Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Bench Press and Michael Adams

When I was a head footbasll coach many years ago, the bench press was considered one of the "red badges of courage" for a football player on the high school level. That is, his strength was associated the amount of weight that he could bench. For me, I always felt bad for the guy with long arms. On the other hand, the short-armed guy could rep and rep. Some coaches even made players begin the lift with the bar near his chest. That made no sense to me, and, honestly, still makes no sense to me.

Reading about OSU's Michael Adams' 16 reps@225 at the Pro Combine, I read where some people were really concerned about his few amount of reps. Last Friday at OSU's Pro Day, he did 21 reps@225. Some people were still concerned. For those of you familiar with Adams, he is tall and long. Really athletic and uses his feet well. He has a good punch and plays with power. Thank goodness, some scouts realize the same thing. If Adams can get all of his ducks in a row, despite the bench press, he should represent himself well in the Pro Draft.

A few years ago, and I forget the defensive end's name, Ohio State had a player set the bench press record. He was not drafted and never made it through an NFL summer camp. I am not being critical of him, but showing that the "bench' is not that great of a predictor of a player's ability to be a solid football player at any level.

With the spread offenses, players must be able to move their feet. Simply, they have to able to run and change direction. More than just the ability to run, somewhow young players must devlop a "burst." Of course, that is on both sides of the ball. The name of the game is speed. Few high school teams run double tights with a wing anymore.

Speed and a burst is essential, and strong chest muscles help improve speed. Doing the bench press will help develop chest muscles. but try not get caught up in the number of reps a player can bench. Make sure that he can run, change direction, and have a burst. Let the football media make an issue with the bench press. It gives them something to write.

As for Michael Adams, he will be okay. As for the those long, tall offensive high school linemen, keep working on your bench strength, but keep those feet moving and the hips getting stronger and more flexible. Ask recent O-Sate committ, Taylor Decker

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