If you are on social media, and follow professional athletes, you likely have seen videos of players from multiple sports showing off some incredible footwork skills. There are a myriad of cones, change of direction and objects often thrown into the mix to help acclimate the athlete to specific skills of their sport.
9 out of 10 times those videos are of the famed ‘Footwork King’. This king has a name, and it is Rischad Whitfield, and he works with athletes all year long in hopes of improving their footwork and short area quickness. This past offseason he worked with Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Joe Haden, and BTSC was able to ask Whitfield a few questions about Haden’s worth this offseason, and more.
Check out the exclusive interview below courtesy of BTSC’s Chris Ward:
You mentioned that Xavien Howard linked Joe and you together. How did that process develop and what aspect of his game did he want to improve on?
Xavien Howard was down here in L.A. for a few days prior to the ESPY awards. He and Joe Haden were working out together at UCLA. Xavien knew that I was down in L.A. training OBJ, so he reached out to me to get a few workouts in before he went back to Miami. Joe Haden was with him so Joe worked out as well. Once Xavien left to head back to Miami after the ESPYS, Joe Haden and I continued to train everyday until it was time for him to fly back to Pittsburgh.
The part of Joe Haden’s game that he wanted to improve on was developing more agile foot movement which is a quicker feet, looser hips and sharpening his ability to change directions in minimal time.
With the first time training Haden. What did you learn about him as an athlete and just as a person?
As soon as Joe introduced himself to me and shook my hand, I automatically knew that his mindset was that of someone who wants to be great. His work ethic instantly showed me the strength of his character. He’s just an all-around positive person. Joe is desired this season to be the best cornerback in the league and to win every match-up he has against whomever the WR may be at all times. He speaks so highly of the Steelers organization and loves Coach Tomlin.
What do you expect of Haden this season? He’s 30 years old and many overlook cornerbacks when they hit that age. However, Haden mentioned on the Rich Eisen Show that he feels like he’s in the best shape ever.
Joe will have his best season this year. Guarantee it. People have to take in consideration that age doesn’t mean anything when you have the work ethic and mentally of some like Joe. I train a lot of DB’s who are in their 1st-2nd year of the NFL and I will honestly say that Joe moves just as well as them. Plus he still can hold his top end speed. See Joe is a seasoned veteran so he knows and been playing this game for awhile. That right there alone makes him better than any of these young DB’s. Also, Joe is in phenomenal shape. He’s packed on a lot of lean muscle mass and his conditioning is above great! He never gets tired. I’m excited to watch him this season.
Whitfield trains a lot of professional athletes, so many will view his words as nothing but lip service, but Haden putting in the extra work speaks volumes to not just his work ethic, but his desire to get better. Many times when athletes hit 30 they can get complacent with their work ethic, but that doesn’t seem to be Haden’s style.
Haden isn’t just hoping for a big season in 2019, but a new contract with the Steelers before the start of the 2019 season. A contract year, in the prime of his career and a renewed desire to get better — maybe the ‘Footwork King’ is right and Haden is in for a remarkable 2019 campaign.