Can’t Train Amid a Pandemic? Student Athletes, Nike Wants an NFL Star to Coach You

If you’re a student athlete whose training has hit a snag amid the coronavirus pandemic, Nike has a come up with a virtual solution for you.

The sportswear giant teamed up with the National Football League to offer a free digital training tool dubbed 11-Online. The classes, which stream at 11onfootball.com and are available on Nike’s Training Club app, will be led by stars like Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley, Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald and more.

All 32 NFL teams participated in the platform, which was designed to provide coaching support to high school- and even college-level football players, as well as teach them life skills off the field. It can also be used by consumers looking to stay active or in shape as the COVID-19 outbreak continues to keep people indoors.

The training camp gives out instructions for all 11 football positions in the offensive and defensive lines. It also offers other resources: While Seattle Seahawks performance psychologist Dr. Michael Gervais seeks to mentally prepare student athletes for the season, Rams head team dietitian Joey Blake is offering tips and advice for healthy eating and a better sleep cycle. What’s more, yoga instructor Emma Kittle — wife to San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle — has filmed yoga classes, and NFL pros-turned-coaches Natrone Means and Ray Mickens are teaching mentorship.

Nike and the NFL introduced the 11-On initiative last year in an effort to “deliver best-in-class experiences for athletes that not only emphasize football skills, but also team building and leadership development,” Nike director of grassroots and team Scott Henson said at the time. The Rams hosted the first 11-On at El Camino College last March in a two-day activation that engaged more than 420 student athletes and upwards of 30 high school coaches.

Today’s release comes at a time when the future of high school and college fall sports hangs in the balance because of the COVID-19 health crisis. The National Federation of State High School Associations has encouraged state-level organizations to work with governors’ offices and state health departments to determine when the sports season should return. Roughly 18 states have canceled the high school football season altogether, with plans to pick up games next year, while about 20 states have pushed back start dates and just over a dozen have planned to proceed with the season as planned.

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