In this TD1 Minute weekly series, Kurt Hester, National Training Director for D1 Sports Training and a driving force behind The Dominant One Challenge, offers instructional tips on how to master your training and dominate your sport. In this fourth installment, Hester provides detailed guidelines on proper 40-Yard Dash technique. For more information on the TD1 Challenge, visit thedominant1.com.
The 40-Yard Dash is the highlight of the NFL Combine. It’s exciting and explosive, and a tenth of a second can be the difference between getting picked in the first round or the third.
The 40 is a pure measure of how quickly an athlete can explode off the line and reach top speed. It’s measured at the 10-, 20- and 40-yard marks to get accurate readings of the entire run:
10 Yards – Measures acceleration from a standstill
20 Yards – Measures acceleration to top speed
40 Yards – Measures how well top speed is maintained
The 40 requires precise technique to produce numbers that will impress coaches and scouts. Below are five steps that will immediately improve your 40 time. Be sure to watch the instructional video above for more tips.
Get into start position. You must be completely motionless for a three-count before exploding off the line.
Take a deep breath. Explode off the line, punch your trailing arm forward, and keep your chin down while holding your breath. It’s essential to keep your chin down so that you don’t rise up too fast, which will limit your powerful leg drive. Keep holding your breath for the first 12 to 15 yards, and focus on increasing the force you put into the ground and firing your arms to increase your stride length and frequency.
At around 15 to 20 yards, begin the transition to an upright position and release your breath. Some athletes will take another breath and hold it to the finish, while others resume a normal relaxed breathing pattern throughout the run. I have seen great results with both techniques, so it’s personal preference.
Relax your entire body and cycle your legs through a natural sprint motion without trying to run fast. This is the hardest thing for an athlete to do. Keep arm action at full range of motion, driving your elbows back through the finish. Most athletes allow their arm action to slow down the last five yards of the race, which reduces top speed.
Run through the finish line with your head punching through tape.
Check out previous episodes of the TD1 Minute to learn proper technique for the: