What the NFL Combine Can Teach Golfers
Yesterday at GLT Golf, we looked at what golf coaches could learn from the NFL Combine. Today, we’ll keep it going by examining what the NFL Combine can teach golf players.
In case you didn’t read yesterday’s article (we’ll forgive you this time, let’s not make a habit of it,) the NFL Scouting Combine is designed to allow NFL coaches, scouts and doctors the opportunity to see first hand how prospective players perform across a series of events.
These events include the 40-yard dash, bench press, vertical jump, broad jump, 3 cone drill and shuttle run. The problem solving and critical thinking skills of the players are also tested through the administration of the Wonderlic exam.
Enough with the recap, let’s get to the point: what can golfers learn from the NFL combine? Plenty, that’s what.
Without looking at specific drills, the primary thing golfers can learn from the NFL combine is that the performance during any particular challenge doesn’t mean nearly as much to those evaluating talent as what the challenges represent. Coaches don’t see that a player has completed 25 reps during the bench press challenge, coaches see how much time a player has committed to the weight room. Coaches don’t see the number of seconds on the stopwatch during the 3 cone drill, they see a player’s ability to adapt. Don’t misunderstand, coaches do care about performance, but are more interested in a player as a whole.
Think about it. In 2018, with video and data widely available and immediately at anyone’s disposal, why is the NFL Combine even necessary? Eliminating the notion that it’s just another way for the NFL to cash in, why would teams send multiple people across the country to see something that could easily be found by asking Siri? To put it simply, they’re looking for things that can’t be seen on film.
The breakout star of the 2018 NFL Combine was Shaquem Grffin. Griffin weighs 213 and barely stands over 6 feet tall, middle of the road stats for a linebacker. However, as a Redshirt Junior in 2017, Griffin led his University of Central Florida Knights to a 13-0 season, picking up All-Conference First Team honors and being named the AAC Defensive Player of the Year on the way to a Defensive MVP performance in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. Oh, and he did it all with just one hand.
In the days leading to the Combine, many pundits were wondering if Griffin would complete a single rep during the bench press drill. He did 20. Then, he ran the 40 in 4.38, the fastest any linebacker has been clocked at the event in over a decade.
We’ll have to wait until April to see how high Griffin is drafted, but with his performance at the Combine, Griffin displayed exactly what NFL coaches and scouts are looking for in players. Losing a hand at just 4 years old forced him to learn to adapt; however, the only thing forcing Griffin to continue to strive for greatness, to use his circumstances as a motivational tool rather than a hinderance, is his desire to help others see the same in their own circumstances.
What can golfers learn from the NFL Combine? The ability to adapt to the conditions in and around the course is what separates good golfers from the greats. At the risk of sounding overly poetic, the lie of the ball doesn’t matter, it’s what you do with the shot you’re given that makes you elite.
“If I can inspire one and they can inspire another, soon we’ll inspire a thousand.” – Shaquem Griffin