The search to discover the origin of the quarterback’s newfound zip led us to his trainer Jay Schroeder, who has been working with Kafka since his sophomore year at Northwestern. A simple question about Schroeder’s methods put us on a twisting path that led into an almost supernatural realm.
His technique literally came to him in a dream, and is based on the assumption that all humans are naturally fast, strong and powerful — it’s just that bad habits and external elements have essentially trained the mind wrong since birth, stunting some abilities. So he retrains it.
Through a series of tests performed by stimulating the nervous system, Schroeder unearths what muscles are not working and which ones are working out of order. Once that is determined, he sends messages to the brain via an electrical modality called POV (for force velocity) that gives the proper information on how to perform what you want to perform.
“Ability is always inside,” explains Schroeder, the owner and developer of EVO UltraFit. “We just tell the brain that it’s OK to display it.”
Schroeder says that once the right wires are connected, an athlete can improve his bench press by 100-200 pounds in a blink, shave off fractions of a 40-time or increase a vertical jump. It takes sincere dedication and discipline to retain those abilities.
And what about arm strength?
Kafka was asked on Sunday just how many times he’s been posed the arm-strength question since arriving at camp.
“A couple,” he replied. In the last year? “More than a few,” Kafka said, drawing laughs.
“It really doesn’t [bother me] because you have to make all the throws and that’s the reason why they drafted me, because I can do that.”
Don’t let him fool you, though. Improved arm strength has been a top priority.
“Oh hell yeah,” said Schroeder. “That’s the main goal of this whole thing. It was a glaring weakness he displayed last year and in college. We now have a handle on it, and from what I understand it’s going very well for him.”
There does seem to be a difference. No one will confuse his gun for Michael Vick’s, but there is a little more mustard on his throws. How was it done?
“We taught him how to lengthen the appropriate muscles at a high rate of speed so that he could decelerate in the appropriate means, which in turn tells your brain that you can accelerate at a higher level,” said Schroeder. “We prepare him to recover from the strain of arm strength.”
It may all sound a little to Sci-Fi, but this is no half-cocked operation. Schroeder’s reach extends into Major League Baseball, swimming, the NHL and NBA. He claims that some 400 NFL players are using his system, with a stable that includes a few “elite quarterbacks” that wouldn’t feel comfortable being named. He was able to say that Dwight Freeney, Carlos Dansby and Tim Hightower are a few of his clients.
Freeney tore a ligament in his ankle prior to Super Bowl XLIV, an injury that many thought would sideline him for weeks. He was back within five days, and registered a sack in a losing effort for the Colts. Schroeder believes that it was his methods that aided in the quick turnaround.
He says that the whole theory works off the premise that we are miracles. If you believe that, then certainly you’ll believe that Kafka can throw a 16-yard out with authority.