The Egg Drop ia a delicate exercise requiring mental focus and physical discipline. While backpedaling on a 15% incline moving between 3.4 and 4.5 mph, Bush must place a small ball on a holder at the back end of the Launchpad, then return to the front end of the pad and do it again. "He has to have a level of control to execute fine motor skills even though the body is in a dynamic and exhausted state," says Clarke. "It's like threading a needle while running." If the ball drops, Bush must start over. "If you don't bring the element of consequences to training," says Clarke, "then you're not properly training for your sport."
Mount Kilimanjaro is as bad as it sounds. Clarke, on a ladder about 10 feet above Bush on the Launchpad, drops medicine balls (up to 30 pounds) toward the player, who tosses them back. The drill strengthens the arms, back, chest, and shoulders, but also the legs, abs, obliques, quads, hamstrings, and calves.
About Kappel LeRoy Clarke Clarke trains top athletes, as well as us regular folk. He says his clients tend to be "high achievers, type-A people who feel they have to prove themselves every day." And while the workout is tough, participants have ranged from a four-year-old to a 74- year-old legally blind woman. "After two months, she could get on and off the pad by herself," says Clarke.
Like most clients, Bush was tentative at first. But, of course, he is not like most clients. Early on, Bush would lean backward on his heels so far it looked as if he'd fall. "But he was so quick," says Clarke, "he recovered."
"He's probably the most powerful and quickest athlete I've ever had on the Launchpad. He's open and he's hungry. I would pose di..erent things for him to do, and he'd ask questions. Not doubting but getting a sense of the mechanics and why he was doing it. I'm getting excited about the upcoming season because he put in a lot of work."
Bush, in his quiet way, is also eager to showcase his new self. He feels working with Clarke has made him not just stronger, faster, and smarter—but better. And, as he says, he's just beginning. "Success is a long-distance race, not a sprint," he says. "I'm not sure when next season I'll hit my peak, but it will come."