Last year, local coach Kevin Orcutt found himself in need of an accurate measuring and timing system for his athletes during performance drills and tests conducted at Hawks Academy in Rockland. His handheld stopwatch was not accurate enough, so he began looking for the best in timing systems, which led him to discussions with Mike Weinstein of Zybek Sports.
“It’s always important to have measurables and goals for my club athletes,” says Orcutt. “I bought [Zybek’s] laser timing system for the 40-yard dash and continued to be in touch with Mike over several weeks about his products and his concept of measurable tests, known as the SAT or Standardized Athletic Test. Mike has used his laser timing systems to perform the timing at the NFL Combine for the past 10 years and he also times athletes at the Olympic Training Center.”
The SAT is a combination of athletic performance evaluations comprised of the 40-yard dash, the 5-10-5 L drill, broad jump and vertical jump, plus body measurements of reach, wing span, hand size, height and weight. The power pushup is also measured on the force plate.
“Once the SAT information is gathered on the athlete, it’s transmitted to a database owned by Zybek Sports,” Orcutt explains. “The database is comprised of well over 100,000 athletes of all ages. The ability to compare yourself nationally with like athletes under an accurate timing system seemed like something special that athletes in the Boston area could truly benefit from.”
Through his many discussions and meetings with Weinstein, Orcutt became a true believer in the importance of accuracy in the timing of these tests. Weinstein was interested in having a test center here in the Northeast, and the two decided to enter into a partnership, which resulted in the creation of the HardKore Testing Center in Rockland.
“What makes HardKore different is the accuracy of our timing systems, combined with the huge database that allows for comparisons among peer athletes,” says Orcutt. “Additionally, customer service and reporting formats provided by Zybek Sports are incredibly detailed and informative.”
The reporting system that Zybek Sports has developed offers performance parameters for differing levels of performance (i.e., the top 10 percent in the nation to average levels). Zybek also allows GIFs to be produced at each test. “This allows the athlete to examine their form and body position at differing test points.”
HardKore uses Zybek laser equipment to provide the most accurate athletic testing scores possible. These scores can be used for a student athlete’s own knowledge, to use within a certain group or team, or analyzed against an international database second to none to access where he or she stands.
HardKore does not endorse any one training company, and offers various packages, including base scores, comparison group scores, and the full SAT with the ability to do video with still frames to break down the athlete’s form.
“We offer [SAT] combine testing for individuals as well as teams and various comparison reports depicting detailed analysis for those testing,” says Orcutt. “We do have strength and speed personal training professionals employed at HardKore to train and develop athletes to meet testing benchmarks. We also have the ability to report excellent scores to the powers to be to notify them. Case in point: In Louisiana, a young man was timed at 4.36 in the 40. Schools were notified – hours later major schools were calling him.”
Ultimately, Orcutt’s vision is to run competitive events at Hawks Academy that bring college, high school, and youth teams from all over the state to compete against themselves and each other in these SAT combine-type events. HardKore 100 would offer an invitational combine competition for elite local high school athletes.
“I see HardKore as a trusted resource running small events here at the academy as well as running girls and boys events at all levels in bigger events. I have been part of a few down in Texas to date,” he notes, including the All-American Combines with the U.S .Army, where more than 800 participants were tested each time.
The most challenging aspect of this business, he says, has been getting the word out to coaches and athletes on the South Shore. “Most football athletes are committed between August and November. This was the same timeframe as our launch. This is for all sports and males and females.”
HardKore employs two office staffers to run Hawks’ lacrosse and HardKore, and from 10 to 15 coaches for lacrosse and speed and strength. The HardKore team has been trained by Mike Weinstein and his staff on the intricacies of the testing equipment as well as the test standards employed at the NFL Combine. They currently serve the South Shore and the Cape with its lacrosse business, Orcutt says, “But we would love to expand the SAT testing business to the all of the Northeast.”
The goal here, he says, will be to get into schools and help promote physical fitness with such events. “We want to do this this in the most positive of manners and be totally inclusive.”
“People should look to do business with us because we feel that the athlete will only benefit from knowing their accurate test results and setting ultimate goals for themselves that are then re-testable in the future,” he says.
The most rewarding aspect of this work is “Helping kids see where they are now, and help see them put a plan together on going after their dreams while having fun doing it.”