With the tests, etc, what would you need to look for in a powerlifting exclusive athlete. Obviously they would focus on strength, but is the speed and rate of force development exercises (reactive training) beneficial as well?
I'm thinking making the SSC more efficient would be beneficial as long as strength is maintained and focused on as well.
Definitely - you're on the right track. There are quite a few lifters who use box jumps and the like in their training. The main interfering factor for a lot of guys is body weight; they just get too heavy for the pounding. If you're 242 or below, though, I think there is a lot of merit to using them. I've subbed in box jumps and broad jumps for DE squat days when I needed to deload or just get the bar off my back for a week.
Interesting little aside...
My buddy Greg Panora was in town back in December for the Christmas holiday, so we got a lift in together. For those who don't know Greg, he's the world record holder at 242 (broke Steve Goggins' old record a few months ago - 1000+ squat, 700 bench, and 800+ deadlift). He lifts at Westside.
Greg is box squatting 495 + greens and blues for speed, and he glances over and sees the Just Jump platform and asks what it is. I tell him we use it to check vertical jump, so he wants to try it. He gets on in beat-up old briefs, Chuck Taylors, and a belt - at a weight of 250 - and jumps 35". Probably could have gone 38" with a deload and proper attire.
Anyone who says maximal strength doesn't matter for jumping and athletic ability is absolutely full of crap. :)