Football Combine Training: Perfecting Your 40-Yard Dash Start

Updated: May 16, 2021

When it comes to high school football player analysis and recruiting, one of the major factors college coaches consider is speed. The test most commonly used to measure this skill is the 40-yard dash. With camp and combine season approaching, we've teamed up with EPTS Combines to create this visual checklist of tips to improve your 40-yard dash start stance.

40 yard dash stance

  1. Front (Drive) Foot: Place your dominant foot about 1 foot from the start line.

  2. Rear Foot: Place your rear foot hip width about 6-8 inches behind your front foot. When you put the knee of the rear foot down on the ground, it should be in line with the toes of the front foot.

  3. Ground Hand/Arm: Place the fingers and thumb of the hand opposite your lead leg on the start line. The inside of your elbow should be facing downfield and your fingers should be pointing away from your lead foot. Your thumb should be directly underneath your shoulder.

  4. Hips: Hip height should be slightly above shoulder so your back is flat. The degree of height above the shoulder will affect knee and hip angles, thus affecting force application and acceleration. The higher your hips the more weight you can shift to the hands. Don’t set too high or you won’t be able to support your weight causing you to “roll” off the line and not explode. Don’t set too far back or you’ll most likely pop straight up out of your stance.

  5. Leg Angels: A: Lead Leg: Knee angle should be between 90 and 110 degrees. B: Rear Leg: Knee angle should be between 120 and 135 degrees. Existing strength levels will be the primary factor determining whether your knee angles are closer to 90 and 120 degrees, versus 110 and 135 degrees. Weaker athletes will have the hips higher in the air (closer to 120 and 135).

  6. Shoulders: Shoulders should be directly over start line slightly lower than hips.

  7. Raised Arm: Arm on same side as lead leg should be bent at elbow at 90° with hand at hip

  8. Head: Look down so head forms a straight lines with spine.

Having a good stance is just one of the many factors that play a part in running a great 40-yard dash. Contact one of our Performance Specialist for more tips on improving your times, and if you really want to dominate your next combine, register for our High School Football Combine Prep Training Program by clicking here. #SpeedWins

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