Not running a fast 60-yard dash? You’re not alone! I had the same issue for the majority of my playing career. It wasn’t until later in my collegiate career (senior year) where I finally lowered my 60 time from a 7.4 to a 6.42.
How did I do this?
I was always training hard and was pretty strong, but I neglected to improve my top speed running mechanics, acceleration mechanics, and any kind of mobility based training. Once I finally saw the importance of each and started actively applying multiple sprint drills, heavy sled drags, and movement based training to my daily workouts, things really started to change for me. In about a 12-18 month period my 60 time dropped a whole second.
How can YOU improve your 60-yard dash?
First, you need to improve your relative strength. The stronger you are the more force you’re going to be able to apply into the ground with each foot strike. What this does is propel your body further in space. This will lead to a longer stride.
Here’s a CRAZY display of relative strength by Marlins outfielder Matt Brooks (trap bar deadlifting 550 pounds, which is 3 times his bodyweight):
It should come as no surprise that Matt is also extremely fast.
Next, you need to be MOVE BETTER! Flexibility and mobility are huge. It wasn’t until later in my college baseball career that I spent time improving my mobility and flexibility. By improving flexibility and mobility in my hips and legs I was able to improve extension of my hip, knee, and ankle while accelerating.
Now we have to talk about sprinting technique for the 60-yard dash. Let’s start with Acceleration Technique. The first phase of your sprint in the 60 yard dash is known as the acceleration phase. For this phase your goal should be to maintain a steep forward lean and a positive shin angle. This will give you the best mechanical advantage to accelerate and dominate the first 10 yards of the 60 yard dash.
Here’s an example of a speed and power hill workout:
Exercises to Improve Acceleration Technique: Sled Drags, Sled Pushes, Hill Sprints, Push-Up Sprint Start, Mountain Climber Sprint Start
Once you have concluded the acceleration phase of your 60 yard dash you will approach the Top Speed or max velocity phase where your body angle will shift to more of an upright posture. During this phase you want your foot strike to be directly underneath your center of gravity and you want to perform more of a cycle action of the lower limbs, as opposed to the drive action we’re looking for with acceleration.
Exercises to Improve Top Speed Running Technique: Flying Sprints, Speed Bounds, Straight-Leg Bounding, Running High Knees
The above is from our free 8-week speed program Six Stages of Speed. If you haven’t gotten it yet, you can grab it here.
Now that we talked about some specific exercises and speed drills you can incorporate in your training to lower your 60-yard dash we have to talk about how to warm up properly before you run your 60-yard dash. This is SUPER important because you want to prepare your body in the most efficient way possible so you have the best opportunity to DOMINATE the 60!
Here’s a pre-sprint warmup you can use:
Finally, you’re ready to practice your start technique! The start technique shown in the video below is the same starting stance I used to run an elite 60-yard dash (when I played) and continue to utilize with my high school and college athletes to DOMINATE the 60!
Now get sprinting!