This exercise is part of the SPARQ rating system for football. This is actually a rating system that is used to measure sport specific athleticism. The purpose of this drill is to examine and test an athlete’s speed, agility, acceleration and quickness. This drill helps to improve your running speed by focusing on the main muscle groups in your legs during sprinting. It improves the overall power and performance of your body and its abilities. Speed is not just how fast someone can run but also how fast a person can accelerate from a stationary position to a motionary one and an athlete’s success in this exercise depends on that movement as well. This exercise, which is a form of cardiovascular training, contributes to benefiting your health by its profound effects on strengthening your heart and lungs, reducing fat, and increasing your endurance.
First off, it is advised that you start your workout with a warm up, since this fitness drill requires a maximal effort with rapid limb movements, and of course any possible injuries need to be greatly avoided. Some appropriate warm up exercises include jogging for 5-10 minutes, and also lunges, calf stretches and side bends. Once your warm up is completed then you can begin this sports training exercise.
Your first goal is to establish a comfortable 3-point stance position that is familiar to you in order for you to maximize your starting speed and yield your best time. Having a poor starting stance can drastically damage your time as it contributes to your acceleration from a stationary position to a motionary one (which is one of the main points being tested in this drill), so make sure that you are performing your 3-point stance position with utmost accuracy.
Your front foot (called your “power leg”) should be placed close to the starting line. Bend the opposite knee (called your “quick leg”) and place it on the ground so that the tip is just behind the starting line. Place your hand near your “quick leg” on the ground, and your other hand near your hip at a 90 degree angle. Now elevate your body so that your hips are above your shoulder height and your “power leg” is at an angle of about 120 degrees and your “quick leg” is at about 90 degrees. In this set stance you should feel quite cramped, which is normal and will give you maximum recoil when you start your sprint.
This position is generally held for 3 seconds before starting the exercise. Once the coach or referee announces for you to begin and the time starts, you will run a single maximum sprint of 40 yards. Controlling your strides is the hardest part of this exercise. You need efficient stride length during the first 3 strides because this sets the pace for the remaining time of the run. Be sure to avoid overstriding, since your body loses power when your foot lands too far out in front of the rest of your body. Proper strides consist of your foot landing just under your hips, which helps to maintain maximum force against the ground. A slight lean during the run is also advised in order to reach your greatest speed. Now, the only question is do you think you can beat the NFL’s average 40 yard dash time of 4.5 seconds? Get out there and start training!