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Maki Riddington
02-28-2007, 04:03 PM
This is from a newsletter I subscribe to from speed coach Latif Thomas.

It's NFL Combine time and that can only mean one thing:

My email inbox is filling up with coaches and athletes asking how to improve 40 yard dash times.

There's something about hearing fast 40 times that gets football people salivating.

There's only one problem.

You can't believe 99% of the times you hear even at the highest levels of the game.

Why not you ask.

That can't be true you say.

After all you saw so-and-so from such-and-such high school run a 4.5 last year.

You timed it yourself...

I believe one of the things about the 40 yard dash that make it such an enigma is the fact that it's really one of the only objective facets of football that can be universally understood by everyone involved in the game.

You can rush for 300 yards against a terrible team and look like Barry Sanders. But against a great defense you get stuffed for 30 yards. Those totals are subjective based on the competition.

So human nature and therefore Ego takes over and we see 40 times creeping down ever so slowly.

That 4.7 your best player ran last year has magically become a
4.6 in this year's conversations and would have been a 4.5 if he hadn't been sick that day...

So now guess who's 40 time seems to have magically improved.

(Don't get me wrong, I see the same mysterious improvements with track sprinters ALL the time.)

If we ignore the fact that the 40 has no bearing on football skill whatsoever, it doesn't matter what level you play at or how competitive your conference is. A 4.5 is a 4.5 is a 4.5.

Right?

Wrong.

Let's take a look at how and why the 40 time is arguably the most inaccurate number in all of sports.

We'll start with a base time like 4.6. I hear this time a lot.
When I do I'm never sure whether to laugh or cry.

Sometimes I do both.

So Johnny ran the 40 yesterday at his camp or practice.

Well, chances are it was hand timed. That means there was no electronic equipment used. Just a coach with a stopwatch.

So let's say Johnny's coach has him at 4.61.

The rule with a hand time/stopwatch time is that you MUST ROUND UP to the next tenth even if it's a 4.61. Now Johnny's coach probably told him he ran a 4.6 but the fact is he ran a 4.7.

Now, if a stopwatch was involved anywhere in the process, the time isn't accurate. Once the gun goes off there is a delay in the amount of time before the coach starts the watch. At the finish the coach doesn't accurately stop the watch at the exact moment the athlete crosses the line.

So the rule is that you must add .24 seconds to compensate for the difference between a manual/hand time and an accurate fully automatic time.

Where does this 'rule' come from?

Track and Field where accurate timing is critically important.

So if you have any interest in accuracy Johnny's 4.7 has now become a 4.94.

Now let's be generous and say that Johnny used one of those timing pads that starts the clock as soon as his hand lifts off the pad.

Since the clock starts at his first movement and not the sound of a gun connected to a computer connected to a laserbeam at the finish line, his 40 time is not accounting for the reaction time between the gun and his start.

If you look at reaction time of a quality sprinter, they're looking at a delay of between .2 and .3 seconds between the start of the clock and when they actually start moving.

So since the vast, vast majority of 40s and combines don't use a track and field start (aka an accurate start) you'll have to add (let's be nice) another .2 seconds to that 4.94.

So Johnny's accurate 40 time is 5.14 seconds even though his coach had him at '4.6'.

The truth hurts my friends and I doubt many people, even if they knew this, would actually take it into account when handing out times to their athletes or telling their peers about their times.

What fun is it to know that you're not as fast as you think you are or that your athletes aren't as fast as you thought they were?

So when you hear about that high school kid who runs a 4.4, he doesn't.

When you hear about how Deion Sanders ran a 4.29 in the 40, he didn't. (It was run in 1989 and the NFL didn't start using any electronic timing until 1990.)

Even at that, the timing used in these combines isn't as accurate as the timing that dictates official times and world records in track and field.

So that means a couple of things if we want to truly talk in terms of equality.

The only people who can run times approaching sub 4 seconds are elite track and field sprinters.

Asafa Powell (the world record holder at 100 meters) would make a mockery of the fastest NFL guys on their best days.

If you applied typical 40 yard dash timing rules to elite sprinters, Powell's 9.77 second world record at 100m would be something in the range of 9.2.

Let me give you one more example to prove my point. In 1988 Ben Johnson ran a then world record of 9.79 seconds to win the Olympic Gold medal.

Well it turns out that he was on steroids at the time and was stripped of his title.

Subsequent breakdowns of his 'roid induced run timed him as he reached the 40 yard mark. (By the way his times at 50 and 60 meters were faster than the current world records at that
distance.)

His time?

4.38 seconds.

Mark Zeigler sums this up perfectly:

'He was running in spikes . . . on a warm afternoon perfectly suited for sprinting . . . with a slight tailwind . . . with years of training from arguably track's top coach, Charlie Francis . . . with Carl Lewis and six others of the fastest men on the planet chasing him . . . with 69,000 people roaring at Seoul's Olympic Stadium . . . with hundreds of millions of people watching on TV . . . with the ultimate prize in sports, an Olympic gold medal, at stake.'

Yet he only ran a 4.38 40 yard dash?

Knowing that, can you really believe any of the 40 times you hear? Does it seem likely that any high school kid can run a 4.6?

You have people claiming 260 pound linebackers have 4.5 speed.

Well they don't. These times aren't real and you just shouldn't believe them.

After reading this article, I hope you look at all the 40 times you've been hearing about with a healthy dose of skepticism.

Rock Steady
02-28-2007, 04:10 PM
Nice read. I can't help but notice, however, that the 'gun delay' is being double counted going from 4.7 to 4.94 and then from 4.94 to 5.14. The points are all valid though and the article really has got me thinking.

Maki Riddington
02-28-2007, 04:14 PM
Nice read. I can't help but notice, however, that the 'gun delay' is being double counted going from 4.7 to 4.94 and then from 4.94 to 5.14. The points are all valid though and the article really has got me thinking.

It's not a double count in the sense he's made a mistake. It's two seperate things that are adjusted as a result of the stop watch delay.

dblockspky
02-28-2007, 06:43 PM
Good article. But I think he may well know that 40 times will never be discredited. I don't really agree with his logic on the comparison of elite track runners running the 100 meter to running the 40. It's completely different. But he's right, especially at the high school level most kids that think they know their 40 can tack about anoher .2 onto that time. Good read.

Sensei
02-28-2007, 06:49 PM
This is from a newsletter I subscribe to from speed coach Latif Thomas.

Let me give you one more example to prove my point. In 1988 Ben Johnson ran a then world record of 9.79 seconds to win the Olympic Gold medal.

Subsequent breakdowns of his 'roid induced run timed him as he reached the 40 yard mark. (By the way his times at 50 and 60 meters were faster than the current world records at that
distance.)

His time?

4.38 seconds.LOL! No surprise to me at all that 40 times are grossly exaggerated. Thanks for posting this here!

ArchAngel777
02-28-2007, 07:02 PM
Good article. But I think he may well know that 40 times will never be discredited. I don't really agree with his logic on the comparison of elite track runners running the 100 meter to running the 40. It's completely different. But he's right, especially at the high school level most kids that think they know their 40 can tack about anoher .2 onto that time. Good read.

Actually, the 40 yard dash has more in common with with the 100 meter than not. Besides, that 40 yard dash reverse engineered from his 100 meter sprint is damn accurate, more accurate than you can imagine. Both the 100 meter and 40 yard dash are all out 100% sprinting. So it isn't like you can say the 40 yard dash represents the 100 meter and the 100 meter represents the 400 meter run, because the difference is huge in those two events, not so much in the 40 yard dash and the 100 meter

I think this article was awesome and pretty much sums up what I have always believed about those times (BS!!!).

BTW - It isn't just a guestimate on what his 40 yard time would have been. If you bring out the 100 meter and the 40 yard dash to feet, we can figure out that the start time is being taking into account in this figures.

40 yard dash is 120 feet running distance. The 100 meter is 328 feet running distance.

120 / 328 = 2.666

4.38 / 9.79 = 2.235

As you can see, they didn't simply take the 100 meter time and cut it down to 36.6% where the 40 yard dash would have been assuming velocity were the same the entire distance. Instead, you see from the figures that plainly the start times were taken into account, else they would have figured the 40 yard dash time of 3.68, but they didn't! Understand?

dblockspky
02-28-2007, 09:42 PM
Running the 100 meter ESPECIALLY on an olympic or professional level is NOT a 100% sprint the whole time. Maybe 100% effort but not going all out as in the case of the 40 yard dash. If you read the technique's of some of the top sprinters they mention this. I had read that a while ago so unless sprinting styles have radically changed in the last year it should be the same.

Bupp
02-28-2007, 10:08 PM
I thought in the 100m sprinters are accelerating until the 50-60m mark

EDIT: I'm not sure how this is relevant to anything

8.8
02-28-2007, 10:33 PM
Running the 100 meter ESPECIALLY on an olympic or professional level is NOT a 100% sprint the whole time. Maybe 100% effort but not going all out as in the case of the 40 yard dash. If you read the technique's of some of the top sprinters they mention this. I had read that a while ago so unless sprinting styles have radically changed in the last year it should be the same.

are you serious? you might be confused by athletes saying that when they try to run at 100% or 110% they actually run slower then when they run at 90% but this is because they are relaxed and can run a better race with better form not that they ease up at any point in the 100m expecially for at the olympic level that what they train for its a lot fo the time there main focus in life



great post none the less

dblockspky
02-28-2007, 10:45 PM
No that's not what I meant at all. There's a specific article that Maurice Green or whatever his name was that he was featured in while he was the 100 meter champ that discussed his training methods and what his focus was going in to a race and how some others took the same approach. There's no way I'm going to find the article cuz that was forever ago, but as a sprinter it does make sense to me. If you sprint as well and disagree then ok..

8.8
02-28-2007, 10:54 PM
to bad i'd really like to see that article

no im not a sprinter but I do train with a bunch of sprinters and never heard that which are all at a higher level than you are (not to bash on you) but they have been at the game longer and have more experience

but i would also say it depends on the athlete as well because some are fast out of the blocks while other arent im sure that has an eccect on how they approach their race

dblockspky
02-28-2007, 11:07 PM
I wish I had it.

I've trained with a couple as well. Most notably a kid that held a state record when he was younger in the 200. He's going full ride to Maryland next year on a football scholarship. And I can't say that when I went to meets I walked around asking kids how they ran but I've met a couple decent sprinters that said the same including my friend. Something about pacing yourself and accelerating at the right moment.
And you're right, different sprinters have different styles so it depends on the athlete.
Me, myself managed to run an 11 flat once in the hundred and normally floated around 11.3 for electric times in the dual meets. But I was slow as **** coming out of the blocks cuz I was never really a sprinter, I did field events, but every other meet if I chose not to throw disc I would run the 100. Anyway my point was I had to go balls out from the beginning.
So I understand the whole you do have to go 100% because I do, but I was referring to the elite of the elite. I doubt you train with the likes of Maurice Greene or Asafa Powell.

Oh and I think a good example would be to consider if say J Gatlin raced Deangelo Hall in the 100. Deangelo Hall is supposedly the fastest guy in the NFL but I don't think anybody on earth would question the fact that Gatlin would smoke him in the 100. The basic technique for running the 40 is to explode out, stay low in the beginning and gradually straighten out as you approach the 40 yard mark. There's so much more to running the 100 especially on that level.

Isaac Wilkins
03-01-2007, 04:24 AM
This is one of the things I hate about my profession. I can train guys for combines, or I can train them to play football. My combine guys spend an absurd amount of time working on the specific events, learning the quickest shuttle, the best 40 technique, etc.

Some of the things that make them faster will make them better players (ie GPP work, some SPP work), but for the most part they're just learning another skill that doesn't really carry over to the field.

I'd rather make them the biggest, strongest, fastest-playing athlete they can be. However, if they don't do well at the combines, they won't get the opportunity to be that athlete anyway.

BigRic
03-01-2007, 02:19 PM
Stupid article. the times can be used as a comparison if nothing else if someone runs a 4.5 and someone runs a 4.7 person a is .2 faster than person B. and I'd like to see an olympian run a 40 at indy on combine day. too see what he runs.

Guido
03-01-2007, 03:34 PM
Stupid article. the times can be used as a comparison if nothing else if someone runs a 4.5 and someone runs a 4.7 person a is .2 faster than person B. and I'd like to see an olympian run a 40 at indy on combine day. too see what he runs.For comparisons sake, if using electronic timing, it's true that there is value is assessing the relative differences. As for the Olympic sprinters at the combine? I'd love to see that! Especially racing aginst some of the fastest NFL guys.

BiggerGuns=LD
03-01-2007, 03:45 PM
Here is the real article


http://www.michaelboyle.biz/joomla/dmdocuments/The_Myth_of_Speed.pdf

Hazerboy
03-01-2007, 05:44 PM
BigRic - the article would be pretty stupid if everyone is timing the same way, but they don't. High school players that use electronic timers are essentially screwed, and comparing high school times to NFL times becomes ridiculous. The time playing field simply isn't level.

Personally, as a physics student, I'd love to see some uncertainties attached to these high school kids times - slap a big fat +- .5 or .75 seconds to those who hand time everything - this will level out the playing field a bit and encourage more accurate timing.

Isaac Wilkins
03-02-2007, 04:21 AM
For comparisons sake, if using electronic timing, it's true that there is value is assessing the relative differences. As for the Olympic sprinters at the combine? I'd love to see that! Especially racing aginst some of the fastest NFL guys.

Some of the NFL guys would stack up better than people think. As somebody alluded to above the Olympic 100-meter guys are still accelerating beyond 40 yds. They'd smoke an NFL sprinter in the 100, but might not cross the 40 as quickly.

Hell, some NFL backs have a hard time keeping up with the linemen in the 10.

BigRic
03-02-2007, 11:44 AM
Also interesting to point out is NFL runningback from the Vikings last name Bennet I believe ran a 9.98 - 100. The one thing I noticed when I ran track is that I was fully accelerated in the first 25 metres of the race and it was hard for me to maintain down the full 100. So I'd usually get beat in the last 10-20 metres of the race. As well the high school combines Nike host are all Electornic finishes with a person starting the clock by hand. I ran a 4.52 after a travel day. about 2 or 3 weeks later I ran a 4.52 hand times after a travel day. so I'd say hand time can be accurate.

Isaac Wilkins
03-02-2007, 01:00 PM
Also interesting to point out is NFL runningback from the Vikings last name Bennet I believe ran a 9.98 - 100. The one thing I noticed when I ran track is that I was fully accelerated in the first 25 metres of the race and it was hard for me to maintain down the full 100. So I'd usually get beat in the last 10-20 metres of the race. As well the high school combines Nike host are all Electornic finishes with a person starting the clock by hand. I ran a 4.52 after a travel day. about 2 or 3 weeks later I ran a 4.52 hand times after a travel day. so I'd say hand time can be accurate.

Sure, hand times can be accurate. It's not always accurate, though. A good rule of thumb is to add .2 to most hand times, especially high school, because their coaches did it.

How many kids do you know in high school that were apparently running a 4.4-4.5? I hear about it all the time. How many kids actually are running that fast? Not nearly as many.

The Viking was Michael Bennett. If I remember correctly he (or another NFL back, but I think it was him) was invited to the US Olympic Training Facility.

Scorpion32
03-02-2007, 01:53 PM
I have been to college combines that used both electronic and hand held. The time difference was usually between .2 and .3 , there was a lot of upset young men who found out they were not as fast as they thought they were. Most of the kids thought the timer was broken.... Untill there was an actual 4.38 who ran, lightning fast......the hand held was something like 4.21 The kid ended up as a Corner in the Big12 if I remember right.

Bupp
03-02-2007, 01:56 PM
Improving your 40 time is definitely a good goal to aim for. As long as you are using the same person timing/same method each time you test your 40 you will be able to compare your times to see if you are improving.

d'Anconia
03-02-2007, 02:04 PM
The one thing I noticed when I ran track is that I was fully accelerated in the first 25 metres of the race and it was hard for me to maintain down the full 100. So I'd usually get beat in the last 10-20 metres of the race.

This is EXACTLY how it was for me. I was always the fastest on my team at the 40 by a long shot. At one high school combine my senior year I clocked a 4.45 (by hand) after earlier clocking a 4.52.

BUT
When it came to the 100 I would be out in the lead very quickly but after that people would catch up and pass me. I'm just assuming my quads were awesome for the acceleration but my hamstrings couldn't maintain a high enough top-speed. Man was it frustrating to watch your lead diminish and then have people pass you. I'd like to see what my 40 time is now that I've been lifting hardcore (although not doing much running).

WBBIRL
03-02-2007, 02:40 PM
I was slower then hell so I didn't care, I ran like a 5.4-5.5 back in highschool... to my credit though I was 310+ pounds when I did it. Still slower then hell. Wonder what I run now, I'm down to 270 and my legs are not only stronger then they were but have to move less weight now. It'd be sweet if I were close to a 5

dblockspky
03-02-2007, 06:25 PM
This is EXACTLY how it was for me. I was always the fastest on my team at the 40 by a long shot. At one high school combine my senior year I clocked a 4.45 (by hand) after earlier clocking a 4.52.

BUT
When it came to the 100 I would be out in the lead very quickly but after that people would catch up and pass me. I'm just assuming my quads were awesome for the acceleration but my hamstrings couldn't maintain a high enough top-speed. Man was it frustrating to watch your lead diminish and then have people pass you. I'd like to see what my 40 time is now that I've been lifting hardcore (although not doing much running).

You guys lacked the proper training that separates the good from the elite. You were obviously fast. But if somebody could have coached you the proper technique and had you doing drills so that you wouldn't start dying out after 60 meters than your times could of been a lot better.. Not that they weren't already.

ams44
03-02-2007, 08:46 PM
http://clemsontigers.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/ford_jacoby00.html#00

This is a football player at clemson that is from my home town. So are you telling me he really doesnt run a 4.126. Just thought you all would be interested to see this.

dblockspky
03-03-2007, 12:11 AM
Heh. Most kids should add +2 to their 40. That kid also ran a 10.3 in the 100. He shouldn't be playing football, he should be training to be a professional track athlete. He's ridiculous. I can't even picture seeing that kind of speed from somebody out of high school. There is a lot more of that kind of talent down in FL. We don't really have that up here in jersey.

Isaac Wilkins
03-03-2007, 07:40 AM
http://clemsontigers.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/ford_jacoby00.html#00

This is a football player at clemson that is from my home town. So are you telling me he really doesnt run a 4.126. Just thought you all would be interested to see this.

He certainly could run that, or close to it. He's run in some big meets and combines, so he's been electric timed. He's obviously very fast. What we're saying is the great majority of reported times out there are lower than they actually are.

I agree with dblockspky, though. Given his lack of size but his speed gift he probably would be best served playing football to keep his scholarship but focusing on his sprinting for his beyond college life. Chances are that if he has a remotely successful career at Clemson he'll make it to the NFL. From there the beating he'll take will probably limit his career. He could probably be a great sprinter or a role-player in the NFL.

ams44
03-03-2007, 12:03 PM
Almost every highschool near me has guys running 4.3 and 4.4's and they are lazer timed and made official when they go to combines to market themselfs for college. Maybe its just because of my area but I really dont see why you guys are saying real 40 times in the 4.3-4.4 range are rare when people down hear are running them consistently.

dblockspky
03-03-2007, 07:05 PM
Where are you from? Now logically think about it. Do you think those kids are really running those times when the best college athletes are at the combine and for the last couple of years it's been a rarity to see some one run a 4.3. There are many 4.4's but these are trained college athletes, the chances that they went into college and didn't get faster at all is slim. There's a problem somewhere.. Either the NFL testing is wrong... Or wherever these high school kids are being tested is wrong. Pick one.

ams44
03-04-2007, 11:09 AM
Where are you from? Now logically think about it. Do you think those kids are really running those times when the best college athletes are at the combine and for the last couple of years it's been a rarity to see some one run a 4.3. There are many 4.4's but these are trained college athletes, the chances that they went into college and didn't get faster at all is slim. There's a problem somewhere.. Either the NFL testing is wrong... Or wherever these high school kids are being tested is wrong. Pick one.

I live in South FL

http://scout.scout.com/a.z?s=73&p=8&c=1&nid=1868370

http://scout.scout.com/a.z?s=7&p=8&c=1&nid=2561941

http://scout.scout.com/a.z?s=354&p=8&c=1&nid=2439724

http://scout.scout.com/a.z?s=450&p=8&c=1&nid=2568097

http://scout.scout.com/a.z?s=168&p=8&c=1&nid=2568099

http://scout.scout.com/a.z?s=168&p=8&c=1&nid=2974400

theres so many more guys with better times around the country...just look at the college recruiting sites its all there

BigRic
03-04-2007, 03:38 PM
There is alot of People running sub 4.5's in South Florida, however it's funny I see on scout pages sometimes they have people listed at 4.4 and then they'll show nike combine results and the person ran a 4.6 yet they still list him as a 4.4 guy at the top. doesn't make sense.

Ozz
03-04-2007, 10:21 PM
I am sorry but that number of 4.38 on the 40 is NOT comparable to what a player in the NFL with the same time would be doing. Sprinters go off of a gun. When you run the 40....it is your movement that starts the clock. Not your reaction time. Cut .2 off of that 40 time and maybe it will be more accurate.

Scorpion32
03-05-2007, 08:22 AM
Almost every highschool near me has guys running 4.3 and 4.4's and they are lazer timed and made official when they go to combines to market themselfs for college. Maybe its just because of my area but I really dont see why you guys are saying real 40 times in the 4.3-4.4 range are rare when people down hear are running them consistently.

I was a junior college coach and recruited South Florida quite often. I would agree with you that there are young men down there that are fast but far less then you think. Many times when I recruited players (not only in south florida) I was told that they were 4.3/4.4 and they were not even close. more like 4.5 or 4.6. People do not realize that a real 4.5 is very fast at the high school level. A real 4.6 is good speed as well. Point of the story don't believe what other high school kids are telling you, I ONCE ran a 4.59 in high school on a track wind at my back, so i told everbody i was a 4.5. Coaches will also lie to try and get their kids an edge in recruiting.

saia127
03-05-2007, 03:58 PM
Good read.
I have always though that there would be some time missed with a hand watch but I never though that much.

Y2A
03-16-2007, 09:37 AM
Stupid article. the times can be used as a comparison if nothing else if someone runs a 4.5 and someone runs a 4.7 person a is .2 faster than person B. and I'd like to see an olympian run a 40 at indy on combine day. too see what he runs.

I dont think the article is stupid, but I generally agree with this view. Comparatively, a 4.3 guy is way faster than a 4.7 guy. If you add the margins of error, maybe it would be 4.7 and 5.1, but the first guy is still much faster. The times themselves may be incorrect, but someone like Dlo Hall is still a fast mother...