Strength and conditioning coach Micah Kurtz is known locally for his popular and celebrated programs at Windermere Preparatory School.
Most recently, he took his expertise across the pond.
Kurtz was invited to participate in the 2022 National Football League International Combine, held Oct. 3 to 4 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, in London.
“They invited me out to do the movement preparation and assist with the combine,” he said. “In conduction with that, the NFL hosted an international coaches clinic for any coaches in England (who) are coaching American football.”
More than 100 coaches attended the clinic. Kurtz spoke about how to create a comprehensive and age-appropriate high school training program for high school.
“One of the reasons that the NFL wanted me to speak (is) because that demographic of coaches is working with pretty much high school, and youth, level athletes,” Kurtz said. “I talked about how we break down our strength and conditioning program to meet every student where they are at. At the high school level, we can have 30 to 40 kids in the weight room at once. One can be an 18-year-old and have experience, (while) one can be a 14-year-old who has never been in the weight room.
“So, being able to create a program to meet each athlete were they are at, we call it a unified program, where they all train toward the same goals,” he said. “But it’s not uniform, where they are all doing the exact same exercises.”
This was the second time Kurtz was invited to speak at an NFL International Combine. The first time was in 2017, in Mexico City.
“We’ve had a good relationship just through the work that he’s done at Windermere Prep,” Roman Oben, NFL Vice President of Football Development, said of Kurtz. “It’s always important to get someone that has such a good understanding of developing athletes at a younger age. … He’s always had an excellent base of knowledge in terms of what he’s teaching, he’s a great teacher.”
Kurtz has been a coach at the high school level for 14 years. This is his fifth year with the Lakers.
“I realized ... I probably wasn’t going to be a professional athlete, but I wanted to be involved in sports,” he said. “I fell in love with the impact you can have in high school kids.”
According to the NFL Football Operations website, “The invitational scouting showcase allows evaluators to discover and evaluate potential global NFL talent.”
Kurtz was on the field with the 44 international athletes who were selected to participate.
“For the dynamic movement prep to start the combine, I ran that on the field for all of the players, put them through the warm-up — the speed and agility warm-up, and got them ready for the combine drills,” he said. “I also assisted with helping test them in the combine drills like the bench press. … They definitely put me to work, but that’s why I was there. It was awesome to be a part of it.”
The ultimate goal of the international combine is to scout more international players and expand the game’s popularity in other countries.
“We want to always make sure that every year, the event gets better,” Oben said. “It starts with quality instruction, teaching and just quality coaching.”
Instruction and teaching is what Kurtz provided the international coaches that attended the clinic, as well as ongoing communication.
“I’ve been speaking at conferences for a few years now,” he said. “Whenever I speak, I want to make sure that it’s not detailed on what I do, (but) a collaborative effort, and be an open book about what I do with my athletes.”
By introducing international players to the game of football at an earlier age, the NFL hopes to grow the interest of the younger demographic in other countries.
“We want to continue to find the best players and ... to really grow the game overseas,” Oben said. “Hopefully, we’ll have more and more international players playing in the NFL one day.”