The sweat behind Holmes NFL dream
These are the exclusive images which show former rugby league star Val Holmes is giving his NFL dream a red-hot crack.
The Daily Telegraph watched Holmes on Tuesday as he punished his body at Tribe Social Fitness in Taren Point.
Next month he will fly to the US in the hope of eventually earning a start in one of the most cutthroat competitions in the world.
The former Cronulla Sharks fullback will head directly into an NFL international pathway program in preparation for the NFL Combine.
He will train nine hours a day, his focus on plays, structures and defensive drills.
Leading Sydney strength and conditioning coach Trent Elkin put Holmes through he paces yesterday.
"We have worked on optimal functions - movement efficiency," said Elkin, who previously worked with the Sharks and Parramatta Eels.
"Like limb-to-limb strength and making sure he's as strong in his left leg as his right leg. Making sure there's no imbalance in his muscular system.
"We now want to develop all those qualities of speed - strength, power. That's the direction we are going.
"Explosive speed and power work hand-in-hand. I have to get him functioning optimally so he can execute those movements.
"If you don't move and you don't function optimally, you have no chance of optimising those other qualities of speed and power because you have breakdowns, so to speak, in your movements.
"We are doing anywhere from eight to 12 sessions a week. There are a couple of elements we're working on to prepare Val for when he goes over there."
Anything less and Holmes will be behind the eight-ball from the start in the US.
"There will be a battery of tests he has to execute at the combine," Elkin said.
"There's the 40-year dash, agility drills, your strength tests, power tests.
"We are really just laying the foundations for him to build on everything we have done.
"My aim is to get it right in terms of what they throw at him at the academy.
"From there, they will determine exact specifics of where he will play or the position where he will trial.
"His speed and power are crucial to the game. If you look at the NFL, there are many similar qualities to rugby league but the physical demands are vastly different within those qualities for each player.
"Val's background, rugby league, is heavily aerobic based. But when he gets in the NFL, they are really big on your ability to produce repeat efforts of speed and power.
"That's been our objective. We wanted to identify any areas we needed to target based on his previous training.
"You will often find that athletes who undertake repetitive training methods, in regards to playing in a team or group, are often executing movements that are of a high repetitive nature.
"We needed to work out whether he had any little discrepancies, little dysfunctions, fixing those in terms of imbalance and then move him in the direction of being nice and quick and nice and powerful - all without any incidents or injuries."
Holmes's manager Chris Orr said his client would attempt to emulate the early success of former rugby league forward and now Philadelphia Eagles star Jordan Mailata through the NFL's international combine.
"He will basically follow the same path as Jordan," Orr said. "He will go into the international program, which is three-and-a-half months of intense training.
"He will then go to a combine and there are two options there. He can be recruited like any other player or, alternatively, continue on the program and get assigned a team.
"Val would get placed on that team as the international player, which would probably be player 54 in a 53-man roster but could be activated at any stage through the year.
"He would be there to learn and there wouldn't be any pressure on him. He can't be cut like Jarryd (Hayne).
"All 32 teams will get a chance to witness him at the combine and he can then go for club visits and be secured as a free agent.
"They teach from the ground up. They spend nine hours a day training.
"That's on the field, in the class room and the gym. They throw a lot at them.
"They have international teams scouting the world looking at talent. They have an eye on Val and have done their homework on him."
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