If a 225 pound football player, with a 40-inch vertical, is traveling at 4.75 seconds per 40 yards, how long will it take him to get from Point A to Point B?
While this question may not appear on the Wonderlic test, there are 50 problems that every participant has to attempt during their week-long NFL Combine stay in Indianapolis. Athletic & Personal Development program's Head of Mental Conditioning, Dr. Angus Mugford, has been helping NFL prospects at IMG Academy' prepare for possible testing they may encounter for the past two months. Florida Today recently wrote an article about the importance of performing well on the Wonderlic, and what Mugford is doing to help. From the Florida Today article:
Wonderlic an intimidating test at NFL Combine
by David Jones
BRADENTON â Dr. Angus Mungford is one of dozens of experts nationwide who spent the past few months trying to help potential high NFL Draft picks prepare for the test many fear most.
"For players going through this process, the 40 (yard dash), the vertical (jump), those are things they are familiar with, it's easy to measure," Mungford said. "Around this time of year, there are always stories and talk about the Wonderlic and that's frightening, I think, to a lot of guys. Especially if they don't feel confident or aren't strong in the classroom compared to the way they feel out on the field. So it can be very intimidating."
The Wonderlic has baffled even NFL teams for years. It's a series of 50 questions that must be answered in 12 minutes. Score high and no one usually hears much about. But do a poor job and it's easy to get branded as maybe not smart enough to be successful in the NFL. That's especially been the label placed on some quarterbacks, like Vince Young (who scored a 16) and Michael Vick (a 20, which is about the NFL average). Twenty-four is believed to be an average score for NFL QBs. Harvard graduate Pat McInally scored the first known perfect 50 on the test.
"Some teams feel very strong about it while others are ambivalent," said Mungford, who works at IMG Academy and works with athletes getting ready for the NFL Combine and draft. "They are never going to look just at that. But the biggest thing, I think, is when there are extremes. The NFL is all about red flags. It's kind of like a presidential campaign or something that they are trying to find where are the potential risk factors or problems."
The Wonderlic, feels Mungford, is actually very flawed.
"The thing is, it doesn't catch your learning style. It's a paper and pencil test just like the IQ that tries to predict your academic success," he said. "Actually, some researchers are saying it's not a great predictor of success in the NFL. It's controversial in its use in the NFL for sure. But if a guy has real problems on that, then it certainly is a flag to suggest that there is something else going on."
Niles Paul of Nebraska, a likely second or third round selection in the draft, learned quickly to listen to his testing coaches.
"When I first took it, I thought it was one of the easiest tests to take," Paul said recently with a sheepish grin.
But the Cornhuskers' wide receiver actually scored just a 19 when he took a practice Wonderlic test -- which isn't considered that great.
"I only did 25 (of the questions)," he said. "I took my time, that's where I messed up, instead of going through and knocking it out. I should just have gone through and answered all the ones I knew (quickly) instead of taking my time with each question. . . . You take your time on it, you'd only answer 15 questions in 12 minutes."
Paul said he "stinks" in math.
"It was simple math questions but you think they are more complex than what they are," he said.
Mungford has a doctorate in sports studies and sport psychology and hails from England. He actually isn't an expert on football. But his role is helping athletes prepare mentally for the NFL combine, as an employee at IMG Academy.
Going through the process, he said, is very different than what most expect.
"There aren't 100,000 people in the stands, there are about 200, 300 GMs and coaches watching them in an incredibly quiet stadium where they know that performance is going to result in big decisions, life changing decisions being made," Mungford said. "So helping them get prepared, rather than for football, it's more like getting prepared for a track meet."
While the Wonderlic gets a lot of attention, especially when an athlete scores low, there are actually many other tests players have to take in Indianapolis.
"They will have a lot of paper and pencil tests," Mungford said. "So we want to understand their learning styles and then help them be comfortable and be ready to be tired. I think last year some of the guys did the Wonderlic at 6 a.m. They have to be confident and comfortable knowing they are going into a classroom environment and understanding why they are being asked these kinds of questions.
"The whole event itself . . . there's no question that for three and a half days they are put under pressure like very few job interviews. In some respects, the Navy Seals, they have their hell week to see who can survive through the end of the week. This is almost like the NFL's equivalent of the Navy SEALS hell week, to really see who can deal with the schedule, the pressure and performing under those kinds of expectations."