Improving Speed in the
40 Yard Dash
In many sports today, each athlete is timed in the 40 yard dash.
Improving speed in the 40 yard dash is very possible if you follow
these suggestions. These times often can give the coaches a great
impression if run fast. The start and phases of the dash will be
focused on here, and will absolutely help bring down the times.
A good start is extremely important for the 40 yard dash. If you
can’t power off the line and get up to speed as fast as possible,
then you are wasting your time. An efficient start can cut tenths
off your time if done correctly. This is the most important part
of the dash, because you aren’t running very far.
You first want to make sure you are as close to the line as you
are allowed. Even put your thumb and index finger on the line,
but don’t go over. The start is going to be a start like
you are getting off the line of scrimmage like a lineman would
during a game, except both of your hands will be on the ground
and your feet will be placed differently. Your front leg should
be about two foot lengths away from the line, and your back leg
should be three. Before you do this you need to determine which
leg should be forward, and which should be back.
To determine which leg should be in front of the other during
your start, try whatever is comfortable for you. An easy way to
decide is to put the leg you jump off of forward. If you are dominantly
a right-handed, then usually your left leg will be forward, and
if you are left-handed your right leg will be forward. But this
is not the case for everyone. Make sure your front leg is comfortable
before you start.
Usually the person timing you will wait for you to get ready.
Once ready they will say, “set, go”. When the set command
is given, you want to stick your butt in the air. Your front leg
should make about a 45 degree angle, with your back leg around
60 or more. Again, this is preference, so make sure you are comfortable.
Also you want to make sure that your head is down, just keep it
Once the “go” command is given, you have to power
off of the starting line. You want to drive your back leg forward
towards your head, and you want to drive your arm opposite your
back leg over your head. You want to actually jump forward powerfully
and NOT just step out.
Once you get off the line you want to keep driving your arms up
and back as hard as you can, but don’t tense up. Many athletes
tend to cross their arms over their bodies, so you need to make
sure you are keeping your arms straight up and back. Your arm angles
should be between 90 and 120 degrees from the elbow. Your hands
should be loose, in a fist, like you are holding a potato chip
and you don’t want to break it. Remember, if you tense up
one part of your body, it will spread and you will just get slower.
After you get off the line, you want to GRADUALLY start to stand
up straighter. Your head will still be looking towards the ground
during the first 10 yards or so. During the next 20 yards your
body will start to stand up straighter, but there will still be
a noticeable lean. Make sure you aren’t holding yourself
down, it again needs to feel comfortable for you, but you also
don’t want to pop right up. During the last 10 yards you
just need to hold on and run your fastest. Just keep your body
relaxed and power through the finish line.
By following these tips to improving speed in 40 yard dash, your
time will drop, and you will notice a huge improvement.