How Julian Edelman Was Prepared For That Incredible Super Bowl LI Catch

Luck wasn’t the only factor in Julian Edelman’s amazing Super Bowl LI catch.

Sure, even Edelman has admitted luck played a huge role in the catch that helped the New England Patriots stage their miraculous comeback en route to another Super Bowl title, but the wide receiver has some interesting training techniques he believes came in handy, too.

“When I’m tired, I like to go and do drills where you catch tennis balls off walls,” Edelman said for the upcoming ESPN The Magazine Body Issue 2017. “Different colors use different hands, and you’ve got to react to those types of things at different angles. I do all these crazy reaction-time things or reaction skills with tennis balls every morning, or at least four times a week.

“After that catch in the Super Bowl, I go up to the guy who throws for me — he’s one of our equipment guys — and I go, ‘It’s because of the tennis balls!’ It’s because you’re reacting so quick. It all helps you out in the end.”

But that wasn’t all.

“Also, I’ll do a circuit of hand exercises in rice buckets,” Edelman added. “I’ll swoosh my fingers from right to left (in the rice) for 20 seconds, 30 seconds. And then you go swoosh them in the other direction. And then you grab and claw the rice and you rotate your wrists so you’re getting different movements in the fingers.

“And then I’ll go and I’ll dig to the bottom, all the way to the bottom of the bucket and you come back up. So you’re doing that for 30 seconds. Then you’re doing pianos where you just go and you just piano the rice, like you’ve got two chords, for 30 seconds. Then you grab some rice and squeeze it as hard as you can for 30 seconds.”

So, there you have it, folks: If you have some tennis balls and/or rice buckets, start using them. They can help you do this:

Edelman credited his father with being a “big drill guy,” which is how he learned such techniques. And they certainly paid off when they mattered most.

Thumbnail photo via Richard Mackson/USA TODAY Sports Images

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