Figure 1. Not many kids run 5.45 at age 9. Speed can be treated as a genetic trait or a skill. Although a genetic component is indisputable, speed can be taught and learned.

You are watching: 20 yard dash times by age

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Photo 4. Chad Lakatos is the only Illinois coach to win a Class A and Class AAA state championship. Notice his son, Clayton, is wearing his soccer uniform; you don’t have to give up other sports to be a sprinter.

Clayton’s additional marks at age 9. All of these are sprint-dependent.

100m 15.2200m 33.3400m 1:25.4Long Jump 12’0”High Jump 4’0”
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Photo 5. Isaiah Michl, coached by Chad Lakatos, as a senior at Edwardsville two years ago. Isaiah ran on state championship 4×1 and 4×2 teams, although he was better known as a hurdler (37.13 in the 300 hurdles). Isaiah now runs at the University of Illinois.

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Photo 6. Clayton Lakatos, age 10, is also coached by Chad Lakatos, his father. Compare his form to Isaiah’s, who is a few years older.

Speed Training Makes Football Players Faster: T.J. Kane, High School Athlete

T.J. Kane was a typical athletic kid. He was best at throwing and catching a football. As a freshman, T.J. was my starting quarterback for a team that went 9-0, outscoring their opponents 458-38. As a sophomore, T.J. again quarterbacked his group to a 9-0 season. Then something crazy happened. T.J. went out for the track team and got fast. T.J. is now an elite high school wide receiver and plans to play college football.

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Photo 7. T.J. Kane races for the end zone, scoring the first touchdown in Plainfield North’s 42-0 rout of Highland Park in round #1 of the 7A IHSA Playoffs.

I don’t think fast was ever used to describe T.J. as a young athlete (that’s a polite way to say that T.J. was slow). He’s still not a candidate to run on my 4×1, but he sure looks fast on the football field. Based on the graphs below, we expect T.J.’s speed numbers to improve.

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Figure 2. T.J. Kane did not begin consistent speed training until his freshmen year in high school. His time in the 10m fly continues to drop.

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Figure 3. As a sophomore and junior, T.J. speed trained from December until May, and his times in the 40-yard dash continue to improve.

Athletes get fast when they develop good sprint habits. I believe every football player should sprint train consistently starting at the end of football, continuing through the track season, and into the summer. We are what we do.

T.J.’s dad, Tim Kane, is the head football coach at Plainfield North High School. I’ve been on Coach Kane’s football staff for eleven years. Tim has always promoted my speed training. We have our differences, but we always agree on the subject of speed. You might see this as a natural relationship between a football coach and a track coach, but it’s often the opposite. Football coaches sometimes use the term track speed as a dog whistle for wimp speed.


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Last week, when I told a track coach to bring their football coach to TFC-4, the track coach replied, “We have a better chance of developing cold fusion.”

Where to Find Sprint Training

The best way to get fast is to join the track team. Competition and measured efforts take athletes to new levels. I cannot emphasize this enough.

Off-Season Speed Training: Sprint Coaching Methods to Look For

Make sure sprinting is timed. If sprinting is not timed, it’s not sprinting. If you see a Freelap timing system, you know you’re on the right track. If you see the sprint coach meticulously recording times and giving athletes instant feedback, you have the right place.Look for a sprint coach who believes in alactic training. Alactic training is maximum intensity work for less than ten seconds followed by enough rest to repeat the effort on the next attempt. Mindless weight lifting, grueling aerobic workouts, and multiple repeats of 200 meters have no place in sprint training.Look for a sprint coach who believes in alactic training. Click To TweetIf you see mini-hurdles, the coach probably knows his stuff. Wicket drills (running over mini-hurdles) is a staple of sprint training. Remember, sprinters pick up their feet, lift their knees, and then deliver vertical force.Look for a sprint coach whose strength training looks different than your high school football team back in the 80’s or 90’s. The old bench press, curl, and squat guys are going extinct, thankfully. By the way, sprinting is the best strength exercise I know.Find someone who has a true track and field sprint background.Video analysis is a part of every reputable sprint program. In today’s era of slow motion video on every iPhone, it’s inexcusable to train without video.If you see a poster saying Train Smarter, Not Harder, you’ve probably found the right place.

Off-Season Speed Training: Sprint Coaching Methods to Avoid

If a speed coach tries to convince your kid to specialize in one sport, sever ties immediately. No entrepreneurial coach should put training in conflict with playing multiple sports.If you see guys running with parachutes behind them, turn around and walk out. Sprint training requires ground contact times of a fraction of a second (0.08 in elite sprinters). If you are pushing things, pulling things, running slowly uphill, or running with parachutes, your contact time won’t be 0.08. You might as well be wearing ankle weights (don’t wear ankle weights either). Note: I’m talking sprint training. Coaches will often push and pull things to train acceleration. When accelerating, ground contact times are much longer than max-speed sprinting. In my opinion, the best indicator of sprint ability is max-speed. The 10m fly is a much better predictor of success than the 10m start. Give me a guy who runs 25 mph, and acceleration will be learned quickly.The best indicator of sprint ability is max-speed. Click To TweetBe cautious of speed training with ex-NFL players and ex-college athletes who failed to graduate. In my experience, these entrepreneurs attempt to use their athletic resume to hide their inexperience as coaches.Too many ex-football players are addicted to the grind of football training. The grind has nothing to do with sprinting. Training hard seven days a week will make athletes slow and trainers rich.Avoid places that advertise muscled-up athletes wearing No Pain, No Gain t-shirts with cut-off sleeves. Bodybuilding is for magazine covers, not for speed.If you see a sign that says, Train Insane or Remain the Same, run away.

Track Football Consortium IV

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Let your kids play sports and enjoy their brief athletic careers. If you want to maximize your kid’s chances for success, teach them to sprint because speed kills, and you don’t get fast by running slow.

If you’re interested in becoming a sprint coach, start by attending the Track Football Consortium IV December 2nd and 3rd.

Since you’re here……we have a small favor to ask. More people are reading moment-g.com than ever, and each week we bring you compelling content from coaches, sport scientists, and physiotherapists who are devoted to building better athletes. Please take a moment to share the articles on social media, engage the authors with questions and comments below, and link to articles when appropriate if you have a blog or participate on forums of related topics. — SF


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Rich

November 11, 2016 at 5:56 am


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Scott Umberger

November 18, 2016 at 4:42 pm


Great post. My 3 yr does nothing but run around my 8,200 sq foot facility. We have a puppy that’s added “incentive” to run faster! ha! My only disagreement is the multiple sport comment. Here’s my issue. I’m all for playing everything. I lettered in 4 sports in high school and played small D1 football and track(sprinting). The current issue with sport is that these kids just compete year round. I have two baseball players that finally stopped playing basketball. Why? When can they train and actually work on speed? They’re playing 2-3 games a week and practicing the rest all basketball season, not to mention the summer open gyms that they have to attend. Plus they see baseball skill guys. In the summer, they’re basically playing everyday so I have to be cautious with sprint and strength volume. The results? Since September I’ve been seeing them 3 times a week. The junior has gained almost 20 lbs and dropped from a 6.9 to a 6.68 electronic. His exit velocity(ball leaving the bat) went from 82 to 89-90 mph. 90 is D1. The sophomore dropped from a 7.2 to a 6.8 electronic. I have a freelap, but these time are done at showcases and happen what seems like every weekend. (gots to make money right).

My point is that freaks can play 2-4 sports. The kids that are close or need the extra work, can’t afford to compete year round. There isn’t any time to train. Especially with a stupid sport coach that beats the hell out of the players.


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Nate Castro

January 12, 2018 at 12:58 pm


I highly doubt what you are saying.


I coach in a soccer academy for kids born in 2012 so they are either 6 or 7 years old right now. I have timed many of them in 40 yards as it is a standard part of my testing protocol.

Of around 50 kids (almost all of them are athletically gifted as this is academy level Soccer)

Their age at the time of testing plays a big part of their results since one year to a 6 or 7 year old can mean a lot of growth and progress.

The range of times was from 8.2 seconds to 6.17 seconds with most of them coming in at around 7.3 seconds. These times were set in May and will be retested in November/December and then every 6 months. I will update this for the group in the hope that it helps to benchmark for others.


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Julia Curran

January 16, 2017 at 7:49 am


This is a great article for those of us competing in masters track and field to read, too. I returned to competition after a 35 year break (yes, you read that right). I remember running cross country and endless 400-laps in high school in the 70’s for training though I was a sprinter and high jumper. Returning to the sport now, I was concerned that to get better at high jump (my chosen event in masters, am now a two-time national champion W55+) that I’d have to do all that distance work. Thank goodness great coaching minds have put the kibosh on that. My other point is, I agree with the above points about sensible training schedules and intensity for youth. Track & field can be a life long sport, if you’re not doing killer-mentality training at age 14, thus wearing out parts. I’ll take this article to my masters athlete friends and share. It’s a great one!


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Rick

July 16, 2017 at 8:30 pm


I have a 7 year old old daughter that can sprint. She is running a 6.4 second 40 meter consistently. She is getting faster and faster. All she cares about is being fast, oh and loving Jesus.


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Steve

November 23, 2017 at 7:43 am


6.4 40 metres aged 7?

Congratulations – you have the fastest 7 year old in the hisotry of the human race. Or you’re lying….


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Eddie Castaneda

August 18, 2017 at 4:12 pm


I’m glad I ran across your article, I will make sure to share. What I found especially useful was the information you provided in regards to pulling, climbing exercises…for example parachutes, uphill climbing. I had heard uphill climbing was great was speed. Because of your article I quickly bought agility hurdles instead of the parachute.

Could you answer a question for me? You mention pulling pushing climbing as bad…what’s your opinion on resistance bands?


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Tony Holler

August 19, 2017 at 9:46 am


I’m a believer in specificity. Therefore, sprinting at max speed is the best way to train. I’m not interested in things that slow you down.

Therefore, no sleds, no parachutes, no resistance, no sprint training against the wind.

Sprinting is neurological, not muscular. As soon as you accept this, it all becomes clear.


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Ted

April 14, 2018 at 12:19 am


Tony, do you have age based tables on the 40 yard dash?


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Sumeet

May 13, 2018 at 4:22 pm


My kid has been training for tennis and running since he was 2.5 years. He goes to the sports club everyday for sprinting and swimming. He also play tennis every other day. He is currently 5 years and 2 months. We mostly do 100 meter running. I tried training him for sprinting, but he mostly wants to have fun on the race track and wants to race whoever is jogging on the race track.

Below are his 100 meter timings:

3.5 years – 36 seconds4 years – 30-32 seconds5 years – 26-30 seconds5 years and 2 months – 22-28 seconds

We asked the coaches about sprint training. They recommended that there is no special sprint training at the club. They only recommended that kid at his age play multiple sports. He is too young to join most of the soccer teams( at least in my town) though in couple of months he will be playing in a soccer team.

My wife is a doctor. From diet perspective, my kid does not eat salt or spicy food. Occasional candies are OK. We make sure he gets enough sleep time (10 -12 hrs) and eats 2 hrs before the sports actvities. This comes naturally to him because my wife doesn’t eat salty or spicy food either. However, I think it helps his athletic abilities.

There are times when he doesn’t feel like going to the club and we let him decide his schedule. I specifically tell him that if its not fun, he shouldn’t be doing it. Just try to hold his temptation where he actually wants to do more of it.

He also had growing pains. I was worried that we were overdoing the sports activities, but his doctor recommended that this is normal in 5 year old kids and that he should continue his sports activities.

I have been playing tennis for 20 years and I have seen parents push their kids to the limit. So my current objective is to let a kid be a kid.


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Thomas

July 31, 2018 at 11:45 pm


Hi,Thanks for this great poste. I just begun to train my 6y and 10 months old son on the sprint for his soccer gamme. One of the difficulties is to fond timing references grids. But when i see that at thé end of thé first training session, he gained 0.7 seconds on 15m sprint (3.16s, 17km/h), it puts me in an optimistic mood. Would you have à more extended ref timings grid by ages available somewhere ? Thanks à lot


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Patrick

August 18, 2019 at 4:09 pm


I’ve always timed my oldest, who’s a girl, once a year just before her birthday. It’s not FA but I’m very accurate with a stopwatch. That said, I usually don’t start the watch til she begins moving and run next to her so my timing might be off by 0.2 or so…though I feel like I usually wait til she goes through the line a little to stop.

Anyway, as an old one year old: 19.0Old 2 year old: 13.3Old 3 year old: 10.7Old 4 year old: 9.0—just did this one today.

No training at all. I’m sure she’ll plateau big time at some point but it’s fun to go out and do once a year.

See more: Percentage Calculator: What Is 20 Percent Of 110 Calculator, What Is 20 Percent Of 110


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T Smith

September 19, 2019 at 6:37 pm


Lol…this is complete BS. If this kid ran a legit 5.7 40 as an 8 year old, I have ocean front property in AZ you can buy. We train elite 10 & 11 year old athletes that run in the 5.7\5.8 range. These are the fastest kids in the city. This is complete BS. No way an 8 year old can run this fast. But wait, this kid will run a 3.8 by the time he’s 15 right? Lol.