How To Run A Faster 40 Yd. Dash- from Elliot Hulse

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Speed development is one of the hottest topics in sports performance. As a sports performance coach, personal trainer or someone who enjoys speed training, it is always important to know the right methods of training to increase your skill set. For this article we are going to cover the most important aspects of sprinting. The start and the first 10 yards of the sprint. We will also give some recommendations to exercises that have worked well with our athletes in increasing their 10yrd, 30yrd, 40yrd and 60 yard dashes.

With our athletes we don’t run many 40’s, or 60 yard dashes. While we train many football, baseball and other sports that require sprinting over 30 yards it is important to realize were an athlete can get faster. We have to remember that most athletes never run 40 or 60 yards at a given time in their sport usually only in showcases or combines. You must realize that the first 10 yards of any distance is the most important. This is for many reasons, mainly your start is the most important and trainable aspect of the sprint. The better the start the faster the sprint. Second, your first ten yards are the most changeable with regards to decreasing time. Again this has to do with the start and also it has to do with figuring out the right stride length from the start.

The Stance

There are many ways to start a sprint; for sprinters in track a 4 point stance, baseball timing for the 60 is a sideways start, for football combine guys a 3 point start and for softball a 2 point start is recommended. We are going to cover the 2 point stance used by most youth baseball, softball and football guys. This also is a great tool to teach high school athletes because they get the feeling of how to push off from the start. The elite or older football HS athletes will use a 3 point start. The two point stance is relatively simple to do. For right hander’s put your left foot at the starting line. Place your right foot directly behind your lead foot so your toe is touching your left heel. (Figure 1) You then take the right foot and slide it directly to the right so it is lined up with your right hip. (Figure 2) You are then going to crouch down with soft knees bringing your right arm forward and left arm back. (Figure 3) You want to have a flat back and put pressure on the front foot, in this case your left foot. You do this for a couple of reasons. The main reason is to eliminate a false step; a false step can cost an athlete up to .2 a second on a sprint. It also increases force production out of your feet. This is because the body has to press of in a manner that forces the body to explode forward. Next head placement should be looking down. This is important because if you start a sprint with your head up and you take off your hips will pop up causing more resistance, slower time and bad mechanics. As you decide to start your sprint take a deep breath and explode out of the stance driving your left arm forward and right knee forward. This is the start of the sprint.


Figure 1. Heel toe alignment Figure 2. Alignment to Figure 3. Proper arm align

The hip

The First 10 Yards

As mentioned before the first 10 yards is the most important part of any distance in sprinting. As a reminder it is because it is the easiest to decrease time and it is the powerful and explosive part of the sprint. It is important to know how big of a first step is needed to start the sprint. To figure this out, sit on the line with your feet facing outward. With your back straight and perpendicular to the start line. Place a mark were you knees are. This is a simple way to figure out your first step. As you start your sprint you want to take a deep breath and explode out of your stance. As you run you can start to exhale slowly. Keeping your head down and running through the 10 yards keeping a nice forward body lean and keeping the head down. Remember to keep the arms moving as well, nice controlled but fast. Remember your technique for the arm swing is opposite arm and opposite leg. A lot of questions arise on the topic of how many steps should I take to run a good 10 yard time. You want to be in the range of 5-8 steps. This is dependent on height, stride length and stride frequency. These techniques above will help you start better, more explosive and a faster time.

Drills For Decreasing Your Time

Stride frequency

  1. Ladder speed runs- hit every square as fast as possible
  2. Ladder striders- hit every other square
  3. Hurdle runs- place hurdles from your proper stride length and set them up down the track in slightly spread out each time. Run through them from your start

Acceleration techniques

  1. Fall to sprint-put both feet together, get on your tippy toes fall down and then go into a sprint
  2. Flying 20’s- jog the first ten yards and then go into a sprint for 20 yards
  3. Push up to sprint- lie down and push yourself up to sprint
  4. Single leg take offs- get in a good stance and then lift your back leg off the ground slightly. Lean forward and sprint. This emphasizes your push off.

Resisted sprints

  1. Resisted partner sprints with cords- attached to cords sprint out as getting resisted by a partner
  2. Sled pulls- attached t o a sled go from the start and sprint your ten yards
  3. And running
  4. Parachute sprints
  5. Stairs
  6. Treadmill or hill sprinting

Over speed training

  1. 1. Overspeed cord pulls- with a partner and a single cord spread over a distance. Pull your partner down the track. This is great because it helps with increasing your stride frequency
  2. Wind sprints with the wind
  3. Decline sprinting

The second installment of the article will cover the 3 point stance and how to run an affective combine. Also to be covered will be the other combine drills. These drills are the pro agility shuttle, vertical jump and some other notes on how to run the 40 yard dash.

There are many different exercises for sprinting. These are just a few. Remember to always properly warm up prior to sprinting. This includes a dynamic stretch and also warm up sprints. Remember to consult a physician prior to exercise. If you need any more information contact me via email at llmb@prodigy.net or at 773-610 - FAST

About Coach Brad:

Brad Leshinske BS, CSCS owns and operates a sports performance facility in Chicago. Athletic Edge Sports Performance trains athletes from all sports. His specialty is speed performance, jump training and strength and conditioning. This year The Edge has seen athletes compete in the junior all American combine posting top honors for his athletes in the shuttle and top 5 in vertical. He has also has athletes on the all combine Chicago team for running a 4.5 laser 40. He trains many division one volleyball players and college football players who play at Notre Dame, Cornell, Western Illinois and a host of other colleges. They take pride in preventing injuries while achieving greater speed, agility, increased vertical and increasing their strength.

Athletic Edge Spors Performance, inc.
2700 w 91st Evergreen Park, Il 60805
llmb@prodigy.net
www.athleticedgesports.net


Submitted by DMorgan on Wed, 03/25/2009 - 9:06pm.

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