40 YARD DASH

Tip: When coming out of the starting blocks, keep your chin down to avoid rising up too quickly.  If you stand up too fast, you will limit the power of your leg drive.  Aim to stay low for the first 15 to 20 yards of the sprint.

"The 40" is widely considered the most important drill at the combine and if you're like most high school footballer players, you've probably worked on your blocking, tackling or catching, but not your ability to run in a straight line, unobstructed.  So a little 40-specific training can go a long way.  By improving your mechanics, flexibility and sprinting strength, you can realize a significant improvement in your time.

3-CONE DRILL (L-DRILL)

The 3-Cone Drill, or "L-Drill," tests agility, acceleration and speed.  The drill gets its name from its set-up: three cones positioned five yards apart in the shape of an "L."  Starting at one cone, you sprint straight ahead to the second cone, then quickly reverse direction and run back to the starting cone.  Next, you sprint again to the second cone, hang a hard right turn and speed to the third cone, which you loop around from the inside out, then retrace your steps back around the second cone to the starting cone.

Tip: To prepare yourself for this test, work on change-of-direction drills.   Focus on staying low out of the breaks and improving your ability to accelerate quickly and precisely.  Finish every drill at full speed, as every tenth of a second counts.

PRO AGILITY DRILL

the Pro Agility Drill places two cones 10 yards apart with a third in the middle at five yards. You start at the middle cone in a three-point stance.  When the whistle blows, run five yards to an end cone, touch it with your hand, then change direction and sprint 10 yards and touch the opposite cone.  To finish, change course yet again and dash back past the starting point.

Tip: Practice this drill long before the combine, and when you do, have a partner film you running through the cones.  You will be able to see exactly where you need to improve your skills. Do you turn left faster than you turn right? Are you standing too upright, costing you valuable time when you reach down to touch the cones? Reviewing the tape, you'll confront your performance head-on and know precisely what to do to get better.

KNEELING POWERBALL TOSS

Athletes kneel on the ground, then are asked to raise weighted ball over their head. The athlete then must propel the ball forward while thrusting outward, landing in a push-up position. The farther the ball travels, the better the score.  It is a measure of a player’s ability to coordinate their body to deliver maximum power.

Tip:  Don’t lean back.  Begin the toss like you’re sitting in a chair and let that power explode through your hips and move throughout the rest of your body.

VERTICAL JUMP

Jumping for height measures an athlete's ability to generate power with his legs, an important gauge of lower-body strength.  The drill is deceptively simple. You stand flatfooted, slightly in front of a vertical jump pole, with one arm extended directly above his head.  Without taking a step, you then jump as high as you can, reaching for the highest possible measuring flag.

Tip:  Ground-based lifts like the Power Clean and Snatch, along with Box Jumps, can help improve foot-to-ground power.

STANDING BROAD JUMP

This is another test of a player's power output from a standstill position, only in this drill performance is measured horizontally rather than vertically.  You toe a line, crouch down and then leap forward as far as you can.  Distance is measured from the starting line to the heel of your rear landing foot, so aim to land evenly on both legs and avoid having one foot trail behind.

Tip:  Horizontal plyometric training - as with Sled Pushes, Bounding and Dynamic Broad Jumps - help build the specific strength this test measures.  But nothing prepares you for this drill like practicing the drill itself, so incorporate the Standing Broad Jump into your weekly training sessions.

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