The most important part of every 40 yard Dash:Coach Jimmy Lamour with Lamour Training Systems

The most important part of every 40 yard Dash
Courtesy of Coach Jimmy Lamour, with Lamour Training Systems…

This topic came to my mind when my wife and I were watching the movie about the sprinter Jessie Owens. His track and field coach acknowledged his natural abilities, but thought he could become better if he worked on his stance. The stance is the most critical part of any successful 40 yard dash as if that is not done right the first step will be off. When you are trying to maximize every step it all starts with the starting point. I will lay the groundwork of what an effective looks like. We used to teach one stance, but we have found that some stances are not beneficial for certain body times. For instance, a person’s limb length, upper body strength, flexibility, and core strength can all be limiting factors when attempting to find an optimal stance. A great way to test the stance is to time the 10 yard dash and film it to see which stance produces the best times for that particular athlete.

A good starting point is to teach from the feet up. The feet should be shoulder width apart or what we call the under the arm pit position. This will give the athlete better support underneath them in order to push out of the first step. We like to think of the body as a group of joints that are linked together. You want to make sure you keep the joints underneath each other to create more stability. The pressure of the front foot should have about 75% of your weight on it, create an angle roughly 45-75 degrees, and the ball to midfoot should be the point of contact on the ground. The back foot should be knee to ball of foot position or middle of foot position and should be about a 90 degree angle. Remember, that whatever you give the ground is what it will give back to you. Your knees should be oriented towards the end of the race or you will create angles that pop you straight up at the beginning of the race.

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The back position should be flat as we are trying to keep the joints stacked. We also emphasize this position by telling the athlete to keep a straight line from ear to hip. A good way to keep a flat back position is to start with your hands and past the line to make sure your back is straight. Also, the head must be aligned with the back. This means the eyes should not be looking down the track, but looking about 1 yard ahead of the sprinter. You want to keep looking about 1 yard ahead of yourself for the first 10-15 yards of the sprint.

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Thirdly, the arm on the ground must be underneath the shoulder, so the joints can be stacked. This will also ensure that the sprinter can maintain the 3 point stance without being off balance. The hand near the hip should be slightly past the hip with the hands open. We should not be at a good position to push through the first step. Let me know if you would like more explanation on anything as I tried not to give to much as I could write a book on this topic. Hope these tips helped.

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Jimmy Lamour is a former Guilford College in Greensboro, NC All South Defensive Back. He set the record for interception return yards at the school. Upon Graduation, he tested numerous philosophies on strength and speed through seminars, self-study, conversation with renowned strength coaches, and training of hundreds of athletes. This led him to develop the 4.30 40 Speed System a system that helped him improve his 40 yard dash from a 4.66 to a 4.30, which gave way to many professional football workouts. He later developed Lamour Training Systems with the help of his lovely wife Charlene to help athletes improve their performance and receive knowledge he missed out on as a child. He continues to consult with several division 1, prep schools, and high school coaches. LTS has helped many football athletes play at the D1, D2, and D3 levels. He believes that his passion to see young men become all God intended them to be and provide knowledge of the defensive back position which will allow young athletes under the tutelage of Pick 6 Academy to flourish. He is currently certified as a Youth Fitness specialist, 7on7 Performance Director, and High School Strength & Conditioning Specialist. Also, Coach Lamour is a devout Christian. He has two children Camdon (19) and Micah (12).Sign up for his newsletter to receive his free speed report at on For more information, call 336-257-9151