NoleDigest goes in-depth with Tom Shaw

FSU is notorious for churning out some of the best NFL athletes to hit the football field over the past 25 years. Most of these players, as well as others across the nation, have worked with one guy to help them prepare for the next level: Tom Shaw. NoleDigest spoke to Tom for an in-depth interview where we talk about his time at FSU and some of the athletes he's worked with over his career.

Coach Shaw has over 25 years of experience in performance training for football, baseball, basketball and soccer players at all levels. A graduate of Central Michigan University (CMU), Shaw went on to complete his Master's degree at CMU and later completed course work toward his Ph.D. at Florida State University. Coach has been written up by ESPN, Sport Illustrated, USA Today, the Associate Press and training journals such as SPARQ Magazine, Scholastic Coach and Stack. Shaw is a SPARQ Master Trainer, and the numbers don't lie; he has worked with the last 6 Super Bowl MVP's, 94 1st round picks and 6 Number 1 picks. Shaw got his start at Florida State as an assistant track coach and has become the guru of speed training.

"I got started as an assistant track coach at Florida State and I was there from 1985 to 1994. I worked with a lot of the football players while I was there helping them as they prepared for the NFL. After my 9 years there I left and worked with the New Orleans Saints for 5 years, then I worked with the New England Patriots from 2001-2006."

"I enjoyed my time at Florida State. When I was there we were always in the top 4 and we had a lot of success. I worked with a ton of guys that were great pros like Deion Sanders, Dexter Carter, William Floyd, Terrell Buckley, Derrick Brooks, Sammie Smith and a lot of other guys. More recently at my camp I've worked with Michael Boulware, Bryant McFadden, Greg Jones, Tony Carter, Vince Williams and Myron Rolle. You look at a guy like Greg and you see how dedicated he is and that no one is going to outwork him. I've always enjoyed working with guys from FSU."

Tom's tenure at Florida State was successful for him and it helped propel his career. As he works with the new generation of Seminole players, he sees that they still have athletes playing on the team. Earlier this summer he worked with Tony Carter and Myron Rolle, and he says both did well during the training sessions.

"You hear all of the time Tim Tebow, Tim Tebow, Tim Tebow but you look at guys like Tony and Myron. Those are guys who are great athletes who you won't hear about because they're doing it right and not getting busted for smoking pot. Both have already graduated college and Myron is working on his Master's. Myron is a guy who is very talented. You can see that he's really starting to focus on football more as before it's been football, school and the other stuff he had going on. You have to be excited about what these kids can bring."

What some people don't know about Shaw's approach is that he focuses on technique as much as speed training. He feels what he does helps to extend the careers of the veteran players, which is seen when you look at the long-time pro's that work with him.

"What we try to do is work on sport specific goals that help the athletes make sure they don't lose a step. Speed techniques don't always work and over time it's natural that you lose a step. We help the veteran guys keep up what they're trying to do, therefore we focus on technique. You look at guys like Lawyer Milloy, Ike Taylor, Darren Sharper and a lot of guys like that. They're not young anymore but they're able to contribute to the team and be successful because they use proper technique."

"A guy who I'm excited to see play this year is Alex Barron. He has changed so much as a player and has a lot more spring to what he does. He's worked with us and has gotten a lot more intense in his approach. He's really preparing himself in the weightroom which will help him have a very successful season."

Tom's reputation as the best in the business has been exemplified with the success guys have had at the NFL combine. Tom has worked with a who's who list of NFL prospects and players, and the result he's helped them achieve is astonishing.

"In 2007 we had the 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th fastest guys in the draft. Last year we had the top two. When these guys come here we really focus on what they can expect when they go to the combine. It's not just drills; one minute they're waiting, then another they're expected to go out and run. We work on what they'll be doing during the 5 days they're there. You look at guy like LaRon Landry for example. No one thought he was a speed guy coming in. He was able to run a great time. No one thought Calvin Johnson would run a 4.3. Chris Johnson this year made himself a 1st round pick. I have every 40 time the combine has ever had. I don't care what anyone says; Chris Johnson ran the fastest 40 time ever at 4.24. Deion ran 4.28 and Rod Woodson ran 4.29. It's a privilege to have worked with the 3 fastest guys ever at the combine. Arizona told me that if Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie wasn't available they'd take Chris at 16."

"We have a lot of NFL personnel out there watching. People thought Chris was stiff and we were able to work with him and show that he wasn't. Another was the kid from Central Florida (Kevin Smith). People thought he was too stiff to run, but we help these guys prepare and get ready for the next level."

Tom is a fan of the Seminoles and he wants to see the team get back to where they've been over the past 30 years. He says he watches them and feels like things will improve over time.

"I like to see Florida State do well. I'm very close friends with Lawrence Dawsey. I've worked with Terrell for a long time, and he's been showing the kids there things he learned from me. I'm also close to a lot of coaches. I like to see Ohio State do well and I'd like to see Charlie Weiss have success. I represented FSU for a long time and I want to see them get back. They need to get back to outworking people and do what they need to do to be better than the other team. I'm tired of losing to Miami and Florida. They've started making the necessary changes they need to make. These kids aren't losers and they need to be told that. They need to get back to work, get in the weightroom and re-focus. Once that happens then things will turn positive."

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