Chuck Smith couldn’t take his eyes off the TV. His eyes were focused on his blue and white number 56, Lawrence Taylor.
In 1983, Taylor was at the peak of his NFL Hall of Fame career. He won his NFL Defensive Player of the Year award twice and is an inspiration to many young athletes.
Eighth grade Smith imitated a pass rush move. He watched Taylor strategize against aggressive linemen and examined his technique. Most importantly, Smith was obsessed with becoming a pass rushing specialist.
“When I saw LT, it gave me motivation,” Smith told USA TODAY Sports. “At the time, he was changing the game as far as pass rushers were concerned. When I saw him, it lit me up.”
The fire still burns today.
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After a nine-year NFL career, Smith is now a renowned trainer helping players learn the basics of pass rushing.
His client will be one of the teams vying for an NFL playoff spot on Sunday. Names of superstars Smith has worked with include Von Miller and Aaron Donald early in their careers. We also support college and high school athletes.
“In the offseason, he’s someone I always connect with,” said Atlanta Falcons linebacker Arnold Eviketi. He has a sharpened mentality and helps you get better all the time.”
chase your dreams
Smith grew up in Athens, Georgia and played for the University of Tennessee during his college years. He shined as a pass rusher and during the 1991 season he led the SEC in sacks. He played for the Atlanta Falcons and the Carolina Panthers and finished his career with 58.5 his sacks.
He learned over time from Hall of Famers Derrick Thomas, Jon Randle and Reggie White. He often studied different methods of attacking aggressive linemen with head fakes, hand placement, and body placement.
But working with Falcons teammate Chris Doleman helped him visualize how to take his game to the next level.
“We signed a Hall of Famer with a skill level beyond what I could ever dream of,” Smith said. “His IQ was on another planet. So I studied him and saw him by his example.”
Doleman played for the Falcons in 1994 and 1995. In these two seasons, Smith recorded his 16.5 sacks from opposite Doleman.
Smith gained experience and continued training local players in Tennessee during the offseason. When his playing career was coming to an end, he wanted to become a full-time trainer.
In 2000, Smith began chasing after seeing HBO’s “Inside the NFL” segment.
“I remember watching, and they were talking about a new trend going on,” Smith said. My wife was sitting on the couch and she said to me, ‘You were doing that.'” People always said you couldn’t do that. “
Smith set out to make it possible and soon established the Chuck Smith Training System in Atlanta. Since 2002, he has welcomed athletes to improve their game.
Five years ago, NFL defensive lineman Abdullah Anderson weighed his options. Anderson finished his college career at Bucknell University and was preparing for the NFL Draft. He came across Smith’s training player online and flew to Atlanta for the session.
“I saved all my money to go out there and meet him,” said Anderson. Going to him really helped me a lot, especially through the OTA and the first year leading up to training camp.”
Smith helped Anderson focus on his technique. He showed him how to set the stance and get maximum leverage at the point of attack.
Smith’s secret is the VGHH method, which stands for Vision, Getoff, Hands and Hips.
It starts with how players perceive visual keys before the football is snapped. He said it’s important to have good eye discipline to understand the point of attack.
Smith teaches his players to always look at a quarterback’s hand or an offensive lineman’s knee. Usually that’s a good visual key to starting their rush, he said. .
“I always thought that having a good vision would give you a good reaction time,” says Smith.
The next step is getting off. Smith found that proper eye placement facilitated the speed a player needed to explode out of a football. He teaches that players have a proper front-loading stance that allows them to generate more power from their pressure foot.
“It’s like an accelerator pedal,” said Smith. “When you step on the accelerator pedal, the car starts moving.”
The third step is good hand placement. Smith teaches players to engage pass rushes by “having speed in their hands.” This allows the player to make quick strikes between the wrist and elbow.
The final step is the waist position. Working with the player, Smith focuses on controlling and flexing the body throughout the rush. Helps prevent lying loose at the top of certain movements.
“Every pass rush move has a vision, a getoff, a hand and a hip,” Smith said. “All techniques and all drills, these he shows four important keys.”
There’s a trick to becoming an NFL pass rushing specialist.
Anderson likens it to a game of chess, with multiple moves with names like bull rush, speed rush, and cross chop to fling off aggressive linemen and set them up to counter blocking schemes.
NFL veteran Lorenzo Carter agrees. He said the pass rushing mentality is what separates the players in the league.
“It’s really every type of move,” said Carter. “Prepare for the pass rush and throw it all the time.”
In recent years, pass rush specialists have been promoted to highly paid roles within the organization. NFL teams need them to keep up with top his quarterbacks like Joshua Allen and Patrick Mahomes.
Miller, Donald, Myles Garrett and TJ Watt will represent the sack artists. However, players like Crosby, Myka his Parsons, and Bradley Chubb are quickly emerging as standouts for the future.
Future generations benefit from veterans sharing their knowledge.
In 2017, Miller created the Pass Rush Summit to help players learn from each other. Miller hosted his sixth annual event in Las Vegas this year, featuring more than 20 of his NFL defensive stars.
As Field Director, Smith played a key role in the event, and this year hosted a film session that was virtually attended by over 500 players and coaches.
“He had this vision of everybody coming together to learn for the greater cause of the pass rush,” Smith said. was doing.”
educate and inspire
Smith enjoys giving back and expressing his love of gaming. Although he calls his football career a ‘pass rushing journey’, he admits that there have been some difficulties along the way.
People didn’t always believe in his journey. Some even counted him on the way.
Affectionately known as “Dr. Rush” by clients and players across the league. Smith has now been training athletes for nearly 30 years. He still has the same enthusiasm and excitement he had when he saw his 56th issue in blue and white.
Pass rush is his love and he doesn’t take it for granted. His success has been linked to pave the way for athletes on and off the field.
And he sums up his love of football in one inspirational phrase.
“Live each day like the 3rd and the 8th,” said Smith.