@ John- I agree 100% .. The 225 or 185 rep test has no correlation to football abilities.
I think it'd be more applicable to a sport like wrestling or even swimming (but still not a good indicator for these sports).
Thankfully some of the h.s. combines Ive seen lately are dropping the bench press and instead measuring total distance of a kneeling medicine ball chest pass or overhead throws.
I didn't say it made sense, I just said we do those tests because we like to make comparisons.
The NFL has a pretty significant battery of tests: the 40, rep bench, VJ, COD drills, the wonderlic, interviews, position specific drills, and medical tests. They also have 3-4 years of college game tape. Most GM's are on record as putting more stock in game tape, interviews, medical test, and position specific drills than the physical performance tests. Some players also opt out of certain tests.
I don't think its that big of a deal if a pro prospect spends 6-8 weeks spending some extra time training for combine specific drills. Most combine prep program are still comprehensive and if there was an outside chance that a tenth of a second or a few extra reps could earn me thousand or millions more dollars you better believe I'd be bench pressing.
As exercise scientists should we attempt to forward the field, yes. There has been some outstanding research out of Australia that shows reactive agility drills are much stronger predictors of playing ability in sports like rugby, Aussie rules football, soccer, and handball than pre-planned change of direction drills (i.e the pro agility). But to get pro and college coaches to adopt these drills you are working agaist 40+ years of culture.
Guys you have started a discussion that we have been debating for years.
1-the 40 is NOT a true test of speed, its a test of acceleration, which we all know is crucial for football
2-Im sure we all know the big guys play within the 10-20 range (which I know Nfl scouts look at mostly instead of the whole thing) but there are some who put alot of stock in the whole thing.
Josh, your right about the high school combines. They are using the med ball throws instead of bench.
Jason, please dont get me started on the combine prep programs. Lets just say lots of Nfl scouts and Track coaches HATE them, I mean HATE THEM.
You have some great thoughts. I am curious as to why NFL scouts HATE combine prep programs, and I would also like to hear more about why track coaches would even care, let alone HATE combine prep programs.
MONEY! Alot of them have never even seen much less looked at a football field or a track. Alot of them are what you call LABATORY TRAINERS. I've spoken to a few of them an all of them are certified BUT, there's a huge difference between doing it and reading about it.
Track coaches dont like them because they teach the WRONG technique period. Anybody who pulls out a bunch of SPEED TOYS usually has no idea what real speed is. For example: Agility Ladders, Parachutes, Bungee cords, etc. None of those things work. I promise you will never see a REAL speed/track coach pull out any of those things. I ran track at a high level (olympic development travel squad), my buddy is a 2 time national champ (110 hurdles) and we never saw any of those things. OK point blank there basically useless. You will never see any of these things used by national or olympic champions.
Man I told you dont get me started on them-LOL.
But in a nutshell most of them are after YOUR MONEY!
I agree with the other posts - for a test to be truly useful, there should be a correlation between the testscore and the ability to practice or/and compete in the given sport.
While there might be some correlation between the tests you mention and the ability to play football, I think we can create tests with greater carryover.
1. Sprint tests - include change of direction and possible turns and jumps to simulate playing situation.
2. Pressing - should be done standing, if the player has a weak core, me might have a good bench, but would not be able to replicate that strength standing. One possibility that comes to mind is a hammer strength machine - not sure about the exact name, but I believe that it is designed for football. Another option might be timed sprints (5-10 secs) while pushing a prowler loadad with 120 % of the average weight of a player.
Personally, I would choose to test movements that temporally and spatially are closer to the sport over tests that we might have tons of data on.
Those where just a few thoughts :-)
1: For some football players the 40yd dash test is a test of accel/top speed, some of these guys reach top speed at 20-35yds.
2: 225 is a submax load for most of these guys and we all know submax loads equal less chance of getting injured. I think the 225 is probably the safest/quickest way to measure general upper body pressing strength, unless they performed a 3-5rep max test. I love the MB throws but they are similar to the SLJ and SVJ (measuring explosive power).