Article about 40 times

You’ve heard the old adage – faster than lightning. Well, it’s starting to seem that as football recruiting becomes more popular with fans, coaches and the players themselves, many of the recruits’ 40-yard dash times have been going down quicker than the time it actually takes to run the sprint.

Last year’s recruiting database featured around 40 players that claimed to have run 40 times in the 4.3-second range. However, looking at the NFL Combine results for the past few years something doesn’t seem to compute.

The average time for running backs at this spring’s NFL Combine was 4.62 seconds. The receivers averaged 4.52 seconds and the corners averaged 4.57-second times.

So what gives?

How do these kids go from faster than lightning times in high school to slower times after college?

The answer is simple, one college coach said.

“The kids are lying and the people that time them also are doing it wrong,” the coach from the SEC said.

"The recruits and the recruits parents are willing to do about anything to get attention, with the idea that if you run fast then you’re going to get a lot of scholarship offers. But what they’re really doing is bending the truth most of the time.

“And then you have players that go to these camps and combines that are run by people that aren’t trained in timing players correctly. When you do that, you’re for sure going to get inaccurate times. Even a lot of the high school coaches aren’t accurate with their times. They’re taught how to be football coaches, not track coaches.”

But what about the times of kids that attend a school’s summer camp?

It’s definitely not uncommon for a player to come back with a great time from an event in June.

Another college coach from the Big 12 said it’s common for a school to tell a recruit they covet that he ran a lower 40 time, in hopes that the excitement from that low time could make him see that school more favorably.

But not all schools do that.

Missouri had more than 500 kids participate in either their one-day camp or full-contact camp. Of the 500-plus players, only four players broke a 4.5-second time.

With that in mind, Rivals100 has worked with several college coaches and trainers to come up with a generic guideline that can be easily applied to help give a better idea on accurate 40-yard dash times.

As long as the player is normal in proportion and doesn’t have shorter legs or isn’t a long strider, then the following formula should be accurate 80 to 90 percent of the time.

100-meter time
40-yard dash time










What people tend to forget is that a 40-yard dash time of 4.5 or even 4.6 seconds is blistering fast.

“If you have a kid that runs a legit 4.5 then he’s plenty fast enough to play Division I football,” the coach from the SEC said. “That’s still a very fast time - even for running backs.”

Kansas City (Kan.) Schlagle coach Steve Szczygiel, who coached Maurice Greene in high school said his fastest 40-yard dash time was around 4.39 seconds.

And Greene is now the world’s fastest human and was one of the greatest track stars coming out of high school.

So look for to be more stringent about its 40 listings in the future. Gone are the days that will have tons of players listed with times that are hard to justify.

It’s just another way that Rivals100 is working hard toward providing the fans with the ultimate and most accurate recruiting information around.

Will we see a revolution in how 40’s are done?

Good article, but the 40yd/100m conversion chart included in the article is absolutely brutal.

How close is it to truth?

At the very top of the chart it seems fairly accurate, but the further down you go, the less accurate it becomes. Assuming the 40’s are being timed with electronic gates, I think you can subtract at least .3 from an FAT time. A 10.5 sprinter would probably go through 40 meters in around 4.90 FAT, then you’d get 4.60. Subtract another 3 tenths for the conversion of yards to meters, and I would estimate a 10.5 sprinter could run a 4.30. For an 11.0 sprinter I would say 4.5, 11.5 about 4.7, 12.0 about 4.9.

2 of my athletes were at a football team try out this weekend. They had the 40s times in a school hallway by some random guy (possibly the janitor of the school…though I know of one janitor or former janitor who would be qualified), anyways, they were amonst the fastest but the funny part is is that they had their 10 yard time taken as well. 10 yards hand-timed!!! Hahahaha. That is priceless.

“As long as the player is normal in proportion and doesn’t have shorter legs or isn’t a long strider”

HOW MANY HIGH SCHOOL PLAYER’S ARE IN NORMAL PROPORTION AND DON’T HAVE SHORT LEGS OR ISN’T A LONG STRIDER? I agree that 40 yard dash test are rarely accurate but I don’t like that statement as most football recruits are some what out of proportion as they like athletes from 6’2"-6’7" and there bodies are awkward from puberty.

Are the 40’s discussed in the article hand-timed or electronic? How are the 40’s timed at the combine? I recently ran a 4.57 40 last week, yet it was hand timed… Im guessing the 40 is supposed to be electronically timed, am I right?

Don’t quote me on this, but I do believe that they are all hand-timed.

I think in many of the professional combines they use electronic gates for timing.

As a high school football and track coach who’s worked with plenty of guys who play both sports, I’d say that Alex’s correlative 100/40 times are very accurate.

If that 40 table is correct then why dont we see football players who suppose to run 4.2 and 4.3 competing in track. I have always questioned those times. I have ran against a guy who was times at 4.16 day before a meet and blew him out from start to finish in the 100.

Also, what about the guys who have awesome acceleration, but they’re SE isnt exactly where it should be? Wouldnt it then be possible for a guy to be running 4.5 in the 40 but still not be able to break 11 in the 100?

I have an football / track athlete who is going to walk on at a D1A school for football. His best 100 time this year is 11.00. This was on a fairly calm day, but possibly with a little wind at his back. He has been timed in the 40 at 4.58 (hand timed last fall on grass with cleats), 4.52 (at a D2 school on a recruiting workout), and 4.53 (hand timed on pavement in tennis shoes with about a 10 mph wind at his back. Last spring he ran 10.97 on a completely calm day hand timed. He is 6-2 and about 200 lbs. I don’t agree with the chart. I think it’s possible to run a faster 40 time and not be as fast in the 100.
I don’t claim to be especially knowledgeable about this, but it just doesn’t pan out for in my mind.
I assume there is a difference between fully automatic time and the electric timing that most football schools use, if they use it. I always heard that you would subract about .17 from the electronic 40 time to get the equivalent hand time, and that you add .3 to go from hand time to FAT in track.
I also believe all the combine stuff is hand timed.

One of my favorites is the fact that the RCA domes’ artificial surface has for years been commonly described as “notoriously slow”. I seriously doubt it was slow but rather many of the athletes were not accustomed to recieving accurate feedback as to their actual 40 yard times due to the varied timing methods and conditions that many players had been tested under. That said, I believe that surface was replaced soon after the combines because it was a relatively old surface.

We time the kids like this: Hold the watch and start it as soon as we see any movement. Stop it when they hit the line.
What are some tips to make it more accurate?

Electronic time, Hand time is very questionable but that is what colleges live by today. It just doesnt make any sense a person can be that fast in the 40 then slow down that much in the 100 meters. That comment was for guys running 4.2 and 4.3

What they need is an electronic gate shortly past the start line and another at the finish.
No hand pad starts or anything like that that can be “techniqued”. However, this would put alot of combine coaches out of business who teach the way to start to make the race shorter etc etc. I think the colleges don’t want to be accurate…they want to be able to control who runs fast and who doesn’t…that way they can make their scouts look smarter…who wants their number one hyped recruit getting smoked by some unknown??
I saw it all the time at a local HS…the coaches favorites would run a 4.6…and the faster guy who wasn’t liked ran a 5.0…that way the coach had reason to start his favorite…luckily bigger HS track meets have electronic so the bullshit gets swept away.

Even when there isn’t intentional bias, unconscious bias can creep in: a guy seen as fast may get the benefit of a quicker click at the finish.
When we look at track times of elite sprinters, with spikes, on a track, from blocks, some times bandied about for FBers seem rather dubious.

Badgerman I agree 100%. I seen the same thing high school, college and even the NFL. Coaches recruit guys and all week you hear “this guy ran a 4.2 and slipped on his start”. Then check his big 10 conference 100 meter time 11.06 (andre Johnson of miami) you be like yeah he ran a 4.2 alright in the 40 feet dash.

And another thing…what’s the difference between hand timing a ten OR a forty…the forty might be even more inaccurate because of the higher velocity at the finish. When scholarships etc are on the line you would think the coaches would use a system where no human error factors in. Video taping and using slo-motion analysis would be one way to do it…At 30 frames per second it’s pretty easy to get an EXACT time.