Sprint or speed tests can be performed over varying distances, depending on the factors being tested and the relevance to the sport. The 40 Yard (36.6 meters) Dash is part of the SPARQ rating system for football, and their protocol is listed here.
purpose: The aim of this test is to determine acceleration, and also a reliable indicator of speed, agility and quickness.
pre-test: Explain the test procedures to the subject. Perform screening of health risks and obtain informed consent. Prepare forms and record basic information such as age, height, body weight, gender, test conditions. Measure and mark out the test area. Perform an appropriate warm up. See more details of pre-test procedures.
procedure: The test involves running a single maximum sprint over 40 yards, with the time recorded. A thorough warm up should be given, including some practice starts and accelerations. Start from a comfortable stationary 3-point stance position, a position that is most familiar to you and that you think will yield the best time. The front foot must be on or behind the starting line. This starting position should be held for 3 seconds prior to starting, you may lean across the starting line, and no rocking movements are allowed. The tester should provide hints to maximizing speed and encouragement to continue running hard past the finish line. See video examples of the Sprint Tests.
|40 yard Sprint Scores (general guidelines)|
|College Footballers||4.6 - 4.9 secs|
|High School Footballers||4.9 - 5.6 secs|
|Recreational College athletes (male)||~5.0 secs|
|Recreational College athletes (female)||~5.8 secs|
results: Two trials are allowed, and the best time is recorded to the nearest 2 decimal places. The timing starts from the first movement (if using a stopwatch) or when the timing system is triggered, and finishes when the chest crosses the finish line and/or the finishing timing gate is triggered. See some 40 yard sprint test results.
target population: football and other sports in which speed over that distance is important
reliability: Reliability is greatly improved if timing gates are used. Also weather conditions and the running surface can affect the results, and these conditions should be recorded with the results. If possible, set up the track with a crosswind to minimize the effect of wind.
notes: 40 yards is 36.58 meters.
The Test in Action
- This test is part of the SPARQ rating system for football.
- General information about Sprint or Speed Testing
- See some 40 yard sprint test results.
- Training for speed
- Videos of Speed Testing
- The SPARQ rating system for baseball
- About the SPARQ rating system
- Warming up for sprint testing
- Other anaerobic tests and about anaerobic testing
- All about timing gates
- Sprint Test Results
- World Records for Speed tests