TYLER, Texas — Years before he was a twinkle in the eye of Chiefs Kingdom, quarterback Patrick Mahomes began training with a man named Bobby Stroupe in East Texas, where Mahomes was born. And whenever he goes back to Texas, he still trains with Stroupe.
Mahomes tells people that he’s been training with Stroupe since he was in the fourth grade. He even gave his long-time trainer a shout out at the 2019 Pro Bowl.
Stroupe still trains kids who were the same age as Mahomes when he started, and says at that age, his job is about making sure they're enjoying the work. He told us that Mahomes started to really stand out in middle school.
"Anytime we put him in a reactive situation, a multi-directional agility situation or a problem-solving situation, or something that showed power from multiple dimensions, he stood out," Stroupe said.
"I mean, he's a unicorn," Stroupe said. “You know, if he was on a video game, and he is now, but you know, he would have these things turned up that most kids wouldn't want, because they wouldn't know why it's good. You know, his agility, his movement, all these things are just off the charts."
Stroupe showed up on Mahomes' Instagram page several times this summer. He was also part of a viral moment with him during Mahomes’ college days.
“We had some high school kids do a long-throw competition from their knees up here,” Stroupe said. “And he said, ‘Who threw the furthest?’ And I told him. And he said ‘I wanna beat that.’ And I said let's do it, and let's put it on camera, and show people his arm strength."
“He gets on his knees right here, and he throws it, and he actually threw it a little over 80 yards from his knees,” Stroupe said. “But I thought, if I tell people this is 80 yards, they'll just make fun of him. So we just said 65 yards, and it was on every show.”
Mahomes isn't the only professional athlete Stroupe trains. Players from multiple sports work with him and his team.
In fact, during our visit to APEC, Stroupe's facility in Tyler, Texas, Dylan Cantrell, who's in his second year as a receiver with the Los Angeles Chargers, was there. He went to high school and college with Mahomes and also says he owes a lot to Stroupe.
“We do so many functional things that you wouldn't do normally, that you wouldn't even think of doing if you're training or working out on your own," Cantrell said. “It's crazy; it's so surreal. I still see him as the kids we grew up playing little league baseball and football and basketball, so it's been awesome. And like I said, I think he's going to keep getting better.”
That's almost hard to imagine after Mahomes’ first season as a starter. But it's not for Stroupe, who's been there since the beginning, and knows exactly what Kansas City has to look forward to.
“Watching him play now, I've seen all those things in my head a million times before they happened,” Stroupe said. “I mean I really have, and Patrick, I know he has. He loves the town, he loves the fans, those kind of things really push him on and motivate him. He loves the game as much as you love watching him.”
As for all those times you've heard fans or commentators talk about Mahomes’ baseball past to explain some of the plays he makes, Stroupe says he sees him much more like a point guard in basketball. But he's quick to say that Mahomes' hard work, not his training, deserves all the credit.