The relationship between New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and the late Tom Martinez was well-documented over the years. Brady often cited Martinez's work in fine-tuning his mechanics as critical to his success.
Brady is one of several NFL quarterbacks currently working with former major league pitcher Tom House, the founder of the National Pitching Association. House was a guest on Sirius XM NFL Radio’s “End Zone” program with Zig Fracassi and Alex Marvez on Sunday, and he shared some insight into his work with Brady.
It started with this:
“When Tom Brady showed up, he was already one of the best in the history of the game. So he comes in and he’s looking for a 1 percent gain, or just to hang on to what he’s already got," House said on the program.
“We just built on what he’d already established with Coach Martinez. As he’s getting a little older, you lose a little strength and lose a little flexibility. He has a guy, Alex Guerrero, that helps him with that. What was happening, he was noticing his accuracy and his long ball weren’t what they were three-four years ago. So we brought him to the computer, compared him to the models we have created for movement efficiency and there were really, really small things that were causing his issues.
"Probably the easiest way to explain it: His front side was a little too rotational. He wasn’t maintaining his torque long enough. So really, really small little adjustments. The cool thing, and what is most impressive to me, these quarterbacks pick things up really, really quick. Pitchers it takes a while. Quarterbacks -- I think it’s because of the necessity of the game -- they have to make decisions quickly and learn quickly. When you show them what they need to do, they fix it in a blink. It’s pretty impressive.”
House was then asked about some recent comments he made to Mark Daniels of the Providence Journal in comparing Brady to Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan.
“Nolan wanted to stay competitive as long as he possibly could, so we started tweaking programs, process and protocols, and started looking at recovery as much as preparation, and making sure in our strength training that it was specific to the mechanics involved in throwing," House said on the program. "Tom Brady wants to do the same thing, to be competitive as long as he can. I think the number that is out there -- he wants to play until 43 to 45 years old. There is no reason these guys can’t do it if you can identify what they need to do to sustain and maintain what they had at the peak of their careers. It’s doable. Guys like Tom and Drew [Brees], they’re looking to stay as good as they can, as long as they can.”
What has House learned about Brady that he didn't know before?
“Without giving away trade secrets, one of the things we’ve learned about quarterbacking is that it isn’t the length of the stride, it’s the timing of the stride," House said. "Tom is real long and lanky. Drew Brees is kind of short and stumpy like me. Drew Brees is really quick in his foot stride. If Tom has an issue, he gets a little long. So instead of looking at length of stride, he kind of told us from the pitching side of the equation, it’s not the length of stride, it’s the timing it takes to get into the stride.
"So Nolan Ryan, at 6-1, had almost a seven-and-a-half-foot stride, but he still got into foot stride at right around one second. The same rules apply to quarterbacks. So you have to be into foot stride and get the ball out of their hands in the right time, so they have a timely release to the receivers. There are numbers that are measureable -- they have to be into foot stride by ‘X.’ So it isn’t the length of the stride, it’s the timing of the stride. That’s one of the things we focus on when we analyze Tom every year, and we maintain during the season -- we look at 'How quick is he getting into foot stride?'”