Posted By: Michael Cecchin
Every professional athlete has a different story about his or her time spent at the pro level. Each individual seems to take something different away from living their dream whether it is personal accolades and awards or life lessons that will never be forgotten. The world of professional sports seems to serve up something different for every athlete, making most experiences worthwhile.
Alexandria, Louisiana native Craig Nall played professional football for the duration of six years. He was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the 5th round of the 2002 NFL Draft where he would play and learn from one of the games greatest quarterbacks, Brett Favre, until 2005. Nall would then move on to join the Buffalo Bills and later the Houston Texans while playing on and off over seas. His professional career took Craig Nall on various journeys through various cities and introduced him to many different coaches, teammates and friends. On his journey, Nall registered countless lessons picked up while playing for and with various new faces that gave him the drive and ability to use all he had learned for the benefit of others.
In 2008 Craig Nall started a football training camp geared towards young quarterbacks called QB1 Sports, which teaches all aspects of becoming an elite quarterback, from knowing every motion your arm should follow to being able to handle politics and pressure off the field; a task Nall takes with great pride and responsibility.
“The responsibility for us to not only give back but teach the kids how to be a man, how to be a football player, how to be a leader, all those things that kind of mold us during our career we should give that back to the youth,” explained Craig. “Hopefully they don’t make the same mistakes we did and hopefully they have a brighter future. I really enjoy making an impact on the kids lives, seeing them with a smile on their face when they’re throwing the ball better,” he continued. “Some of these kids have never been directed and I don’t want all of my experience and knowledge to go to waste.”
The way players handle stress can play a huge part on ones professional career. Staying focused during stressful periods such as cuts during training camp or trying to hold a starting position is just as important as their performance on the field.
“If you sit there counting the guys and paying attention to the numbers it hurts you. Stay focused on what you need to do. Do your job and stay focused on what you need to do instead of looking around,” said Nall. “I kind of did that at LSU when I was competing for the starting job down there, even though I won it, I feel I could’ve played a lot better,” he explained.
When it comes to the development and understanding of the drills and lessons Craig Nall teaches his students, their immediate understanding is crucial to their development process and the former LSU star goes the extra mile to ensure that understanding.
“I film almost every drill that we do. I usually go back and look at it and break it down play by play and show the kids,” he said. “ I take pride in what I do, I want these kids to benefit and translate what they learn. Being able to self-correct and the sooner you can translate and create awareness in your body, it helps you become a better football player,” expressed the former LSU Tiger.
Though Craig Nall keeps busy with his students at QB1 Sports, he is also very active with a number of various charitable causes and events within his community. Living for Zachary and Guns ‘n Hoses are two organizations with two different goals that lie close to Craig’s heart.
Living for Zachary is a foundation set up in honour of Zachary Schrah who died of a sudden cardiac arrest while on the football field in 2009. The purpose of the foundation is to help kids become aware of the risk and make a visit to a hospital to have their hearts scanned for any type of harmful defect. This is a problem that Nall feels is much too troubling.
“I promote Living for Zachary because you hear about it way too often, kids dropping dead during practice or a game. Zachary’s story really touched me, he grew up hunting, fishing, and a lot of the same stuff I did,” said Craig.
Guns n’ Hoses is a fund set up for the families who have lost a loved one in the line of duty, whether it be fighting fires or protecting their communities.
“My brother is a firefighter so it’s sort of a special thing. They do a number of different fundraisers throughout the year. They’ve done golf tournaments and one of the biggest things they do is the boxing match, but this past year they decided to do a full football game. Full pads, full contact, and 11 on 11 NCAA rules,” explained Nall. “Me and some of my other buddies that I played with in the NFL posted a try out, put them through 5 practices and coached them during the game. We even did a clinic for the young kids before the game, and all of this was in Cowboys Stadium,” he elucidated.
To add on to his already impressive résumé, Craig Nall also hopes to become involved with the Special Olympics; something he says has always been a part of him.
“My mom taught special education for 27 years at a home, during her time there I would come up and meet the kids and play cards. I want to form a relationship with Special Olympics through QB1, teach them how to pass and run a few plays,” he expressed.
Though he didn’t break records or play in the Super Bowl, Craig Nall is a professional who truly understands and appreciates the importance of our youth and those who make our world what it is. He understands and embraces what it means to be a role model while continuing his humble, yet effective life lessons on and off the field.
To learn more about QB1 Sports, visit http://www.qb1sports.com/
To learn more about Living for Zachary, visit http://www.living4zachary.org/