Maximize Your Speed: NFL Combine Prep Training for the 40-Yard Dash

While the NFL season is coming to a swift end, college athletes begin to prepare mentally and physically, as the NFL combine approaches. In the world of professional football, speed is often a game-changer! Athletes strive to maximize their speed and agility to gain a competitive edge, especially when it comes to events like the NFL Combine. In this divulging video collaboration, Coach Chris, from Overtime Athletes, teamed up with Coach Usama Mujtaba, the esteemed strength and conditioning coach for the Toronto Argos of the CFL, to explore their insights regarding combine prep training, specifically tailored for the 40-yard dash.



Focus on Acceleration:

The foundation of any successful sprint lies within the initial burst of acceleration. Chris and Usama discussed the critical importance of the first three to five steps in the 40-yard dash. Their focus centered around achieving a powerful push and executing a fast switch to propel the athletes forward with optimal efficiency.

Acceleration in sprinting is a nuanced skill, therefore, specific elements that contribute to effective acceleration were emphasized. For example,ย  a good push, where the athletes generate force against the ground, and a fast switch, referring to the rapid leg movement, were highlighted as the key components necessary to master if the athlete is seeking success in the 40-yard dash.


Wall Drill Exercises:

To translate the theoretical emphasis on a fast switch into practical training, the coaches introduced a series of wall drill exercises. These drills were designed to enhance the fast switch component, concentrating on the quick acceleration of the legs during the critical first steps of the sprint.

The wall drill sequence comprised three variations: single switch, double switch, and triple switch. Each drill required athletes to maintain an aggressive forward lean against the wall, simulating the 40-yard dash stance. Athlete’s were instructed to focus on accelerating the knee swiftly and efficiently towards the ground in the precision of each movement. It is important to remember to encourage athletes to take brief breaks between each drill, ensuring that the emphasis remains on quality over quantity.


Half Kneeling Start Technique:

As the training session progressed, Coach Chris introduced the half kneeling start techniqueโ€”a method aimed at optimizing the initial push and loading of the back leg during the 40-yard dash. Athletes were directed to start in a half-kneeling position, and the emphasis was expressed on generating a powerful forward push while ensuring proper loading of the back leg.

Coach Chris was sure to communicate the importance of maintaining a good forward lean, approximately at a 90-degree angle through the ankle. This position allows the athletes to engage their hip range of motion effectively without compromising acceleration. The half-kneeling start technique provided a unique perspective on the mechanical complexities involved in the initial movements of a sprint.


Feedback and Corrections:

Both coaches supplied individualized feedback and corrections for each athlete, regarding specific guidance on areas such as knee drive, posture, and arm movements. The significance of maintaining consistent form through each repetition and dedicated practice was also deliberated.

During the wall drill exercises, each athlete’s unique strengths and areas for improvement were addressed through tailored feedback. Drawing from his experience as a coach for the Toronto Argos, Coach Usama offered some insights that resonated with each participants movement corrections. The importance of a collective focus on form and technique emerged as a recurring theme throughout the session.

Chris and Usama not only identified areas for improvement but also commended each athlete on their strengths and applied effort. Positive reinforcement played a crucial role in boosting their confidence, creating an environment conducive to learning and growth.


In the pursuit of speed and excellence on the football field, especially when it concerns the NFL combine, every detail matters! The collaboration between Coach Chris Barnard and Coach Usama Mujtaba provided a comprehensive look into the intricacies of combine prep training for the 40-yard dash. From the fundamental principles of acceleration to the practical application of wall drills and the half-kneeling start technique, the training session offered valuable insights and tangible feedback to ensure the athletes developed enhanced comprehension of speed training, and set them up for a successful 40-yard dash!





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