This article was guest blogged by Patrick Beith, a Performance Consultant for Athletes’ Acceleration.
This is part 2. Click here for Part 1 of
This is the time of the season where I am sure that you are asked the same question over and over: ‘How do I run a faster 40?’
Here are the Top 7 Tips to be able to increase your straight ahead football speed and 40 yard time dramatically without having to run a step. The focus is on the starting position in the 40 yard dash.
Tip 5: Hip Height
Hips should be above the shoulders. The degree of height above the shoulder will affect knee and hip angles, thus affecting force application and acceleration. The higher your hips the more weight you can shift to the hands. Make sure that your hips aren’t too high or you won’t be able to support all the weight and your first step off of the starting line will be short almost ‘catching’ your body from falling. If your hips are too low, you could have too much weight back where your body can’t explode as ideally as you would like to overcome inertia. Also, you are most likely to ‘pop’ straight up on your first step, negating your acceleration phase.
Tip 6: Hand Placement
Hands should be placed about shoulder width apart to start. The hands should also be arched, so that only the fingertips are actually touching the ground. Doing this ensures that you will not place too much weight on your arms which forces your legs to move the majority of your body’s mass. The thumb and index finger are going to take on the majority of the weight. They will also run parallel with the starting line. Your quick side hand is going to be the hand that is going to be left on the ground supporting during the set position. Your power side hand will be raised off of the ground. Keep the power side arm at 90 degrees with that hand by your hip. Keeping your power side arm at 90 degrees at the starting position will enable you to come through with that arm quickly when driving out. The biggest reason to keep that arm at 90 degrees at the starting position is if your 40 yard time is being timed by a stop watch and not electronically.
If someone is manually timing your 40 yard run with a stop watch, they are going on your first movement. If your power side arm is up to 120 degrees or so, it is easier to see that arm move first and it won’t be as noticeable if it is kept at 90 degrees. So, it might be slight time saver, but as you know, every little bit helps. During your speed training sessions, practice to make as little movement as possible (be completely still) prior to exploding off of the starting line.
Tip 7: Focus
Most football combines time their 40 yard runs electronically or FAT (fully automated timing). One of the easiest ways for them to time is to have the electronic timing device connected to a gun, when the gun fires, the timing starts. So, here is a tip if you are getting your 40 timed by your reaction to the gun. There are two things you can focus on. One is to focus on a motor set, which means to focus on your first movement, not the gun. Second, would be a sensory set. This means that you would focus your attention on the starter’s gun. Focusing on the gun isn’t necessary because you are going to hear it and react to it whether you are focusing on it or not. By focusing on a sensory set as opposed to a motor set, you are likely to get a slower reaction time to the gun. By waiting to react to the gun, you have to wait to hear the gun, and then your brain has to acknowledge the sound of the gun, and then send a signal to your muscles to react to the gun. This might only take .10, but it is time you cannot afford to waste. Instead, you should focus on driving the power side arm (if your right leg is forward, then drive your right arm) up as soon as the gun goes off. This will help bring your quick side leg through as well as help you drive through your power side leg.
Patrick Beith is a Performance Consultant for Athletes’ Acceleration, Inc, http://www.AthletesAcceleration.com. To learn more about speed training and for free access to Coach Beith’s free report on ‘How To Improve Your Athletes 40 Yard Dash Times’ visit: http://www.FootballSpeed.com today.