The best way to improve football speed is to get faster and the
best way to get faster is to run fast. Therefore, speed training
must be done correctly. Sprinting
well as strength
lifting) is taxing to the central nervous system (CNS). Once the
CNS becomes fatigued, workouts quickly lose their effectiveness.
Any type of speed work must be done with full recovery. Generally
speaking, that means approximately one minute of rest for every
10 yards that you run. Sprinting is a highly technical activity.
Without full recovery, both your muscles and your central nervous
system will begin to fatigue quickly, reducing the short and long
term effectiveness of your training. To optimize your success,
full recovery must be adhered to both in your individual workouts
as well as your weekly plan. It takes 36-48 hours to fully recover
from a speed workout. Just as you would not lift weights on the
same body parts two days in a row, you should not perform speed
work two days in a row. Structure your training to ensure proper
recovery or you dramatically increase the likelihood of injury.
The bottom line with speed training is that we are trying to move
our body from Point A to Point B in the shortest amount of time
possible. Strength and power training, flexibility, etc., are all
necessary training elements that allow those speed increases and
muscular adaptations to take place. However, learning proper running
mechanics, from the start to acceleration to maximum velocity,
will allow you to get the full benefit of all aspects of training,
as well as shave those crucial tenths off your fastest time.
Getting into a good starting position is an overlooked, but crucial
element of running a fast 40. Proper body position at the start
will set you up to achieve faster acceleration and a higher top
You must first determine your 'quick' leg and your 'power/strong'
leg. An easy way to determine your “quick” side vs.
your “power” side, fold your arms in front of you.
The hand that is tucked under your bicep/armpit is your quick side
arm. If your left hand is tucked under, your right leg is your “quick” leg.
Your quick leg is going to be in the back position when starting
in a 3-point stance and your power leg will be in front. The front
leg is going to be the leg that is really starting the initial
drive out so you want your strongest and most powerful leg in front.
Technically, the distance between the front foot (power leg) and
the starting line should be approximately 55-60% of your leg length.
The distance between feet should be shin length, which is about
42-45% of total leg length. A simpler and equally effective spacing
is to start by placing front foot (power leg) two foot-lengths
from the starting line and the rear foot (quick leg) another foot
length between the front and rear feet. Spacing can be adjusted
from there based on comfort, existing strength levels, etc. Adding
real football speed work to your training program will finally
get you the result that you have been looking for.