It was a busy weekend for Oakland Raiders running back Darren McFadden and the Everton & US record-breaking goalkeeper Tim Howard, with McFadden taking on the Miami Dolphins at Wembley Stadium last night and Howard helping his Everton team to a 1-1 draw in the Merseyside derby.
With two of their athletes from different disciplines in action on English soil this weekend, Nike produced a short film to mark the occasion titled ‘Suit up for Sunday.
The film reveals the intense dedication that McFadden and Howard invest in their physical training and mental preparation to perform at the highest-level of their respective sports, as well as the steps they take every day to make that a reality.
Ultimately, the hours they put in off the field help make them world-class athletes on the field.
McFadden said: “When it comes to training for football, you’re only going to get out of it what you put in it, so you have to put 110% effort in every time you’re out there.”
Howard adds: “When you’re winning and you play well you feel like a king, you’re on top of the world – even if it just lasts for a day. You have to live it, you have to eat right, you have to sleep right, you have to look after yourself and, of course, when you get on the field or in the gym you have to push yourself to the limits.”
Both athletes were followed in the gym, through their locker rooms and on the training ground. As much as training is about physical strength, when it comes to optimum performance, the mental preparations are just as important.
“In the game, you’re at the rest of the team’s mercy. There are no excuses in the gym, so if I fail, it’s up to me” said Howard.
“It’s those last few reps where you get stronger, that’s where you win. The first couple are easy – they look good. It’s the last few that you have to mentally push yourself through, to get through a season, to get through a game, to get through a tough period in a game you have to be mentally strong.”
McFadden echoes this need for nurturing mental strength:
“I try to keep it easy in the locker room, you know. I like to crack jokes with guys but at the same time once I step out on the field I’m very serious about my job, I’m very passionate.”