AUSTIN, Texas — It's been the spring and summer of the private instructor.
With team activities forbidden off and on for months, high school athletes have had to seek out workouts and platforms like Bam Performance.
“Bam’s whole idea was kind of like, 'Alright since we can’t have a spring, we’re going to kind of take the spring to them,'” said Devin Lemear, a senior at Manor and a three-star recruit.
Bam Performance is a defensive back training service on wheels.
"We’re everywhere," said founder and Bastrop native Bernard Blake. "We’re in Hays; we’re in Del Valle; we’re in Westlake; we’re in Dripping Springs; we’re in Leander; we’re in Manor; we’re in Pflugerville; we’re in Round Rock."
Blake goes wherever the athletes are. All he takes with him is his knowledge, experience and a few cones.
"We don’t repeat a lot of workouts; we don’t repeat a lot of drills. We like to just build off the momentum we create," he said. "Everything we do translates directly to the field, which is why there’s minimal equipment. These guys come in and they get rep after rep after rep until it’s basically conditioned into your body."
It's a simple but rewarding approach, much like the simple but rewarding outlook that defines Blake's football career.
“Just when I thought I was going to have everything I ever wanted, the longest NFL career, just like any other kid growing up playing football, it was all taken from me, just like that,” he said.
It was taken from him two months after he signed his pro contract.
“Literally two days before I was supposed to leave back for training camp, [I] got real sick, [and] ended up in the hospital with these migraines. I was losing vision in my left eye. I got home, got released from the hospital, and Green Bay called and said, 'Hey, that’s a brain aneurysm,' and it kind of just went downhill from there,” he said.
Blake never got to play a down in the NFL, but that didn't keep him down for long.
“I was always raised to understand that football came to an end,” he said.
His journey inspired the start of Bam Performance.
“To be able to reconnect with them and basically say, 'Hey, look these are some of the things that I learned along my journey that if I knew when I was your age, it would’ve made everything 10 times easier.'”
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