Wednesday, March 6, 2013

40 Yard Perfection

Every year, I am amused by the football players coming out of high school and their precise, and extreme, knowledge (or at least what they think they know) regarding the start position for the 40 yard dash.

The athlete will walk up to the line and then step off every single dimension and angle possible, to position the front foot exactly so. When I watch these guys, I feel like I am watching the most complex algorithm playing out in real time right in front of my face... (A half a foot length this way, another foot length that way, back a half a foot length another way)

And then, they repeat the step off dimensions and angles process for the back foot.

After which the athlete has their feet placed, will crouch down, as if they are using starting blocks.

And then, start with the process of positioning the hand that will be placed on the ground.

And, then bring the hips up to set the angles of the legs just so.

And then, bring the hips back down, and do it again (sometimes going back to re-stepping off both foot positions.

So the whole process is done again, and sometimes a third. Finally, after what seems like about 10 minutes later, they are in ready, and cock the free arm back into position, with the finger tips fluttering - set to go.

AMAZING. The detail. The precision. Just AMAZING.

I did not know how such an athlete just out of high school, could have such a biomechanical awareness and detail of one specific skill.

I wonder how well they know their position on the football field?



Josh Leeger said...

It's funny isn't it?

Is it something like 3% of high school football players will play in college, and .02% will play in the NFL?

Not sure of the exact stats, but it's close to that.

So what, exactly, are they focusing on?

It's a metric they can use to compare themselves to/against others.

How much of human behavior is driven solely by this comparison-engine?

And knowing that this seems to be a "natural" driver of human animals, how does one use it to their advantage?

Aaron Schwenzfeier said...


Find ways to measure aspects of each position, that are outside the 'normal' stats.

Many good college programs do this within their position groups.