Tuesday, February 18, 2014

NIKE Combine is a Start

       Last Saturday, I spent four hours standing in one spot at the NIKE Combine in Massillon, Ohio. Not because of laziness or injury, but because NIKE does a really good job of not letting anyone not involved in the combine to get near the competitors. There were some recruiting reporters nearer the testing, but that means nothing to me.
      Building relationships is a serious part of what I do. Relationships between parents and me, relationships between players and me, and relationships between the high school coach and me. I do not call recruits to see how college visits went, or to get insight about their choice of colleges, or to beg to be the first to know what college they have chosen.
      I like to get to know a recruit, just in case he has questions that his high school coach cannot answer. Much the same way with parents, but they  sometimes do not involve the high school coach.
     At Massillon, I stood at the exit for four hours to see recruits as they left the testing site. This is always a good place to talk with parents. Also nice, because I do not bother the NIKE people and they do not bother me. Plus, I am not in their league.
      The NIKE people have the system down. They are well organized and run players through the testing really well. Everything is computerized. The players get a well informed card at the end of testing to take home with them.
      Everybody is tied in with each other. A guy who works with the National College Scouting Association told me that NCSA is necessary in today's world. Of course, I disagree, but no big deal. Paying large sums of money to "get your name out there," is silly to me. Student Sports is involved in a huge way. Marketing is amazing. I heard that Football University is connected. Also the National Underclassman Combine.
      Speaking of silly, I talked a lady who traveled from Philadelphia, PA, a family who traveled from Wisconsin, one from Kentucky, and the list goes on. I asked them why they came so far. "Exposure." I a player needs to travel across states to get exposure, I question what his coach is doing to help him. What concerns me some is the fact some of the players who travel will struggle to make D-2 football. But it is none of my business. A player (2015) from Maryland did really well. One of the top SPARQ scores. Measured 5'7-153. Better be special.
      The NIKE Combine would be the one that I would suggest football players attend. More so, if a player is a freshman or sophomore, I think that I would go. Get the experience. Learn the system. The numbers that you put up as a 9th or 10th grader will not hurt you. Colleges also realize that a player will grow taller and gain weight. Some of the recruiting experts disagree, but colleges realize that a player is young and that it was February 15. Get the experience.
      The SPARQ score is a nice way to measure overall ability. You can run a slow time, but do well in the power ball to balance that slow time. SPARQ scores show a winner and a ranking. Players feel a need to win something. Marketing has made it a well known way to test.
      Finally, as I tell the players who come to my combines. Regardless of scores and tests and measurement results, football is still played in pads. To get a scholarship , players still have to execute on the field. Times and measurements are nice, but players still have to tackle, run, catch and block.
     The NIKE Combine is nice.

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