Let’s continue this talk on how to get a faster 40 time.

Click below if you missed part one:

How to Get a Faster 40 Time – Part One

Clay Matthews ran the third fastest time of all linebackers at the 2009 NFL Combine, running a 4.67. (ICON Sports)

Let’s pick up where we left off.


Now let’s get into the start, which many feel is the most important part of the 40.

Related: Bet You Didn’t Know NFL Scouts Look for Some of this Stuff…


Start Tips

You need to be coordinated to the point where your body is moving forward at the same time that your hand is lifting off the ground.

Otherwise you’re going to lose time.


Stay Low Out of Blocks

When you explode out of your stance, stay low.

This visual might help…

When you’re in your stance, imagine that you’re about to run into a 100 mph wind.

Think about it. What would happen if you ran standing STRAIGHT UP into a 100 mph wind?

That’s right, you’d get blown away.

So stay low out of the blocks.

Related: 40 Yard Dash Training


Back leg/Free-Hand Motion

Make sure you’re firing your back leg and free-hand forward as when you’re coming out of the blocks.


First Step

Make sure your first step is short and “powerful”.

Too big of a first step will get you off-balanced and overextended, which makes it hard to maintain all of your power.


Disclaimer: You’ll find that some trainers are of the opinion that your first step should be as big as possible, so that you can gain as much ground as possible, as quickly as possible.

I say to play around with both of these philosophies to find what works best for you. If you find that taking a big first step makes you feel a little off balance, switch to a smaller first step out of the blocks.


Head Positioning

Make sure you keep your head down as you make that first step.

By keeping your head down as you fire your free-hand and arm through, you’re staying in a solid load-driving position, which helps keep you from popping up to a position where it’s tougher to accelerate from.

Now let’s talk about the running phase of this drill.


Sprinting Tips


Straight-Line Running

As you learned in Geometry class in 7th grade, the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.

With that in mind, you need to make sure you’re running in a straight line.

If you don’t, your 40 time’s gonna be slower.

Related: What Everybody Ought to Know About Improving Football Speed


How to Make Sure You’re Running Straight in the 40

If you can, record (as in video) yourself running the 40 yard dash.

You want to record it from behind you, so you can see if you have a tendency to drift to one side or the other.

You might wanna line cones up on both sides of you, similar to how they are when you’re actually taking the test, as this might make it easier to notice yourself drifting on film.


What if You DO Drift?

If you find that you do indeed drift when you run, try positioning yourself to the far left, or to the far right of the starting line when you get in your stance when you test and train in the 40.

Then, as you run, you can use the line of cones right next to you as a guide to help you run straight.

In other words, you’re going to run the entire 40 with one side of your body running right along (or next to) the cones.


Finish Strong

Make sure you run all the way through the finish line.

It’s human nature to let up a little bit as you approach the finish line.

You can get around this, by visualizing the finish line being placed about 5 yards past the finish line.

Tricking yourself into running a 45 yard dash will help you keep from letting up as you pass by the timers.

Related: How to Train for the Short Shuttle Drill


What are some other tips that’ll help guys run a faster 40?

What’s your fastest 4o time?  Leave a comment.


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Web References:

How to Run a Fast 40 Yard Dash (via ezines.com)
National Athletic Testing System – Drills: Speed (via nats.us)
NFL Scouting Combine (via NFL.com) 

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