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The Super Bowl may be a little over a week away, but for 30 other teams, preparation for next season has already begun. And for Natalie Kollars, SCCC, this means her season is just getting started.
Kollars has earned a reputation as one of the premier sports performance specialists in the country after having worked with a host of athletes from NFL, NHL and college—she’s even trained singer Demi Lovato.
These days, however, it’s her pre-OTA camp training sessions that has players from all over the country flying into Arizona to work with Kollars—some of her clients include Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Josh Allen, Seattle Seahawks running back Deejay Dallas, and Cleveland Browns cornerback Greg Newsome—to put in the sport specific drills to get their skills up and ready for April’s OTA camps, which signal the first official team practices of the 2024 season.
Football, however, is just part of Kollars’ work these days. The trainer has now partnered with Scottsdale-based Helix Performance and performance coach Steve J Lindquist CSCS XPS BS, part of her launch of her new company and brand, Fortis. With her new endeavor, Kollars looks to expand her performance-based reach from not just top-level athletes to also online training for athletes and other professionals looking for to enhance and elevate their fitness levels.
Kollars, who spent the last several years developing athletes at Phoenix’s EXOS, says her new endeavor will also offer education and mentorship programs to young trainers, especially young female trainers.
“I am very passionate about opening doors and mentoring young female strength conditioning coaches,” Kollars says. “Because we are few and far between and so forth. It is going to encompass a lot more than just training athletes while still keeping that at the core of my business.”
One of only a handful of female trainers in the NFL, Kollars, who has worked with hundreds of athletes at Phoenix’s EXOS Performance before moving her base to Scottsdale’s Helix, says it’s a challenge being one on a few. But through honing her craft and and now building her brand through Fortis, Kollars is leading by example that working on being the best version of yourself and taking the time and effort to know and appreciate your clients are skill equally as important as degrees and certifications.
“I think that a lot of our industry is based off of building relationships and trust between a coach and an athlete,” she says. “Like all areas of life, people want to know that you care about them as who they are as a person, not just what they do. So there’s a relationship building side of things. And then there’s just the sheer side of being good at your job.”
The early goal, Kollars says of her OTA preparation camps is to set the foundation for making to OTAs—which begin for teams in April— before preparing for July’s training camp begins. For now, it’s taking care of injuries, movement quality and deficiencies that may have occurred over the course of last season’s 17-game schedule.
“A lot of it is getting their body back after a long season dealing with any nagging injuries and making sure that all of that taken care of as early as possible, and then preparing them for a long time away from the season.”
While Kollars may be still one of the few women working with such elite athletes such as NFL players, the recognition she gets from the players confirms she’s right where she belongs.
“Dallas once told me, wherever you’re at, I’ll be there,” Kollars says.
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