TRAINING FOR THE NFL COMBINE
A prospect’s performance at the NFL Combine can make or break a career. Outstanding combine results produce dollars, and lots of them, in the end. That’s why training for the annual event has become so important over the last decade.
What is the NFL Combine?
The combine is an annual event held in Indianapolis each February. Approximately 300 or so prospects attend by invitation only. All 32 NFL teams send representatives to watch, meet, and interview potential draftees. The NFL Combine is held over a period of a few days and prospects are put through a series of mental and physical tests.
The physical testing includes the 40-yard dash, the vertical jump, broad jump, pro shuttle run, 3-cone drill, and a strength test that involves bench pressing 225 pounds as many times as possible. A prospect’s results are usually reflected in where he is drafted, if at all.
How Prospects Train for the Combine
Because of the importance of the combine these days, many prospects will hire trainers who work specifically with athletes preparing for the NFL Draft. The typical trainee will work four to six days a week on the skills needed to perform well at the combine.
A typical training day would include agility work specific to the combine drills. Prospects work on quick starts and change of direction to prepare for drills like the 40-yard dash, the 3-cone drill, and the pro shuttle run. Athletes will also work on position specific drills. For example, quarterbacks will work on throwing certain pass routes while wide receivers will work on running pass patterns and catching the football.
Prospects will also follow a strength training routine that will work on both upper and lower body movements. Players bench press and squat, for example, as well as train in the Olympic movements like the power clean, snatch, and more. Trainers work with prospects to translate strength gains into explosiveness and, ultimately, better performances at the combine.
Training also includes mental work as well. Prospects work on interviewing skills and watch a lot of film to prepare for questions from coaches and other staff members.
The NFL issues all of the gear that players use for the combine including shirts, shorts, sweats, shoes, and more. In training for any combine, one of the things an athlete can do is to have a great pair of cleats. There are several great shoes on the market including the Adidas Freak X Carbon in a low-cut or mid-cut. The Adidas Freak X Carbon was the shoe issued by the NFL Combine in 2018.
Nike makes a number of football cleats like the Vapor Untouchable and Alpha Menace and Under Armour has the Renegade RM and Highlight MC, both of which are high top shoes. UA also makes a few low-cut models. The important thing to remember is that the shoe is lightweight, has a molded sole, and fits comfortably for optimal performance at the combine.