Because success in football is so heavily dependent on the athleticism of the athletes, the drills included in football tryouts are heavily focused on measuring each potential player’s athletic abilities. A comprehensive football tryout will include drills to measure speed, agility, lower-body explosiveness and sport-specific skills.
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The shuttle run measures an athlete’s agility, which is his ability to accelerate, decelerate and change directions quickly. Set out three cones in a single-file line, with each cone 5 yards apart. Have the athlete start at the center cone and then sprint 5 yards to the right to touch that cone, then change directions and sprint 10 yards to the left to touch the other cone, followed by one final change of direction, where he sprints 5 yards to the original cone. Use a stopwatch to calculate his time.
Testing Leg Power
Broad jumps are often included in football tryouts to measure each athlete’s leg power. Athletes will begin in a stable stance, lower into a quarter squat and then explode into a maximum jump, leaping as far forward as they can. Measure how far each athlete is able to jump. The vertical jump drill, which also measures explosiveness in the legs, is also used in tryouts. Have an athlete stand by a wall while holding a piece of tape or chalk. They lower into a quarter squat and then jump as high as they can, placing the tape or marking the wall with chalk at their highest point.
Grading Sprint Speed
Coaches often want to measure the speed of their potential athletes with the 40-yard dash. The 40-yard dash is simply a measure of sprint speed. Mark out a distance of 40 yards and use a stopwatch to time how long it takes the player to complete the sprint. You can also include 25-yard sprints for lineman and those players who don’t sprint long distances during the sport.
Measuring Throwing and Receiving Skills
Wide receivers, tight ends and running backs have to possess strong hands and coordination to routinely catch a football. The hands drill is often used in football tryouts to test the catching ability of players. The drill can also be used to analyze potential quarterbacks, too. Have one athlete serve as the quarterback. Have a receiver begin standing beside the quarterback, then sprint down the field 10 yards ahead and then turn back to the quarterback, who throws ball and makes sure it arrives as the receiver makes his turn. The receiver drops the ball, and then cuts 90 degrees to run across the field. The quarterback throws a second ball, which the receiver catches on the run. The receiver drops the second ball after the catch and then runs across the field in the opposite direction to catch a third ball on the run.