Combine testing is an important part of elite football training. Good results can help high school players get recruited by top programs and college players earn the attention of pro scouts.
Although raw strength, speed and agility are definitely important for posting impressive numbers, technique is often the X-factor. Good technique can be the difference between a good performance and a great performance, just as bad technique can be the difference between subpar and solid. That's why Combine training is as much about learning proper technique as improving overall athleticism.
That's exactly the approach that TEST Football Academy takes with their Combine athletes. TEST is a football training facility located in Martinsville, New Jersey. Since 1992, TEST has been helping youth, high school, collegiate and pro football players improve their skills. Justin Hardy is one of their great success stories.
Hardy is the most prolific receiver in college football history. His 387 catches for Eastern Carolina University rank first all-time. But lots of players post insane stats in college, then fizzle out in the NFL, so Hardy needed to impress at the Combine and prove he had the athleticism needed to succeed at the next level. TEST worked with Hardy for several months to refine his skills and perfect his technique.
The end result was incredible. Hardy blew away scouts with a strong performance at the Combine. His best event was the 3-Cone Drill, an event that requires athletes to run a distance of 30 yards and change directions five times. Hardy clocked a blazing time of 6.63 seconds, the second-fastest time of any Combine athlete. He credits his strong showing in the 3-Cone Drill to his superior technique.
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"It's not all about going as fast as you can. It's about technique, I guess you could say. For me, I know I'm going to take two steps to the first line, that's 5 yards, two steps back, three steps down the line, four to the next cone, round it and sprint back through," Hardy told CBS New York back in March.
Hardy knew every single inch of the drill, and his preparation paid off with an awesome time. His Combine performance helped him get drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in the fourth round of the 2015 NFL Draft.
Watch the video above to see more of Hardy's training at TEST and his secrets to aceing the 3-Cone Drill.