Football Training: Perfecting Your 40-Yard Dash Form

Learn and practice the proper technique to help shave seconds off your time.

When it comes to player analysis in football, one of the major factors coaches consider is speed. The drill most commonly used to measure this skill is the classic 40-yard dash, and players can help their times by tweaking their techniques in a few key areas. Heads Up Football master trainer and 25-year coaching veteran Chris Merritt says that small improvements to your stance, takeoff and running mechanics can help better your method and potentially drop that 40 time.

Your starting position should be in a narrow three-point stance with your feet staggered and your back foot placed at the heel of your front foot. Place your hand sideways on the ground rather than with your fingers straight ahead and work to keep your legs straight. Drop your chin into your chest and keep it tucked.

Upon takeoff, make sure that you are exploding outward, not downward. Keep your chin tucked looking down at the ground for the first five yards of the sprint. Once you surpass the five-yard marker, Merritt says to slowly raise your field of vision toward the horizon, “like a jet plane taking off.” Continue your speed through the finish line and see how fast you truly are.

According to Merritt, your motions should remain fluid throughout the drill and you should strive for positive feet turnover. Practice this technique before the next time you’re clocked to help shed some seconds off of your 40-yard dash and get noticed.