The 40-yard dash is the most widely used measure of explosive speed. It can be the difference between playing college football and not making the team.

No matter what position you play, speed is important. Football coaches and college recruiters are all going to review your 40-yard dash time. Players spend hours on hours running, jumping and lifting to try to lower their 40-yard dash time.

While football workouts are very important, it may be equally beneficial for you to learn and practice the following techniques that will help you shave some time off your 40-yard dash:

Stance: It’s one of the most underrated parts of running, yet it’s one of the most important. The initial push is where many runners lose crucial tenths of seconds – don’t fall into this trap! Start with your strongest leg forward, as this is the leg you will push off with. One way to find out which leg is your strongest is to see which leg you jump higher off of. Put this foot as close to the line as you can get it. The front of your back foot should be about the distance from your fingertip to elbow from the back of your front foot (if anything, a little bit longer). Whether you want to be in a 2, 3, or 4 point stance is completely up to you. All that matters is that you start in a low athletic position that promotes an explosive forward movement. If you do elect to use a 3 or 4 point stance, it’s key that you do not put too much weight on your hands (your knuckle should not be white). Finally, NO part of your body should be across the starting line, or you risk getting disqualified.

The Sprint: Your first couple steps should be short and choppy to get a little momentum. As you gain speed they should be getting bigger and bigger, and by the end you should be in full stride. The number one thing people tend to forget when they sprint is the importance of their arms. You should be pumping your arms just as hard as your legs. It will incorporate your core and give you that added explosiveness.

The Finish: After putting so much work into your 40, you want to give yourself the best chance to get a low time, so finish strong. You should run full speed all the way through the finish line. You will see many people in the combine push their chest out at the last second. By leaning in at the very last second, you may shave a little extra off you time; however, this may throw you off balance, so if you’re going to do this, make sure to practice beforehand.