'Movement Miyagi' believes NFL should think differently about preparing players – ESPN (blog)

8:58 AM ET

MINNEAPOLIS — Everson Griffen’s right cleat toes an orange line, as the two-time Pro Bowler coils his spine in preparation for attack. The man standing opposite Griffen, meeting his eye level from 10 yards away, is equal parts ball carrier, enigma and kinesiologist.

Shawn Myszka dances toward Griffen, chopping his feet twice and stabbing his right foot into the ground as Griffen closes in pursuit. Myszka turns to his left, lowering his eyes in time to study Griffen’s footwork as he pivots to match his target. The prey, at this point, has become the coach.

“Yes!” Myszka shouts as the two slow to a jog. “There’s the inside foot — now we’re talking.”

The search for more efficient motion, for something approaching balletic grace in the midst of mechanized mayhem, is what consumes Myszka’s days. The self-styled “Movement Miyagi” works as a different kind of personal trainer: a movement coach for 10 NFL players across four different teams, including Griffen, Minnesota Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr and New York Giants tight end Rhett Ellison. He’s worked with Adrian Peterson, John Carlson and Antoine Winfield in the past. And while some trainers have their clients hoisting free weights or stepping through agility ladders during the final weeks before NFL camps open, Myszka is with his players each day on a field in Edina, Minnesota, honing more explosive and flexible movement in ways a regular-season game might demand.

With Griffen, it’s a set of drills designed to help him close on ball carriers in space and achieve a lower center of gravity on both sides of the line of scrimmage, as the Vikings contemplate the possibility of moving the 29-year-old to different spots in their defense this season.

Ellison — used mainly as a blocking tight end with the

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