Agility Q. for Coach Davies


I have a quick question. Last year I attended trials for an NFLE camp where we were told that all the agility tests, such as 5 yard shuttle runs, 3-cone drills etc, would be tested on a running track with players wearing trainers despite a slippery running track. We were told this is because the NFL tests in this manner whereas I thought they would either test indoors in a gymnasium or on grass wearing cleats. I also see very differing accounts of what is a good score on this drill which I think would perhaps be down to how it is tested. For example I have heard of high school players run it at around 4 seconds dead yet Lou Tepper writes in his book “Complete Linebacking” that:

a) players straddle a 5 yd line implying a grass field (doesn’t mention footwear).
b) that Barry Remingtom of Colorado had the third best time of 4.33 at the 1985 NFL combine (less than many high school players by some standards)
c) that the best time recorded ever by one of his athletes was 4.04 by Kevin Hardy. How does an all-pro only match a high schooler??

Can you settle once and for all how NFL teams test and whether it is a leaguewide standard which differs from other levels of the game. Thank You.

I’m pretty sure the NFL tests on astroturf at Indy. Kevin Hardy’s time is amazing because he’s a 250 pound linebacker. I’ll bet alot of the high school athletes in the low 4s are 165 pound defensive backs…

First of all, the situation that happened to you at that camp was unfortunate and poor planning by the camp. Agility runs (or any 40/20) in a Combine-Test should be performed on Grass or Turf. At the NFL combine in Indy, which starts at the end of this month, the surface is turf. Please note that the Indy turf is somewhat soft with a loose feeling - this results in times that are slightly higher. Scouting departments will however get a time on other surfaces if nothing else exists. Also please note times from High Schools/Collegiate teams are notoriously inaccurate so comparison sometimes is often difficult. I have been witnessed many athletes who run “4.5’s” that somehow clock in at a 4.7 with my watch. As far as the test number of 4.33 in 1985 - you might have also found the radical change in the game and the influence of speed. I hope that helps. In faith, Coach Davies

Thank you for replying, both of you. Can I ask which would be easier: a running track, grass, or turf, as in Indy? It seems strange that you wouldn’t test on grass, which I assume would be a more specific test and probably mean faster times. In my situation virtually all the players were slipping and sliding as they changed direction. What would be the expected range of times at NCAA Div 1 and NFL level for linebackers or ends and tailbacks? Would the 40 be tested on turf too Coach, and from a mandatory 3-point stance? Thank You for your help.

Which is easier surface is immaterial as adjustments are made to compare with a high degree of accuracy. However turf is generally quicker. I would suggest you ignore comparing test numbers against the Indy Combine because there are many influencing factors that the public is not aware of. Unfortunately, I am aware of many coaches who use it as a marketing tool by saying there athletes actually performed better. The 3 point start is absolutely mandantory with your 40. So, I gather you are a TB. Are you entering the draft this year or a year out? In faith, Coach Davies

I am actually an English national so was trying for the national player positions for the Scottish Claymores of NFL Europe. I am actually an outside linebacker, albeit undersized. Due to advancing age (26 next week) and my poor level of technique (lack of coaching) I was actually thinking of playing Rugby (a game you have coached for I believe) next year since, in my experience, it is a relatively easier game, both physically and technically and better suits my best natural attributes of endurance and agility.

Well just like me know how I can help whichever sport you wish to play. As far as being an “easier” sport - I don’t know if you can really say that and I sure wish I could import some that toughness that rugby players have. I look forward to hearing from you. In faith, Coach Davies

I meant easier from a technical and hitting aspect as I appreciate it requires greater skill with regard to ball handling, endurance etc. I have gained much valuable insights from your work, even though I cannot understand the rationale, for example, 10 mins of GPP for a speed-strength sport such as football. I agree with your comments on toughness although I’ve found the reverse to be true - that Rugby players could learn toughness from football players. Do you ever work in the UK? I would be interested in attending a seminar or speaking 1 on 1.

You need to understand the many roles that GPP plays. You are quite right - if was merely a cardio-type workout, then it wouldnt be appropriate. In particular non-weighted GPP has an enormous impact on training from both the novice to the highly advanced athlete. In answer to your question thought, I am finalizing plans to be in France in the Spring or Summer so hopefully we will have the chance to talk training. In faith, Coach Davies

I would be happy to travel to France, commitments permitting. Regarding the GPP, I confess I have never done that type of continuous training before performing my regular strength workouts since no respected source in strength/sports training I know of, e.g. Siff, Simmons, Zatsiorsky, Charlie Francis, John Smith etc recommends such a protocol prior to weight training or speed work, although I could understand its use AFTER weights/sprints to facilitate recovery. Do you employ the 10 mins continuous GPP then solely to condition a player to produce high intensity performances whilst fatigued, accepting that whilst they’d do better fresh, late in the 4th quarter it’ll be handy? If so, am I correct in assuming that someone like me with good speed endurance in the 4th quarter/very mentally tough would have no need to employ the GPP and should instead focus solely on conventional speed, agility, and strength/power training? I’m sorry if the question is long but i feel this is a vital point where your methodology differs greatly from the aforementioned experts. Thank You.

Just bumping this up in case Coach missed my question.

Hopefully we can meet in Europe and it will be much easier for you to understand this concern when we discuss in person. With regards to GPP, within my training it is primarily used post agility and speed but depending upon the medium (non-weighted or weighted) it may come before or after resistance work. Duration of the work varies significantly as well as intensity levels. As I noted, I utilize GPP for many different elements. I am not quite clear of your question however I do think you were asking me if I would abandon GPP if you had good speed-endurance. Simply - no, the role of GPP is far greater than what most are employing it for. I think most are using to perform technically simple non-conforming lifts for strength endurance and possibly to assist recovery. While certainly it will do this - this is only a fraction of the benefits for training a athlete. GPP is also a area that evolves in complexity. The GPP that my athletes employ in Phase 1 (year 1) is radically simpler (from a technical perspective) than in more advanced Phases. I hope that assists you. In faith, Coach Davies

Thank You for responding. I still have questions as to why you would perform fatiguing non-weighted GPP before any type of resistance training requiring high force production since I’d assume you’d post lower numbers due to accumulated fatigue. I could ask a million questions but hopefully we will get a chance to meet later this year. Will you be listing your travel dates at Thank You in advance.

email me personally for my travel. I won’t be posting it on-line, however if possible it would be great to get together and go through your questions. In faith, Coach Davies

Coach, is there any chance of you coming to New Zealand?