Thursday, June 14, 2012

Practice, Practice, and Practice Testing and Agility Drills

Last night ended 2 and 1/2 days of watching "satellite camps" directed by some Mid American schools. Spent most of the time in Northeastern Ohio. The camps were well organized and the coaches did an excellent job of directing drills and coaching individual positions. Toledo, Bowling Green, and Kent State were the colleges involved.

For me it, attending these camps and evaluating the talent is what I do. I also talk with some of the younger campers, when there is a break time. Comments are usually encouraging them to work hard and good luck this fall. I learn about a prospect's character at times.

Here is the major suggestion that I would leave a camper, a parent, or the high school coach. If I was really sure that I wanted to play college football, I would do specific combine drills and some other football related drills over and over and over. I am talking from my freshman year until the beginning of my senior year.

Strength training is really important for the development of young football players. Sometimes, too much emphasis is put on power lifting. Bench pressing is important, but for my camps, we use the power ball, or the old term medicine ball. Burst, extension, and strength are measured. Learn the basic rules of the power ball. Practice throwing it every week.

Players should run forties as often as they can. More important than running a true 40, is to practice the start over and over and over. Learn the correct start. Learn running form. Linemen do not get discouraged about your times. I never wanted a linemen running 40 yards on one play, because he was either going to clip or hold. But OL/DL guys you do need to work on the start and get the first 10 yards down.Skilled guys - learn running tech.

Do some form of the vertical and the broad jump every week. Learn the technique. Learn how to "stick it." Learn how to reach on the vertical.

The Pro Shuttle is used in every combine and almost every college football camp. Learn the actual first steps that you take and develop a burst. Learn how to touch the lines without sliding. Learn to finish hard.

Some colleges time the L-cone, or three cone and some do not. But almost college football camps use it as an evaluating tool. The L-cone tests change of direction and burst. Not a hard drill to learn, but do the little things to be good.

Ohio State first introduced me to the Star Drill. Four cones to form a square and are about 5 yards apart. Put a cone in the middle. A player can shuffle or run in this drill. You have to touch the middle cone everytime. Big on burst and hip turn.

Any change of direction or quick feet drills are really important. Use ropes or bags. At times, this may be one of the tougher agility drills to do. Quick feet are essential in today's game.

As I look back on camps and watch how the college coaches evaluate, quickness and change of direction are really important. They, obviously, evaluate how well a player does at his postion drills. With recruiting being and earlier and earlier every year and "offers" going out like candy, what a player does in summer football camps is huge. Look at all of the offers out there and nobody has played his senior year.

 The "Pro-Days" that I attend all do the same drills that I have mentioned. Just think how good you might be, if you really worked hard on the test beginning your freshman year.

With so many high school football players getting early offers learn the test. I am not promoting combines, as much as that's how colleges evaluate. Test well early in the recruiting process and get some looks. Repetition, just like in the classroom, makes everyone better. Practice the evaluation tests.

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