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NFL Combine Training: Jeremy Maclin’s Program

Thoughts by Jim Kielbaso

This is a very interesting video series about how Jeremy Maclin of the Philadelphia Eagles trained for the NFL Combine. Obviously, you can’t show everything he did in a 7-minute video, but they show a lot of his program and how he went through it. What really got me thinking were some of the things he did and statements that were made in the video. There is no doubt that Jeremy is an amazing athlete, and it looks like he works pretty hard. A coupe of times his coaches talk about how gifted he is and that he has the ability to adapt and pick up new things better than anyone they’ve ever trained. That’s very hard to teach. In fact, I’m not even sure we can teach that to someone at that age. That’s probably stuff that needs to be addressed before an athlete is 10 years old because that’s getting at the core of motor learning and nervous system development. I would bet that Jeremy was a pretty coordinated kid growing up. I could be wrong, but based on the comments that were make, I bet he learned how to pick things up at a very early age. If that was develped in college, I’d be shocked. It’s cool to watch an athlete like that, but it’s really fun to think about how to develop that ability. I think we need to do a better job with young kids, developing their ability to follow directions, pick up new activities and engage in general coordination drills so they have to develop a very sensitive and adaptable nervous system. This can be done though all sorts of “direction following games” and playing catch with different objects while performing other movements. Maybe this trait is innate, but maybe we can help develop it.

The next thing that cought my attention was the technique they were having Jeremy use on some of the lifts. Specifically, I thought the technique on the hang clean and high pull were discussion worthy. I liked the idea of using the Tendo Unit to measure bar speed. That really seemed to motivate Maclin to move the bar quickly. I also liked that they didn’t really concentrate on the catch, which I think is dangerous. At that point in his career, the last thing he needed was to injure a wrist on a slightly missed catch, so that seemed very smart. The problem was his technique at the ground. He never fully extended his hips, and it looked like he was using his arms to move the bar, not his legs. But, that seems to be the way it was being coached.

I also noticed that his feet turn out quite a bit while running. It was reinforced during his sled pulls. They may or may not have been addressing this, and I can’t even say it should be addressed that that point. Why bother messing him up at that point? Let the NFL therapists work on that in an effort to increase his longevity, but maybe trying to make that change during his combine prep would have been inappropriate because of the timing. Maybe not. It might have helped

He said he had a goal of running a 4.29 40-yard dash, which would have been amazing. Instead, he ran a 4.43, which is still good, but not even close to the overblown expectations. I think too many kids and coaches buy into the fake times that get put out all over the internet and think they are supposed to run those times too. Breaking a 4.4 on the 40-yard dash is incredible. I’ve only seen a few guys do that in my life, and I’ve only had two do it at their pro-day. What’s crazy is that neither of those guys made an NFL team. They had the ability to run a fast 40, but the scouts didn’t like something about them. So, Jeremy may have been disappointed with a 4.43, but, if you follow the NFL, things seem to have worked out for him.

His 4.3 Pro Shuttle and 7.1 3-Cone Drill were actually way slower than I would have expected, which makes me wonder how prepared he was for those. He should have easily run below a 4.2 on the shuttle and well below 7.0 seconds on the 3-cone unless he slipped on both drills. The video made it sound like those were great times, but they weren’t, which makes me wonder about something else. I think those two drills really show a lot about athleticism, but maybe NFL scouts don’t place much importance on them. I don’t know. Some say they do. Some don’t. So, should you train for them? I think popping a great time on either one of those drills really helps a guy stand out at his pro day, so I think it’s well worth the time. Of course, a good 40 seems to trump everything, so you have to concentrate on that all the time.

Take a look at the video below. I’m interested in hearing other thoughts, so chime in below the video with your thoughts. If you haven’t registered, go to the front page and do that so you can login and post a comment. It’s completely free, so take second to do that and post your thoughts below.

0 Responses to NFL Combine Training: Jeremy Maclin’s Program

  1. trath October 18, 2010 at 8:54 pm #

    Jim,Great post, you made several valid points. I completely agree with you assessment of the clean and the most dangerous aspect being the “catch” phase. The short shuttle and 3-cone times are slow and I also was shocked that the video made them out to be good times. The tendo unit is a great tool for motivating the athlete and also allowing the coach to assess power output on several exercises.Combine prep is an extremely interesting subject because there is an incredibly large gap between philosophies and how some athletes choose to prepare compared to others. It amazes me that the 40 receives so much attention when as you said there are plenty of athletes who can run incredible times but can’t play at a high level because of a number of other variables.Lastly I whole heartedly believe that we can and need to do a better job of preparing our youth. I feel that this will not only help them athletically but we can’t overlook the obesity epidemic sweeping the United States. If physical education in schools received the same attention that we give the 40 yard dash everyone would be better off!

  2. coopatc November 18, 2010 at 3:40 pm #

    Jim,I agree with previous poster, great points.My only addition to the conversation is in regards to his running form in the 40 and sled pull training. I agree with not making wholesale changes in his form at this point. I think from ATC perspective, Maclin would be a guy that I would focus on monitoring his hip flexibility, especially into hip internal rotation. He clearly moves in a “hip-externally-rotated” position, and if he is not doing some sort of piriformis / glute / etc flexibility work that could lead into injury down the road, and thus affecting his longevity.Thanks for posting the video. Interesting stuff.

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