1) Hand Position
His hand that was not positioned on the line was very high, which means it would take longer for his arm to swing to guide his first step. Remember, a short lever is a faster lever. We teach the hand bent at the hip pocket, which sets us up nicely for the hip to cheek arm swing technique.
2) Shins Erect
His Shin angle was very straight up and down, which means his first step is very vertical. We are trying to move horizontally as quickly as possible in the 40 to cover more distance. This will be better accomplished by adjusting to a more parallel shin position, which will allow for an easier transition into a 45 degree angle burst into the 40 yard dash. Many times the problem with holding the parallel shin position is upper body strength. You must be able to hold your upper body while most of your weight is shifted forward. It is highly individual as strength levels vary, but your shins should be as close to parallel as possible.
3) Started way behind the line
His foot position was farther away from the line as I like to see. This turns a 40 yard dash to a 41 or 42 yard dash. In the stopwatch game, that could be the difference between a 4.50 and a 4.46. Which one sounds better to you? Again, you will only be able to “hug” the line if you have sufficient upper body strength.
4) 1.60 10 yard Dash
His ten yard dash should be faster. This distance is the area that can be most affected in a short period of time. It can be affected with lower body strength, flexibility, and power drills. The objective in this phase of the 40 is to take big steps naturally. I repeat do not try to force the body to stay it low it should be natural because you have the required relative body strength as well as flexibility to obtain that position. My 40 yard dash did not hit 4.30 until my 10 yard dash was a 1.47. We had a LB we worked with that was running a 5.0 40 and a 1.99 10 yard dash. When his 10 yard dash became a 1.67 range he was able to run a 4.65. We spent most of our time working on our stance and running 10 yard dash times.
5) 1st step extremely short( Next to start line)
His first step was very close to the start line, which meant he was not covering much ground on his first step. This is due to how far he was behind the line. We cue our athletes to take a 1 yard to 1 yard and a ½ step as their body allows to reach out. Remember, the name of the game is to cover ground. You do not want to have fast feet and do not cover much ground. You should get to the 10 yard marker in no more than 7 steps. I would rather have 5 to 6 steps from my athletes. On another note, you have to think of your first step as more of a power movement. You must push off of both balls of your feet. Let’s think about it. You will jump much higher if you jump off of both feet versus one foot.
6) Body was not in a straight line/ Flexibility or Strength Issue
His body position shifted throughout the run. It might be a strength issue of not being able to hold his body position. You see this a lot with lack of “core” strength. And that includes more than just abs. We are talking about weaknesses in the hips, lower back, glutes, and hamstrings. This is why I like the optojump as it tells you where there are deficiencies in strength and imbalances. When those are fixed so is your body alignment and positioning. Think of it this way. When your car is aligned it runs better. Also, you must remember to cue the arm swing of hip to cheek as well as driving the elbows back. Also, a relaxed breathing technique that pushes air from the stomach as well as mouth we help with tight shoulders. Do not clench the hands or teeth as that will tighten the hips and legs. I am going to experiment with using a brainpad mouthpiece while sprinting as that has been shown to increase power output.
7) Too many steps to 10 Yard Dash/ I counted 8 Steps
We talked about the least amount of steps as possible being our goal. Stride Length is what the first 10 is about.
8) Forced Forward lean to 20 Yards
You should not force the body to lean down when it wants to naturally rise. I want you to try something. Bend down and try to raise your knees. It will not go very far as your stomach is closer to your body. But if you stand tall you put your muscles on stretch and have complete range of motion at the hips.
This is not a bash Morris Claiborne session as I think he is one of the best corners in the draft and well deserving of all his accolades. This is just a breakdown of some things I thought he could have done to enhance his performance in this drill