Its that time of year when those followers of the NFL, professional American Football in the US, turn their eyes towards the upcoming season, and with it the changes that their team will make to mount their 2016 challenge for one of all sports ultimate accolades – the Super Bowl. The main route into professional sport in the USA is through the Draft System having played the sport within the College system. NFL teams take turns in picking the best talent from the thousands of draft eligible College players – the team that finishes with the sorst position in the League gets the first pick of the subsequent NFL Draft which in theory enables them to choose the best player in the Draft for their team (it’s quite a clever way of trying to level the playing field between all of the team franchises that comprise the League).

There is a plethora of information available to teams on the players coming into the NFL Draft each year. For a start there will be hour upon hour of game footage so that a team can assess whether looks as though they will able to do the things required as part of the broader team strategy. Scouts for professional teams spend years watching every aspect of a prospects match play, training and lifestyle – no stone is left unturned in finding a ‘best fit’ player to fill a teams need. One of the most anticipated aspects of the Draft process in the NFL Scouting Combine – a series of physical assessments taking place over several days that rank players by position on their ‘tools’ – their ability to run, jump, catch, and change direction. Every year some of the worlds most talented athletes come together and compete in something akin to an NFL Olympics. Anyone interested in athletic performance should take a look because the feats are always impressive. Many of the tests are questionable as they’ve been in place for years, but their relevance to the actual game is now tenous. There are certainly plenty of reasons to question the value of seeing a Quarter Back Bench Press 100kg as many times as possible! If you put this question to the testers and scouts involved they will acknowledge such a lack of relevance but counter argue that it does provie an insight into a players attitude and commitment to the gym.

One fitness test that is widely aniticpated each year and is firmly set in the schedule is the 40 yard dash. There’s no questionaing the value of speed in the NFL, like many team sports – speed kills. Some of the most impressive speedsters in the world have graced the 40 yard dash at the Combine. For the proceedings in 2016 the importance of speed was raised further by the news that Adidas were offering a $1 million prize for any athlete who could break the existing record of 4.24s, set in 2008 by now retired Chris Johnson.

This article was written by personal fitness trainer Nathan Kelly – find on Google+