AOWL from Steelers OTAs…. And Its a Good Thing

Missing off season workouts is normally a caution flag…. Such and such is unhappy…. So and so is lazy…. So and so is in coach’s dog house….

Steelers fans, however, should take heart that starting safety Troy Polamalu will not be joining his teammates for OTA’s.

Not only is it pleasing that Polamalu is working out with his personal trainer back in southern California, but so is the fact that his trainer has some unorthodox methods. Polamalu trained with the Steelers instead of his personal trainer during the 2006 and 2007 off seasons and the results were not encouraging.

In 2006 he missed three games to injury, he registered one sack, made fewer tackles, and the number of passes he defensed dipped into single digits for the first time since he became a starter. (He did, however intercepted more balls in 2006 than he had in 2005.)

The 2007 campaign was worse for Polamalu. He missed five games to injury and he registered neither a sack nor an interception. Saddest of all, Polamalu’s trademark playmaker style was notably absent even when he did take the field.

Polamalu’s personal trainer Marv Marinovich focuses on training athletes to match velocity with force, arguing that traditional weight lifting does not prepare them for the speed of the game. In fact, in a Post-Gazette profile, Marivonovich asserted: “What I found is the sports science in this country is not very good. Athletes succeed in sport despite what they do, not because of what they do.”

I am no position to assess Marinovich’s claim. The fact is that the same article highlights that, under Strength and Conditioning coach Chet Furmann, the Steelers starters averaged less time lost to injuries than any other NFL team.

Polamalu’s free-wheeling, high-flying style of play is distinctly unique. So only logical that he has a training style all of his own.

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