Tommy Flanagan was an outstanding high school and college football player but looking back on his playing career, he has since come to believe that a little more guidance would have enabled him to achieve even more.
In fact, Flanagan believes that everyone, young athletes in particular, can probably benefit from a bit more assistance than what they’re currently receiving. That could come in the form of extra attention from a coach, a peer propping them up or just having someone to talk to.
To that end, in 2016 Flanagan started a company called Strength 2 Strength designed not only to train athletes on how to excel in physical abilities like movement, balance, power and strength, but to help focus their minds so they can reach their full potential. Born from a tireless pursuit of perfection on sports, and his personal experiences along the way, Flanagan has identified a passion for working with young athletes.
That passion is now his profession.
“My identity was so heavy in sports that it was extremely hard for me to let them go until I eventually started this business,” Flanagan said. “Sports offer you so much but there is so much more to life. I pursued sports so heavily and it’s cool to have it come full circle because these young athletes are going to be fathers, mothers, husbands, wives and all kinds of things.
“I always feel like if they have someone to pour energy into them, they can not only be better all-around people but also be more available physically and mentally for their sport of choice.”
Flanagan was a running back, wide receiver, punter and kicker at Bear Creek High School in Lakewood. He went on to play football for two years at the University of South Dakota and two more at Nebraska-Kearney. While developing his business over the past several years, he also served as receivers coach and strength coach at Fairview, from which he now works with local athletes like Landon Colvin, Ashton Nichols, Bryce DesJardins and graduate Mariano Kemp.
In Colvin’s case, Flanagan helped the Knights standout rehab from a dislocated ankle and broken leg he suffered prior to his junior season. While guiding Colvin through eight months of rehab, Flanagan also helped the devastated young tight end and linebacker remain mentally focused and on track to return for his senior season.
“What Tommy does, I have not ever seen in my 40 years as a high school, college and pro athlete, businessman and coach,” Colvin’s father Jeff Colvin said. “Speed, balance, endurance, and injury recovery at a level way above so many others. Plus helping get into the minds of these players and helping them see how to get their full potential. This type of dedication to your craft is just not something you see much anymore at any level of business.”
Jeff Colvin, who is also a football coach at Fairview, said he was so impressed by Flanagan’s work with his son that he bought into Strength 2 Strength to help form the company.
Those types of stories are the ones Flanagan is most proud of. He is fundamentally a sports performance coach but prides himself on going the extra mile and helping his athletes exceed in all aspects of their lives. He believes the best coaches are those who are invested in each athlete as a person and not just what they can provide between the lines, and says that sometimes the best thing a coach and be is a person to talk to.
“First and foremost, they’re there working with me from an athletic standpoint,” Flanagan said. “But my job is also to be there for them in whatever way they need. A lot of athletes never reach their potential. My job is to get to know them and help them with whatever they need in order to be their best self both on and off the field.”