60 yard Dash: Breaking 7 Seconds
You get up to the line, set up, and SPRINT. As you get through the finish line you hope when you look up or go up to the coach you see that your time is under 7 seconds. That's the goal, breaking 7 seconds. You hear every coach, scout, and dad talk about it. Coaches want that speed. To be honest, you may not even get on someone’s radar unless you can break 7 seconds.
I would be lying if I said everyone has the potential to break 7 seconds. For some, they may not have that next level speed to achieve that. With that said, I am going to lay out how to train to break 7 seconds: from technique to the volume it takes.
Effort & Consistently
Unless you are gifted, you will have to work hard to break 7 seconds. That means putting in the necessary time.
- Acceleration training 2-3x per week
- Top-end speed training 1-2x per week
- Strength training 2-3x per week
- Adequate rest and recovery
Acceleration training is the most important part of the 60 yard dash. Why? Because this is where most athletes struggle. Understanding how to put yourself in the best position to accelerate is important. There is a lot of controversy here. Crossover step or jab step - which one do you use? Your travel coach tells you one and your school coach tells you another. You watch a video of a random guy telling you to do something completely different. You're confused and have no idea what to do. Don’t worry, I have you covered. JAB STEP! All of the best base stealers of all time utilize this technique. Why? Because it is the most efficient way to accelerate. Here's a quick read on why.
Also, watch this video of Mike Trout that shows the jab step.
The technique after the jab step is crucial. Your legs should move like pistons. The knee drives forward (in direction of second base) and the foot comes down behind you. I like to think you are trying to roll up a carpet as your sprint. So you push your foot down and back to propel yourself forward. Hence why sprinters use blocks in their start to push against them.
Top-end speed is reached after about 15-20 yards (this varies from athlete to athlete). Yes, I did say acceleration is more important, but we cannot discount top-end speed because if acceleration is the pasta, top-end speed is the sauce. And what’s pasta without a good sauce?
The mechanics are very different from acceleration. It is a lot more cyclical, your legs move in more of a cycle instead of pistons in acceleration. Also your foot strike will be more under your center of mass instead of behind you. You are almost bouncing off the ground to go forward.
When do you transition from acceleration to top-end speed? It happens naturally. It's not something you necessarily think about. As you pick up speed, your angles start to rise, foot strikes more under you, and leg action transitions.
Strength training is a major part of training for sports in general. For sprinting it helps with increase in rate of force. Meaning how quickly you can apply power in each step. Not only do you want your strides to be quick, but you want it to be able to create horizontal displacement, especially in acceleration. The way you train is crucial. If you are following a bodybuilding routine of bench, curls, and dips you probably won’t see an improvement in your 60 yard dash.
I recommend working with a strength and conditioning coach who will create a program that fits your needs and goals.
A few exercises I would recommend
Keep the weight light to moderate and move with good intention.
Rest and recovery is a must. This includes nutrition, hydration, sleep, mobility, etc. You need to fuel and make sure your body has time to recover from all of the training.
I typically schedule recovery days after top-end speed days because those tend to be the most taxing on the body.
- Mobility circuit
- Foam roll
Just like workouts, you need to put effort into every aspect of your recovery.
As promised, here's an example of what a speed session may look like. Click picture for access!