Getting Ready For a HS Combine
The magic line for a lot of football players, especially at the high school combine.
Run slower than it, and you are looking at having a tough time playing at the college level, run under it, and you start to turn some heads. Hudl videos and tape are important, but the 40 yard dash is the gate keeper at every stop a football player makes.
So what goes into a 40?
- Starting Stance
- First push (starting strength/power)
- First 5 Yards (strength)
- First 10 Yards (strength and body lean)
- 20 Yards (transition to top end speed)
- 40 yards (top end speed / endurance)
If you haven’t spent time establishing good mechanics or proper strength to execute each phase, one of these variables will trip you up and lessen your time, and ultimately your evaluation.
Here is Bill Rom, Owner at Superior Athletics discussing what an athlete should focus on in their training:
The first 5 to 10 yards sets the pace for the rest of your race. In a 5 second test, 1.5-2 seconds is spent in the first 10 yards. Maximizing your strength, bodyweight, and practicing your start technique will give you the edge when it comes to running a fast time. Remember though, opening up and running some longer runs is essential for teaching your body how to finish strong.
The 5/10/5 (Pro Agility/20 Yard Shuttle)
Where the 40 yard dash is the gate keeper exercise, the 5/10/5 lets coaches know if you can use all of that speed effectively.
What are the components that make up the 5/10/5?
- Initial Crossover Step (lateral reaction/agility)
- First change (short area agility and power)
- Second change (body control and change of direction ability)
- Final Sprint (Re-acceleration)
While a 5/10/5 seems to have less to go into it, multi-directional speed is an area that can be very challenging to learn. Listen to what coach Jay Fulco, Director of Performance Training has to say:
The initial start needs to be as explosive as possible, but not reckless, within only 2-3 steps you are already changing directions. It is important to stay calm and focus a lot on your technique, as small issues can have a big result on your time. Spend time learning to decelerate using depth drops and single leg jumps to improve your ability to come in and out of the turns.
A lot of technique goes into making a faster 5/10/5 and like any test, practice will yield greater and greater returns on your times. Be committed to the process, this may take a lot of repetitive work, but it is needed to pull that time down.
One of the best raw indicators of power and athleticism, the vertical jump is showing coaches and scouts how much potential is locked away inside of you – it is probably the best indicator test at the combine. Sadly, the vertical jump is the one with the least ability to manipulate with technique, though there are methods that can yield 2-3 inch improvements for those without technique.
What goes into a vertical jump?
- Tall Setup with Hands at the start
- Synchronization of the arm swing and the hip bend
- The Jump
- The reach (or the float)
- The landing
When using a standard vertec system (the one you jump and touch) you want to make sure you don’t swing at the flags, it will only pull you down and knock you off your best jump. With a just jump mat, you want to try and pull your toes up and land with a full foot into a squat in order to tell the system you had a longer jump time (and likely height).
Beyond that, here is another quote from Jason on the vert:
You may think a vertical jump is hard to improve, but I was able to take mine from 24″ to over 32″ in a few months. This came from lifting heavy, and practicing my jumping enough to teach my body what worked for me. So make sure you are spending time both lifting, and working on various jumps in your prep.
Here is a quote from Bill on which type of athlete needs what in a vertical jump:
If you are a lineman who is strong as an ox but lack explosion, your time is best kept jumping and working on creating force then getting stronger. On the flip side, springy athletes or dbacks who may already have some spring should head to the weight room and add strength, working on jumping won’t have nearly the same impact your you as getting your deadlift or squat to improve.
There are so many different tests to prepare for at a combine, on top of the few that also have athletes running routes, or doing one on ones in some other capacity. The best advice all of the coaches at Superior Athletics can give you is be ready! That seems simple, but if you haven’t run a sprint, or practiced the 5/10/5 it is going to be hard to show your best self at the combine.
Put the work in and be ready!
For those interested, Superior Athletics will be hosting a combine prep program starting March 13th. If you are interested, head over to our page to find out more.