Fans see their favorite athletes fail or their favorite teams lose, and figure it's a lack of talent, heart or desire. People in the game - the coaches, scouts, trainers, wealth managers and the players themselves - know that you don't play at the next level (be it college or pro) without having special ability. It's getting the most out of your ability that makes the difference, and it starts in the mind.
That's where Donovan Martin lives. Well, not literally, but Martin
has spent decades working with the highest performing athletes and helping them unlock their full potential. Based in Indiana, Martin heads
Donovan Mental Performance
and works with trainees at
Traction Athletic Performance
. His success in the field, as well as the growing strains on today's athlete, prompted us to ask Martin to guest-write our weekly blog,
Succeed in Football
, periodically in the coming weeks.
This week, Martin looked specifically at Panthers PK
missed several makeable kicks in Carolina's 34-31 loss to the Saints last weekend in New Orleans. Slye kept his job for at least another
week, but to finish the season with the team, he'd be wise to keep
three points Martin made
in mind in this week's post. Actually, Martin made four points, reminding athletes that mental readiness and total focus don't just happen. It takes practice and regular work with a professional who can bring out a player's best.
Of course, it's not just kickers that struggle with the mental side of the game. Receivers drop passes. Quarterbacks panic when
Khalil Mack threatens to sack them again. Big free agent acquisitions may struggle with the weight of expectations. And that's just what happens on the field. There's also substance abuse, divorce, bankruptcy, legal issues and other matters. The help of a professional makes a difference.
Speaking of professionals, Martin doesn't lack for credentials. He's
worked with numerous athletes and coaches
across the spectrum, from basketball to football, and is a fixture among medical professionals in the Midwest with
a thriving practice based in Ft. Wayne, Ind
. What's more, he's not the staid, detached, clinical type. He's passionate about Notre Dame football and his style is more locker room than boardroom. He's also easy to get to know. While many doctors and lawyers have grand designs on populating a blog with tips gleaned from decades in practice, Martin puts his money where his mouth is. Not only is he
active on Instagram
- yes, that's him in the top corner, outfitted in athletic gear and sporting longish hair - but he's also
posted regularly on his blog
. With tips on reversing a media narrative, overcoming doubts, recovering from injuries and even success in retirement, if you're an athlete and you can't find anything to help you in his writings, you may not be looking very hard.
Martin will be a guest columnist for us in the coming weeks, using
Succeed in Football
to provide real-world insights on players who are struggling in college and pro football. He'll help readers understand how dips in performance happen, and what they can do about them, even if they're competing in small-college, high school or even rec-league competition. We at Inside the League encourage you to check out his work and decide for yourself if he knows what he's talking about.
In the meantime, if you're already sold and want to learn more about how Martin can help,
contact him directly through his website
or call his offices at 260-417-2850. In the meantime, here's a look at what else we saw, heard, read and said in the world of college and pro football this holiday week.
Mark your calendars:
Don't forget that we're about a month away from our first-ever event aimed directly at members of the college recruiting, operations, analytics and personnel community, the
2020 ITL Recruiting Symposium Presented by the College Gridiron Showcase
. We'll have
two days of panels and speakers
a big open bar (with NFL scouts invited) at the Sheraton Fort Worth Downtown (
book your room here for just $119/night
). It's just $500 per school (unlimited registrants) or $150/person.
by popular demand, we
be filming our symposium. After talking to prospective attendees, indications are that bluster goes up and candor goes down when the cameras are turned on. We'll restrict video cameras and ask attendees to curb their phone videos. While we live in the YouTube era, we feel that not having video records of our symposium will ultimately improve the quality of our conference. We think you'll agree.
Make sure to register today
2020 All-Star Grid:
By one count (that we find very credible)
, almost all of the invitations to the Senior Bowl, Shrine Game and NFLPA Collegiate Bowl have already been extended and accepted.
And it's not even December yet
. That's insane, but it also makes it doubly important to know which positions still need players. That's where the
2020 All-Star Grid
comes in. Survey it, and you know the Shrine Game is overbooked at wide receiver (19 commits!) and full at offensive line (four centers, eight guards and a whopping 11 tackles). There's far more suspense with the Senior Bowl's invitees, especially among the skills positions. Meanwhile, the NFLPA game is in a holding pattern until after Saturday's games, at which point rosters will be announced en masse. Make sure you're
checking our grid
regularly to know who's where and which players are opting out of the respective games.
The ITL CFB Recruiting & Personnel Newsletter:
Speaking of all-star games, we took the opportunity to give people in the recruiting and personnel community
a very brief primer on the college football all-star landscape
. We looked at the Big Three games and why waiting on a call from them is probably fruitless. We also talked about the other two games with smaller names but substantial followings in the NFL scouting community. Do they come with the same bells and whistles as the older games? No, but they nonetheless can provide a platform for future NFL stars to get discovered by evaluators. Remember, present and former NFL stars like
(2003 Paradise Bowl in St. George, Utah
the 2012 Players All-Star Classic in Little Rock
the 2014 Medal of Honor Bowl in Charleston, SC
) were snubbed by the Senior Bowl and Shrine Game but took advantage of short-lived games to earn second looks by NFL teams. If you work in college football (but off the field), make sure you're receiving our Thursday series. Hit us up and we'll be happy to add you.
The ITL Scouting Department: As usual, it was a very busy seven days. We completed 20 reports this week alone, with another dozen or so round projections. Many of them were from out-of-the-way schools; others were from mid-majors; others played at mid-majors; and still others were juniors weighing a decision to leave early. We turned around each of them in 72 hours or less, providing strengths, weaknesses, and a round projection for each, for $100 plus tax. Or, if you aren't sure you're into a player yet and just want a round projection, we can do that for about the cost of a tank of gas ($30 plus tax). Keep in mind that our team has already written reports on almost 150 members of the '20 draft class, so turnaround time might not take long. Don't guess at a player's NFL prospects; use our former NFL scouts to tell you what you need to know. We're ready to roll when you are.
Agents by Total Clients (November):
On Tuesday, we posted
our monthly review of the contract advisors with the most clients
, and there were a few things of note. We counted 99 total agents with at least 10 active clients, 37 with at least 20 active clients, and 12 with at least 30. We also found that of the 38 contract advisors with at least 20 active players, they represented just 20 agencies, with 10 of the 38 from Nashville-based CAA and five from New York City-based Sportstars (only one other agency, Los Angeles-based Wasserman Sports, had more than two). Make sure to
check out our list
and draw your own conclusions.
Know Your Scouts:
This week, we finished up our team-by-team run through NFL front offices as we presented the
on Wednesday, the
on Thursday, and the
today. If you're an agent who needs to know who's who among NFL scouting staffs, or if you're an aspiring scout, find out where scouting assistants are moving up most quickly and consistently (and where today's scouts got their starts or got their degrees) by clicking around on our
Know Your Scouts
board. Each team lists everyone on the college scouting side, his job, his alma mater, the other teams he's scouted with, and a fun fact about each one.
During this abbreviated week, we had two reports.
, we looked at a few overlooked (at least by us) moves in NFL scouting departments since last summer. We also had training and recruiting notes.
, we had the latest on the chase for LSU QB
, Tennessee St. WO
and South Carolina DT
. December kicks off our busiest season for Rep Rumblings, so stay tuned for big news coming in the next 60 days. In the meantime, get a look at everything we've reported so far this year
We hope you had a restful and blessed Thanksgiving week. It's your last restful one for the next two months, at least. In the coming week, we'll be interviewing
the finest combine trainers in the land
to update our
NFL Combine Prep
site. We'll be scouting social media and our best sources to fill up the
2020 All-Star Grid
. We'll also debut (earlier than usual) the
2020 Signings Grid
on Monday; we'll start small, but will use the site to debut the hottest signings in college football over the next two months.
Mental performance expert Donovan Martin
will be watching all the games, surveying players' struggles, and providing his input on how they can fix them in the
Succeed in Football blog
. We'll also continue two newsletter series, the
ITL College Football Personnel & Recruiting
series (Thursdays) and the
ITL Rising Contract Advisors Newsletter
(Mondays through Thursdays). Don't forget about the
ITL Recruiting Symposium Presented by the College Gridiron Showcase
, and also don't forget that we're conducting a salary survey for people in the college personnel/recruiting community (email us if you need the link). There's are also opportunities with the WWE for current and former players and
our book on the NFL Draft process
, and we're also firming up our event calendar for January and February, so details are coming soon. If you think it's been crazy so far this year, get ready: it's about to get a lot crazier.
Let us help you keep your cool