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The 40 Yard Dash - The King Of The Combine Tests: Part 1.

The 40-yard dash - The first thing is the starting position. I will focus this article on the shin and leg angles at the start. Get the details right here.

I know football season just started and combine testing is at least 5 or 6 months away. So why am I starting this series so soon?

I have a lot to cover.

This is just the beginning of a big series on preparing for the football combines. In fact, if I don't start now, I will not be done by the time the football combines start in February or March.

Strength Requirements

I need to cover one thing right away. If you do not have adequate strength, then you will not be able to perform the techniques I am teaching properly. This series is for those athletes who have a good strength base and have excellent relative body strength (strength pound for pound).

The first is an installment on running your best 40-yard dash - boy is there a lot to cover just on this topic alone. I could write a book just on this single event.

I want to be as thorough as possible; however, you will realize that if you correct one error in one part of your body, other errors will correct as well.

I do not want you thinking of a hundred things when you are on the starting line The reason I bring this up is that one of the worst things you can do is think too much when you are running for time with a potential scholarship, or perhaps even a pro contract on the line.

Thinking too much will cause your body to tighten up and you will look like a mummy when you run - and your time will stink!

The Starting Position

The first thing is the starting position. I will focus this article on the shin and leg angles at the start.

I am going to refer to one of my athletes who ran a 4.85-second 40-yard dash 2 months prior to running a 4.42 at his high school combine. You will be able to see some of the changes he made to make this huge improvement in only 2 months.

Before & After.

Picture on the left is "before" and the right is "after" (Image 1). Note the Heel on the pre test is almost flat on the ground before taking starting.

Putting the heel flat limits the starting power from the back leg and causes the body to stand up too soon, limiting acceleration power. On the right, he is in a much better position to accelerate forward powerfully off both legs.

Shin Angle.

Note the front shin angle from the ground is greater in the "before" picture (Image 2). That means the front shin angle is more vertical in the before picture. This also leads to standing up too soon and reducing forward power.

Knee, Ankle & Hip Coordination.

This may be the most telling angle of all (Image 3).

The knee is almost straight in the before picture. Power is best developed from proper coordination of knee, ankle and hip joints. In the before picture, the athlete is almost rendering his rear leg useless for his first stride.

In the after pic, he is in a great position to generate a lot of power through ankle knee and hip.

Take Home Message

Angle your shins as far forward as you can control. Allow the knees to bend, and heels off the ground. Remember - push back into the ground in order to go forward.

Have questions? Please e-mail me at:

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