need is for these athletes to want to be competitive in that regard. If they do, I win, period. That's me, a little bit snappy. I want it to be accurate, and it's accurate enough that I can look at things in real time that may be important for me to change training, especially for someone who's an individual customer like Patrick.

Kansas City Chiefs Patrick Mahomes stretches with Booby StroupeBobby Stroupe

What separates the great from the good?

I think it boils down to an absolute addiction to self-improvement. The greatest will not rest and rejoice in accolades and championships because it just pisses them to death that they were inaccurate within ten yards on short passes to the left, or that they had sloppy footwork and missed three post throws during the season, or they didn't have enough speed to pass a linebacker to let that one play. In the NBA, it's really easy to identify the guys who add something to their game every offseason. I think what you're seeing at the quarterback position is the guys are doing the same things. I think there's an old-school quarterback approach where a lot of these guys are announcers now. This is how they shape the general public's knowledge of the quarterback position.

I feel like there's a strong belief out there that quarterbacks can't improve, and I think that's very strong in the announcer crowd. They believe that because they haven't improved, and they think because they haven't that nobody can. I think what you're finding is a more malleable and variable athlete playing the quarterback position. t everyone is 6ft 5in and has the same footwork and can drop their back foot to reach a certain route. It's a different kind of approach and possibility. Yes, quarterbacks are still able to do those things, but they can do so much more now too. There's never been a time in the NFL when quarterbacks improve as fast as they improve. I think that relates to advances in coaching, strength and conditioning, performance, athletic training, sports medicine and head coaches making decisions to move the game forward, open up this thing and let people on the football field be themselves.

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