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McCallister on Combine Testing


For many years, we ran developmental combines for high school football players. Last year I did not run any combines. To make it simple – I just was tired and lacked motivation to get the combines “off the ground.” Right now, I do not see any combines in the near future.

The original purpose and only purpose was to educate. I was evaluating at an Ohio State Summer Camp years ago and the campers were doing the Pro shuttle, or 5-10-5. The Ohio State GA spent no time trying to educate the campers on how to do the drill. None. No time whatsoever. Actually, campers were embarrassed. I am talking about some D1 prospects.

All I said to another OSU GA, “tell that GA to get off his dead _ _ _ and show these kids the drill.” At that point, I decided to run a combine to teach the Pro-shuttle, the broad jump, the power throw, the 40,the L-cone, and the vertical. Teaching the the test was more important than the time or measurement.

At times, we gave the players 3 or 4 chances. Again the purpose was to learn.

1) Educate – Every college camp that players go to this summer, at some time will run the same test as we did. For example, Ohio State used to do the power ball to look for explosion. Knowing how to perform each test will put less stress on the camper. NIKE does them. The NFL does them at Pro Day and at the NFL Combine. Learn at early age and practice them.

2. Get better – Self explanatory. Whether  a Power-Lifting Contest, a 7on7, a D2 Camp at Ashland, players should always use the chance to get better. Do not spend a lot of money, but if there is a chance to get better, go for it. Speed camps are out there. Private OL/DL camps are out there. QB Camps are out there. Best of the Midwest, although not everybody is the best,  is a chance to get better.

3. Compete – Anytime a player has a chance  to compete, he should do it.(Reasonable cost). See where a player rates with other players. Push to be the best. Maybe sounds silly, but as a player competes,  he should make new friends. Anytime, whether in shorts or pads, learn to compete. Finish drills. Push yourself. Compete.

Every college summer football times and measures the same tests that we taught. To me, teaching was huge. Test results were not. The older I get, I question the real value of the tests. BUT I believe that a prospect should learn the “how to.”

In the 40, the form and effort are huge. How often does a player run 40 yards straight down the field? Do they catch the ball after 40 yards? Does the corner run step for step? Offensive and defensive linemen need the 10 yard time. If a player can learn the start of the 40, he will time well.

The pro shuttle is good because of change of direction or redirect. All positions need to be able to do this drill. Problem is that it is almost never done correctly. Players do not understand how to plant to redirect. They slide. Put the wrong hand down. Don’t finish.

The vertical shows explosion and body control. To me, the first step and burst are huge. Better to use the slats, but the pad works.

The bench press sounds good but means little. I understand the premise, but players with short arms have a”reps” advantage. I like the power ball, because it tests upper body and hip explosion and body control. The core muscles are huge and the power ball tests them.

The broad jump test explosion as well. Too often – not done correctly. Bend the knees,  but do not over extend. Land on balls of feet and fall forward. Use your arms.

I really got away from the purpose of this blog. No,I am not joining forces with anti camp/combine guy, Mark Porter.

NIKE is doing the SPARQ testing again. Please do not put much value in your SPARQ score, if you are counting on the score to really open up your D1 football recruiting. Obviously, the score is another factor, but do not make it THE FACTOR in getting noticed and ranked as a D1 recruit.

Do your best, but take time to learn how to do each test. Do not get too frustrated with your tests results. Definitely not in March or April.



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