SportTechie April 29, 2015
he livelihood of a potential professional football player can hang in the balance of the NFL Combine. A few tenths of a second on a 40-yard-dash could send a prospect rocketing up draft boards or have their stock plummeting to the point of being undrafted. So, isn’t it vital to get the most accurate data possible?
Founded in 2008 in Boulder, Colorado, Zybek Sports supplies talent evaluation technology to various athletic programs to aid in the measurement of an athlete’s physical abilities. Zybek Sports has used its fully automated timing system at the NFL Scouting Combine for the past five years.
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The results of a players tests are available in real time, greatly cutting down on waiting time and removing any misinformation spread by unofficial times.
In an interview with SportTechie, Mike Weinstein, CEO and Founder of Zybek sports, said that need for standardized athletic testing was more important now than ever.
“At combines, everyone was using stopwatches, which are off by a few tenths of a second, so there’s an obvious need for standardized testing and timing systems,” Weinstein said.
A good 40 time at a combine can send a player shooting up NFL draft boards. For example, Central Florida wide receiver Breshad Perriman; once considered a late-first round pick in this years draft is now being mocked as a top-ten selection by some draft experts after running two sub 4.3 40-times at his pro day.
Weinstein started making his products as a hobby, but turned his interests into a business when he realized how much demand there was for reliable timing equipment.
“I kept waiting for someone to come in and just clobber us, but no one did, so we just said let’s go for it.”
Zybek Sports tours the country, working at various athletic combines and showcases, measuring up to 2,000 athletes a day in the 40-yard-dash, vertical leap, and 3-cone shuttle. After the event, the athletes are given a one-page assessment with their measurements as well as their rankings among the other people at the combine.
“Kids get a 3×5 hand written card at a combine and get told ‘good luck’,” Weinstein said. “We show the where they stack up against their competition.”
Recently, Zybek Sports timed athletes at the Army All-American Bowl; a premiere high school football all-star game in San Antonio, Texas. What Weinstein was surprised at was that many of the athletes reported 40-times that were off by tenths of seconds from the actual time.
“These kids get told they run a 4.3 by a coach doing a hand time, and they take that to heart. If they were running a 4.3, they’d be faster than the fastest NFL players.”
Zybek’s rankings are also broken down to more than just a time on a piece of paper. For example, the results for the 40-yard-dash are looked at as 10, 20, and 40-yard splits. This lets the athlete determine where he needs to improve his performance numbers, be it in his explosion and reflexes, or his top-end speed and endurance.
Zybek Sports is also developing a force plate used to measure an athlete’s explosiveness. By jumping as high as they can while standing on the platform, or by placing their hands on it and doing a single push up as powerfully as they can, the plate can determine how much force is being exerted.
“If you talk to Division I coaches, they want the athletes with explosive power. And if you look at the data, either you’re born with it, or you’re not,” Weinstein said.
The plate can also work for rehabilitation purposes and as a baseline test to see if an athlete is recovering from an injury properly.
In the future, Zybek Sports is also looking to expand their services to other sports like softball, volleyball and lacrosse.
This story was originally published by the talented Kris Rogers on Sports Techie. For more of his stories, or to visit Sports Techie for some great news and the latest in Sports Tech, please click here