Fitness Testing at the AFL Draft Camp Combine
In about October each year the AFL conducts a draft combine. At the combine, prospective AFL players are put through a battery of fitness, physical and psychomotor tests under the eye of clubs looking for the next champion player. The testing draft camp was first held at Waverley Park in 1994. The testing was moved to the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra in 1999, and in 2011 moved to Etihad Stadium in Melbourne. Psychological testing was introduced to the AFL’s Draft Camp in 1997. A women's combine was added in 2017.
The following table lists all the tests that are conducted under each of the three categories, with links to descriptions of many of these tests. There is an example schedule of tests from the 2011 combine which gives an idea of how these tests are conducted over the four days of the combine. There is also a summary of AFL Draft Camp Results from the previous years, collated into an all-time top 10 list for each test. There is a video of a previous year's fitness testing at the AFL draft camp.
|Fitness||Endurance||One test of aerobic endurance is conducted at the draft camp, the yo-yo intermittent test.|
|Vertical Jump||The vertical jump test is performed to measure leg power. The test is performed from a standing position, and also a running vertical jump in which the player takes a few strides before leaping off one leg.|
|Speed||Sprint time over 20 meters with split times for the first 5 and 10 meters, with the best time recorded from three attempts.|
|Agility||The AFL Agility Test is a specific slalom-type agility test that has been developed for AFL, which involves running in and out and around obstacles over roughly 40 meters in total.|
|Physical||Height||A player's height is measured with shoes off.|
|Weight||Body mass is measured. Weight is compared to the height and skinfold measures, to look at how muscular a player is.|
|Skinfolds||Body fat is estimated using the skinfold method. (to be removed in 2021)|
The sit and reach test was once performed, it is not sure if it is still on the testing program. This test measures lower back and hamstring flexibility.
|Hand Span||The size of the hand is determined using the Hand Span Measurement.|
|Arm Length||Arm length is measured.|
|Psychomotor||Kicking Efficiency||the kicking skill efficiency skill test (added in 2009) is a test designed by Nathan Buckley to provide analysis of football kicking technique, speed of delivery, trajectory and accuracy.|
|Goal Kicking||the newly added goalkicking test (added in 2012) was developed by Western Bulldog Brad Johnson in which each player has five shots at goals - two set shots, two snap shots and one on the run.|
|Decision Making||Good decision making is an important skill for an AFL player.|
|Reaction Time||The reaction time test requires the players to hit a board as many times as they can in 30 seconds.|
|Peripheral Awareness||Peripheral awareness is the ability to be aware of and react to things that are going on around you. AFL players need to be able to be aware of what is going on around the field and to be able to react appropriately to what they see.|
|tests ability to manage pressure, make sense of confusing situations, emotional intelligence, personal strength|
|Medical||medical check, eye tests, screening, photographs|
- In 2000 a bench press strength test was conducted (and maybe in other years too)
- In 2017, the beep test and was dropped, and replaced with the yo-yo intermittent test.
- In 2017, the 3-kilometer time-trial was reduced to a 2km run.
- In 2017, the 30m Repeat Sprint test was removed (introduced in 2006). The test required players to run 30m six times, with a 20-second time cycle. e.g. if the player runs 30 meters in 4.2 seconds, he then has 15.8 seconds to recover before starting his next 30 meter sprint.
- In 2017, the ‘clean hands’ handball test was removed. The test had been added in 2010. It was devised by AIS/AFL academy assistant coach Matthew Lloyd. The test looks for players with a clean take of the ball at varying heights, quick execution of a handpass with perfect spin and reaching the target at the right height and speed.
- In 2021, the skinfold test was removed over mental health and body image concerns.
- Example schedule of tests from the 2011 combine.
- AFL Draft Camp Results from previous years.
- Draft camp all-time top 10 lists
- International AFL combines
- About the AFLW Combine
- Videos from fitness testing at the draft camp.
- Poll: fitness components for AFL
- Comparing fitness testing for Sports Combines