Let’s say there is a five star QB recruit and he has a ton of potential. As a scout should I stop watching your tape and get into other scouting criterium, or should I delve into the tape JUST a little bit more? In my opinion there is one glaring weakness in scouting criteriums at all levels: most scouts do not take into account what I call the Flinch Test. This will separate actual 5 star recruits from on the surface ones…
The definition of flinching is “making a quick, nervous movement of the face or body as an instinctive reaction to fear or pain” (Websters, thank you very much).
So in essence, when you flinch…you do not thoroughly do what you intended, due to unintended reactions. When you flinch the ball is not delivered as accurately and does not have that zip you need.
Here is an example of a NFL QB failing the flinch test for a play (usually if it happens once, happens all the time)…
Blaine Gabbert cocks his arm back to throw, and as he is going through his throwing progression he is simultaneously nailed by a defender. As this happens Gabbert tenses up, closes his eyes, and delivers the ball with hesitation. This causes the ball velocity to go down, flutter, and a defender has more time to break on the ball and comes up with an interception.
Now Ladies and Gents that is a situation that has happened to Blaine Gabbert way too many times throughout his bad NFL career, because Blaine Gabbert terrible fails the Flinch Test. I correctly predicted this about Blaine Gabbert before he entered the NFL draft. I was watching film of Gabbert at Missouri and saw that yes he did have a very good arm, but it wasn’t very good when he was getting hit or pressured. He was getting so tense under duress that it caused his footballs to do unintended things. At that point I told myself wow…someone is going to draft this kid high, and be very disappointed. They will fall in love with his arm, and not look at this glaring weakness. Too bad the Jacksonville Jaguars picked Gabbert 10th overall in the 2011 NFL draft and paid him millions of dollars..
Mark Sanchez is another example of someone who FAILS the Flinch Test. Not only do I know this from being a huge Jets fan but just look at his eyes below? Closed! Remember what your coach said in baseball? Never close your eyes when swinging…always eyes on the ball. Same for football Marky. Don’t get too nervous.
Now delivering a football without any hesitation regardless of a defense’s presence and/or pressure – is the toughest thing for a QB to do well. However, if you have can pull it off and have that fearlessness about you, and not flinch… you have a much higher chance of being successful. The best always play the position as if they are throwing a 7 on 7 (Rodgers, Brees, Brady etc…). Does not matter if they are getting hit by a defender, they MAKE SURE that ball gets to the intended receiver as intended, AND ALWAYS KEEP THEIR EYES OPEN!
Now my favorite example of a non flinching QB is hands down Aaron Rodgers. I remember watching a Packers preseason game replay of Aaron Rodgers (in slow motion) and as he was getting absolutely decleated by a defender…Aaron did not flinch even the slightest amount, and SHOCKER the ball was delivered perfectly. I have no idea how he did it, but he did. I then told myself….heck if this guy can make PERFECT THROWS while getting absolutely de-cleated, then there is nothing he can’t do with a football.
Not only does the flinch test apply to QBs, but any position in football and sports. If you are hesitating and tense when the defense is either on your back or pressuring you …. it will lessen your game.
AN EXAMPLE OF SOMEONE WHO TERRIBLY FAILS THE FLINCH TEST!!!!
#USC breeds em to flinch!
Update: Of course Tebow passes the flinch test. Who do you think he is…Mark Sanchez?