3 Reasons Why Every Football Player Should Run Track

December 18, 2012 | Micah Kurtz

Must See Football Videos

Co-authored by Lucas Kurtz.

If you strap on a helmet in the fall, you should be lacing up spikes in the spring.

This should seem obvious. After all, the quickest way to impress a football scout or coach is to be the quickest guy in a 40-Yard Dash. “The 40” is probably the most closely-watched drill at any combine, and posting a head-turning time can mean the difference between having multiple scholarship offers and fighting for preferred walk-on status. (Check out STACK's Guide to Beating the 40-Yard Dash.)

But running track won’t just help you during recruiting. It will make you an all-around better athlete, improving your on-field performance in three ways.

You’ll Find Your Fastest Running Form

Nobody knows the in’s and out’s of speed like a track coach. After all, there aren't many variables in track—you are running in a straight line. So one small blip in your form can make or break a race. So track coaches place huge emphasis on technique to maximize speed. Refining your technique on the track is a great way to make perfect running form second nature, so when game day comes on the gridiron, you’ll be able to run faster without having to think about it. (Master the four points of good running form.)

You’ll Build a Better “Burst”

Athletes who run track continually work on their starting stance, and with good reason: a runner’s speed “out of the blocks” has a lot of influence on their finishing time. An athlete can trim a tenth or even two-tenths of a second off their 40 time just by getting their start down cold.

Added bonus for footballers: the action of coming out of the starting blocks is very similar to getting off the line of scrimmage. Both require you to generate speed and power from a dead stop. So improving your “burst” at the starting line will improve your burst off the ball.

In addition, an often overlooked but very important skill in football is the ability to accelerate from half- to full-speed, as when receivers run passing routes or cornerbacks make a break on the ball. Track teaches you to get to your top speed as quickly as possible. Common track drills, like Flying Starts, increase stride frequency and improve body control when transitioning to max speed.

You’ll Get More Speed with Less Effort

Most football players are all about force, running like bowling balls trying to knock pins down. Sprinters, on the other hand, look like they almost glide over the ground. A good track coach will teach you to relax your body and exert the minimal amount of force necessary to attain top speed. Not only will you run faster, you won't be as exhausted after a play.

Coaches often prescribe long sprints of 200 to 400 yards with short rest periods (about 45 seconds) between them. The short recovery time forces you to find your most efficient stride and arm swing to avoid fatigue.

Start training for track with STACK's Track & Field Guide.

Micah Kurtz
- Micah Kurtz is a nationally certified strength and conditioning specialist. He has worked as a graduate assistant strength and conditioning coach for the University of...
Micah Kurtz
- Micah Kurtz is a nationally certified strength and conditioning specialist. He has worked as a graduate assistant strength and conditioning coach for the University of...

Featured Videos

Blake Griffin Interview and Cover Shoot Blake Griffin Interview and Cover Shoot Views: 588,674
Learn to Hit Open Three-Pointers With Damian Lillard's Baseline Drift Drill Learn to Hit Open Three-Pointers With Damian Lillard's Baseline Drift Drill Views: 241,770
Elite Performance With Mike Boyle: Teach Any Athlete How To Squat Properly Elite Performance With Mike Boyle: Teach Any Athlete How To Squat Properly Views: 286,393
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Dustin Pedroia on Training Dustin Pedroia on Training
Views: 10,920,844
Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds
Views: 43,252,646
Robert Griffin III Pocket Presence QB Drill Robert Griffin III Pocket Presence QB Drill
Views: 6,866,164
Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night
Views: 6,099,366
Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied
Views: 12,009,040

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like
Six-Pack for Speed: 5 Core Exercises That Can Make You Faster

Six-Pack for Speed: 5 Core Exercises That Can Make You Faster

Speed Drill of the Day: Get More Explosive with Ankle Hops

Speed Drill of the Day: Get More Explosive with Ankle Hops

Fine-Tuning Soccer Sprint Speed

Fine-Tuning Soccer Sprint Speed

These 5 Drills Will Increase Your Baseball-Specific Speed

These 5 Drills Will Increase Your Baseball-Specific Speed

Get Faster With These Hamstring Exercises

Get Faster With These Hamstring Exercises

A Linear Speed Progression for Increasing In-Game Speed

A Linear Speed Progression for Increasing In-Game Speed

Soccer Players: Get Quick on the Pitch

Soccer Players: Get Quick on the Pitch

Sprinting Tips from Olympic Gold Medalist Michael Johnson

Sprinting Tips from Olympic Gold Medalist Michael Johnson

King of the Hill: 5 Hill Run Exercises to Supercharge Your Speed

King of the Hill: 5 Hill Run Exercises to Supercharge Your Speed

Le'Veon Bell Tweets Some Impressive Off-Season Workouts

Le'Veon Bell Tweets Some Impressive Off-Season Workouts

Todd Durkin's 5 Exercises to Increase Your Agility

Todd Durkin's 5 Exercises to Increase Your Agility

Building Sprint Speed for Soccer Players

Building Sprint Speed for Soccer Players

Resisted Sprints: Use the Right Weight to Get Faster

Resisted Sprints: Use the Right Weight to Get Faster

3 Ways to Build Sprint Speed (No Sprinting Required)

3 Ways to Build Sprint Speed (No Sprinting Required)

Why Youth Athletes Need to Focus On Strength to Improve Speed

Why Youth Athletes Need to Focus On Strength to Improve Speed

NFL RB Zac Stacy Works to Get Faster for the 2015 Season

NFL RB Zac Stacy Works to Get Faster for the 2015 Season

NBA All-Star Paul Millsap's Quick Feet Drill

NBA All-Star Paul Millsap's Quick Feet Drill

Increase Your Ankle Mobility to Sprint Faster

Increase Your Ankle Mobility to Sprint Faster

5 Movements You Should Be Doing to Gain Football Speed

5 Movements You Should Be Doing to Gain Football Speed

5 Stretches That Can Instantly Make You Faster

5 Stretches That Can Instantly Make You Faster

Get Faster with High-Speed Treadmill Training

Get Faster with High-Speed Treadmill Training

Developing Soccer-Specific Speed

Developing Soccer-Specific Speed

Get Even More Out of Your Hill Sprints With These Variations

Get Even More Out of Your Hill Sprints With These Variations

3 Acceleration Drills to Get Faster

3 Acceleration Drills to Get Faster

Why Agility Is Critical for Soccer Players

Why Agility Is Critical for Soccer Players

What Is Fast in Soccer?

What Is Fast in Soccer?

YardBarker