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Power Athlete, 2nd Ed. - Part 3: Football Combines.

Combines are a series of tests used by many coaches to evaluate current ability, and future potential as a football player. Learn about this test and why technique is so important.

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Even more specifically, you should start thinking about getting ready for combines and camps. Yes, that's right, combines! High school preparatory combines are arranged for up and coming juniors and seniors every spring and summer.

For those of you who don't know, combines are a series of tests that are used by many coaches to evaluate current ability and future potential as a football player. Then there is the SPARQ RATING, which measures Dynamic Athletic Performance.

The fixed tests used at SPARQ/Nike Football combines are:

Apart from height and weight, all the skills that will be tested can be improved under the tutelage of a knowledgeable SPARQ Certified Coach who will implement hours of specific exercises. Perfecting your technique is our main goal here, and trust me when I tell you, as a coach I know you do not know what you are doing nor have you been taught right to perform at maximum levels.

For example, your 40-yard dash time can improve by just adjusting your starting stance and running form. Working your techniques for strength tests are an imperative goal for all football players. You are not a bodybuilder nor will a 'personal trainer' be able to show you proper lifting technique needed to maximize your performance on the field.

Maximize Your Performance On The Field.
Maximize your performance on the field.

A True Story

I'm the football strength coach for a university and we have a recruit come to visit. I ask him if he'd like to workout with the team - "No, my personal trainer told me not to do any workout...", was this recruits reply. Now, I'm looking at him with disbelief that he uttered those words to me.

I tell him; "You are coming here to play football right? Don't ever tell your personal trainer said for you not to workout." It gets better. The linemen have just finished doing parallel squats and now they are jumping over benches, jumping with both feet, sideways and on each foot.

I look over at the recruit and his eyes are wide opened. I again ask a question. "What's wrong?"

He then tells me he's never seen big guys do that. I ask if he does this type of plyometrics. "No!", is his reply.

I dig deeper. "What actually does your PT have you do?"

"Well, we do machine bench press, squat out of a smith machine..."

I stop him, "Wait, do you do power cleans?"

"No," was his reply, "my PT say's I don't need them."

Do you get my point? Make sure your so-called certified personal trainer knows how to get you ready for football, and for that matter, make sure you high school coach does too.

Personal Trainers:

Technique & Mechanics

Again, it is imperative that you make sure your technique and mechanics are correct in all movements. Are you at the proper position for the vertical jump? Do you have arm drive when running a 40? How do you get over that sticking point in the bench press? In addition, your rest, recovery, proper nutrition and supplementation will play a vital role as well.

You should be prepared to shine at a combine, especially if you are interested in getting a scholarship for football. So, what do you think? Shouldn't you be preparing now? What do you think you need to do to perform to the best of your abilities at a combine?

Just Finished A Combine. Just Finished A Combine.
"So I just finished my first combine. The facility also gave us a sparq rating. I was wondering how well I did compared to some of you guys." - Started By J_Cap
[ Click here to learn more. ]

Our philosophies are based on principles of specificity and repetition and many years of working hard as an under achiever myself. First off, the principle of specificity states that in order for maximal transfer of skill to occur, you must practice the specific skill exactly as it will be recalled.

Do you know how you get better at performing the Shuttle? You practice it over and over under the guidance of competent coaching. In addition, you strengthen your body's musculature through proper strength training to give you a greater capacity to produce power.

The methods and protocols we use for preparing athletes for the combines are basic. The main premise behind our training is to practice the specific skills that the athlete will be tested in. It is common knowledge in the world of motor learning that the more you practice a skill the more efficient (better) you will become at performing it.

The More You Practice A Skill The More Efficient You Will Become.
The more you practice a skill the more efficient you will become.

That's why you do the same drills out on the practice field over and over at the beginning of every season. Currently, two NCAA Division III players and one Div. II player are prepping for a series of combines that will be held over the summer. Michael is a 6-foot-1, 220-pound QB, Tyler a 6-foot-3, 230-pound QB, and Eric is a 6-foot-0, 250 pound DE. All are driven to get to the next level and go through specialized training for their individual position and testing.

For example, let's look at the bench press. When you first start out on the free weight bench press you lack coordination, stability, and strength to perform it at maximum efficiency. However, after practice, you start to become good at executing the movement. Another example, you can improve your 40-yard dash time by perfecting your starting stance and running mechanics.

Regardless of the test you are practicing for it is imperative that you make sure your technique and mechanics are correct. Perfecting your technique will make you much more efficient. In addition to practicing the specific skills of the combine, it is also important that you participate in a safe and productive strength-training program.

Make Sure Your Technique & Mechanics Are Correct.
Make sure your technique & mechanics are correct.

Also, proper rest, and the right nutrition will play a vital role as well. Combine tests consist of body measurements, strength, quickness and power tests, and position-specific drills that will demonstrate your ability in fundamental areas of your position.

Getting Ready For Combines!
[ Click here to learn more. ]
Getting Ready For Combines!
It's time for you aspiring football players to begin preparing for next season. Combines are arranged for up and coming seniors every late spring and summer.
Curtis Schultz

Sample Combines & Camps

Here are samples of combines and camps going on around somewhere near you.

Nike Football Camps:

What are they? Well, Nike football training camps are combines. This is the seventh year of the Nike football training camps. The Nike football training camps are designed to offer top caliber football players the opportunity to develop training techniques from some of the top NFL players and sports performance specialists.

The program encourages student athletes to pre-register, as campsite participation is limited. For the record, the Nike camps are also not all-star events. Most of the players are juniors, but underclassmen can come too. The camps are not invitation-only; however, players must be pre-registered in order to ensure getting a participant's jersey and be sufficiently insured for the event.

The Nike camps are open to all players desiring speed, agility and quickness training. Testing elements are offered, but are optional and results can be scratched. The focus is to promote better, more efficient training techniques, so players can increase their productivity at their positions.

Curtis Schultz and Anita Ramsey-Schultz are Official members of the SPARQ Trainer Network

Husker Camps:

Learn to train like the Huskers. Husker Power offers Performance 100, a hands-on approach to proper lifting techniques for young athletes between the ages of 8 and 15 years old and a parent (optional). This camp is held on the University of Nebraska Campus.

Athletes attending this camp will receive a training manual and instruction that will cover the following areas of basic full range-of motion lifting movements, mobility drills, and flexibility drills. Go to


Here are a few more for your combine adventures.

Also check your local college. They most likely put on summer camps. Just contact them and ask for a brochure. Combine preparation is vital to your success on and off the field, and probably even your success in signing a letter of intent with your favorite school. Or you can go to college and sit in the stands and watch your buddies play college football.

See you on the turf!

See You On The Turf!
See you on the turf!

NOTE: Any questions or if you need to replace an exercise with one already in the routine contact me for the best one to use in your individual case. If you prefer a more personalized routine by position please email me at for details.

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