The 40-yard dash is a fundamental and widely recognized test of speed and acceleration in the world of football. Whether you’re a high school prospect eyeing college scholarships or an NFL hopeful looking to impress scouts, mastering the technique for this sprint can make all the difference. In this blog, I’ll break down the key components of the 40-yard dash technique that football players use to shave off precious milliseconds and stand out from the competition. Lets get it!!


The Start

  • Stance: Begin with both feet together standing directly behind a line.  Take your dominant foot and place it behind the heel of your opposite foot.  Next, take the heel of your non dominant foot and place it perpendicular to the heel of your dominant foot.  This will give you the width of your stance.  Once your width is identified, move your non dominant foot back 4-6 inches.  Place your hand that’s opposite your dominant foot directly behind the line with your other hand above the line.  When ready you will raise your hips so they are higher than your knees while simultaneously raising the hand that’s above the line while shifting your body weight forward.
  • Explosive Start: Initiate the sprint with an explosive push-off from both feet. Drive your back knee forward, creating a high angle between your thigh and shin to maximize power.
  • Low Torso: Keep your torso low to maintain balance and minimize wind resistance. Your chin should be tucked downward, looking 1-2 yards ahead.

Acceleration Phase (0-20 yards)

  • Powerful Strides: Take short, powerful strides during the initial acceleration phase. Focus on driving your knees up and forcefully placing each foot back down, exhibiting a piston like action..
  • Pumping Arms: Your arms play a crucial role in propulsion. Keep them bent at roughly 90 degrees and swing them vigorously so that your hands past your hips.
  • Maintain Form: Maintain a slight forward lean, but don’t overdo it. Ensure your back remains straight and avoid excessive arching or bending at the waist.

Transition Phase (20-30 yards)

  • Gradual Upright Posture: As you reach the 20-yard mark, gradually transition to an upright posture while maintaining your speed. This phase is about finding the balance between acceleration and maintaining maximum velocity.

Maximum Velocity Phase (30-40 yards)

  • Stride Length and Frequency: In the final 10 yards, focus on maintaining stride length and frequency. Your steps should be long and powerful, and your arms should continue to pump efficiently.
  • Lean Slightly Forward: Maintain a slight forward lean to counteract deceleration and keep your speed as you cross the finish line.

Finish Strong

  • Maintain Focus: Stay focused on the finish line and drive through it with determination. It’s crucial not to let up prematurely.
  • Dip at the Finish: In some cases, athletes will dip their head slightly at the finish line to ensure they finish as fast as possible.

The 40-yard dash technique is a combination of explosive power, efficient stride mechanics, and precise form. Football players looking to excel in this test should dedicate time to practice and refine their technique. Remember, mastering the 40-yard dash isn’t just about raw speed; it’s about executing each phase with precision and maximizing your athletic potential. With consistent training and attention to detail, you can improve your 40-yard dash time and enhance your prospects in the world of football.

Coach Bass

Coach Bass

Owner, Boost Training Systems in Corona, CA
Level 1 & 2 Coach Bommarito Performance