40-Yard Dash Speed Tips (Part 1)

We bring you today the first part of a four-part series in which Gold Medal Excellence director and speed coach Chris Asher is providing our readers a few of his quick and easy tips on how any young athlete can improve their time in the 40-yard dash. He should know. He recently coached a USA 4×400 relay team to a world junior championship and last summer helped Antonio Cromartie of Arizona Cardinals get down to 4.32 in the 40. Cromartie will be playing in next week’s Pro Bowl.

IMPROVING YOUR 40-YARD DASH TIME (PART I)

By Chris Asher, Gold Medal Excellence

Getting a great time isn’t the only path to stardom, but it is a key element in football success. It is a critical element as it relates to coaches at all levels when they evaluate talent or by some coaches even at the prep level when they decide who will play at certain positions. I am here to share tips on how to improve your performance dramatically in this very crucial test.

A.J. Schabbing gets set to start a 40-yard dash timing during last Saturday's ETA Northern California combine. Photo: Mark Tennis.

A.J. Schabbing gets set to start a 40-yard dash timing during last Saturday’s ETA Northern California combine. Photo: Mark Tennis.


The start is crucial in the 40-yard dash. In fact, it is the most important element of the entire run. The first thing you must establish is that stance or your take off point. Here is where I will break it down for you how to establish a proper starting stance.

1- In establishing a starting position (3 point stance) you will need to have one arm on the ground, one arm in the air which will swing like a whip when you take off.

2- Your legs must be separated with one foot in front and one foot behind with about one foot between each other. Your power or dominant foot should be in front with the other foot behind you. Your buttocks and hips also need to be in the air when setting this stance.

3- Both feet need to be bent so that when taking off you can push into your sprint. Think of legs being bent like pushing up weight in a squat or leg press position.

4- Both legs must be bent and neither can be straight. If a leg is straight or close to a straight angle, then you won’t be able to have a successful and initial start. It would be like trying to do a vertical jump without bending your legs and exploding.

In Part 2 of this series, we will go over transitioning from being in the 3-point stance into a successful starting position.

Note: This series is not going to conclude until after our two upcoming Cal-Hi Sports/Gold Medal Excellence Speed Camps. The first one is Saturday, Jan. 31 at Palisades High School in Southern California. The second one is Saturday, Feb. 28 at Stagg High School in Stockton for Northern California. Coach Asher will be working with all campers at each event just like he has done with NFL players.

To sign up now for the Jan. 31 speed camp at Palisades High, CLICK HERE.

To sign up now for the Feb. 28 speed camp at Stagg High, CLICK HERE.

For more info on speed coach Chris Asher, who is the primary instructor at these events, CLICK HERE.


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