Improve Your 40-Yard Dash Time With Tips From Cleveland’s Anthony Schwartz

Improve Your 40-Yard Dash Time With Tips From Cleveland’s Anthony Schwartz

Anthony Schwartz is FAST. Not only did he run a 4.29 40 at the 2021 Combine, but the former track star also holds the world under-18 best in the 100 meters at 10.15 seconds. Even without a single pro game under his belt (yet), it’s safe to say Schwartz is one of the fastest players in the league.

While he’s currently prepping for his rookie season with Cleveland, the 2021 Draft Pick took a minute to chat with us about training for the Combine, the importance of the 40-yard dash, and the best ways to increase your explosiveness and cut down your times.

Q: Were there any differences when you were practicing getting off the line as quickly as possible in track vs. for the 40 yard dash? 

A: For the 40, you have to be a little more explosive because you don’t have those hundred meters to make up. The 40 is more about getting out and digging back and digging out.

Q: What is something vitally important to running a good 40 time that the casual observer might not think of? 

A: I would say it would have to be arms, because your legs can only move as fast as your arms are pumping. So you have to keep your arms going and keep them pumping in order to keep your legs moving fast. They also help you in the start, too. Explosive arms help you get off to an explosive start. 

Q: What is another test at the Combine that could boost a receiver’s stock? 

A: I would say the 5-10-5 shuttle drill because it shows your short-range agility. It also helps you follow directions, because you have to touch the line and if you don’t, it shows you aren’t good at following directions. It’s more mental than physical, but it’s still very physical and can help a receiver up their stock. 

Q: Do you think that the 40-yard dash is still a useful test to measure someone’s speed on the football field or do you think it’s a little outdated?

A: I think for skill positions it’s still helpful. Really the most important part is the ten-yard split, but it shows that you’re able to maintain that speed, and having them run it again shows that they’re able to do it consistently. But I think lineman should only run 10 or 15 yards because if they’re running more than 10 or 15 yards in a game-time situation, then their job is done. 

Q: How much focus is there on running a good 40 time versus prepping and focusing on the other Combine drills? 

A: There’s more focus on the 40 because that’s kind of the make or break for some people. Some people wanna run a fast 40 because they need to, others just have to maintain their 40, so the 40 is really the most important thing. The other drills just kinda fall in because they’re not really looking to that as much as they’re looking at the 40. 

Q: Do you ever think we will see someone run a sub 4-second 40? 

A: I think it could be possible, but I don’t think it would be by a football player. I think it would have to be a track runner or something. 

Q: What are some of the best workouts you do to increase your acceleration? 

A: I like doing sled pulls. You know, tying a sled around your waist and running with it. It helps make your starts more powerful and it also helps with endurance and being able to keep your speed up. 

Q: Were there any other workouts you were doing to prep for the 40? 

A: I was really focused on my start because I had the end of the race down. I wanted to get my start better and have it be more explosive. 

Q: What are some common exercises that athletes do to improve their speed that don’t actually help that much? 

A: I would say some stuff in the weight room that people do doesn’t work at all. The weight room will get you more powerful but it’s not going to get you faster. You have to be out on the field running. You have to be out on the track running. And it’s something that comes with time. People think it’s a short-term thing, but you’re never going to be out on the track one weekend and be that much faster. It’s a grind, something you have to buy into. 

Now that you have the tools to become the fasest player on the field, make sure you stock up on all the gear you need for a successful season. Shop FTBL X CLR at eastbay.com and suit up in your team’s colors.

Want more advice from the pros? We’ve got you covered. Here are the Five Tools You Need To Make It In The League, straight from some of the top players.

From The Pros: The Five Tools You Need To Make It To The League

From The Pros: The Five Tools You Need To Make It To The League

Do you have big dreams of making it to the league one day? To some, that might sound like a longshot, but every pro football player started out right where you are now – playing the game they love and dreaming of turning it into something more. So we asked some of the game’s best what it takes to turn those dreams into reality. From the pros themselves, here are the five tools you need to make it to the league.

1. Accountability

If you’re going to set big goals for yourself, you have to be ready to make sacrifices and put in the work. Coaches, trainers, teammates, and parents can give you the tools and support to play your best, but the fire you need to overcome obstacles and make it to the top can only come from within.

“My biggest goal for this season is to push myself against competition and get better every day,” said 2021 Minnesota draft pick Kellen Mond. “I will always have a super high standard for myself and I want to be able to set the bar high in everything that I do. The best advice that I would give to another kid with dreams of making it to the league would be to be your biggest self-critic. Do not allow others to have a higher standard for you than yourself.”
 
“Coaches, people who are working with me and helping me succeed and accomplish my goals, they matter,” said Philly QB Jalen Hurts. “Their voices matter. But as a leader, I try to be a man who’s going to do my job. I hold myself to the highest standard possible. So anything anyone else says, it doesn’t mean much to me.”

2. Work Ethic

Being accountable to yourself first means that every new workout, practice, and scrimmage is a chance to run tighter routes, make cleaner catches, or hold coverage better than the athlete you were yesterday. In a game of inches, most of the important growth happens when no one’s watching. It’s incremental improvement over time that’s going to make all the difference on game day, whether you’re lining up at a JV scrimmage or a Division I State Championship.

 

“Don’t let anyone outwork you,” said Los Angeles safety Derwin James. “You can’t control how much natural talent you were born with, but you can control how hard you work. Be early to practice. Stay late. Make sure you’re getting extra work in in the weight room or watching film. That’s the only way to make it.”
“You see my success on Sunday,” said Green Bay lineman David Bakhtiari, “but the work that goes in is Monday through Saturday. It’s in the offseason where I really sharpen my iron, put myself in the best situation so when I do come back and play, I can ask my body to do what’s necessary, to go through all the obstacles of a long, rigorous season.”
“You get out what you put in,” said Jalen. “I pride myself on putting something in every day – mentally, emotionally, physically – whatever it is, it all matters. You have to compete at everything you do.”
“It really comes down to just working hard, being a good teammate, and focusing on improving every day,” said Tampa Bay wide receiver Chris Godwin. “If you’re able to focus on that, then I think you’ll continue to improve and you’ll see your game take new strides and you’ll be a better player overall.”

3. Teamwork

It takes more than just a roster of talented players to build a championship team. You need chemistry, and that means building trust with your teammates and making sure you’re in sync on game day.

 

“You’re only as strong as your weakest link,” said David. “The offensive line is one of the few positions where all five of us need to be working together to have success. You can’t have individual success. I would say offensive line is the team position within the ‘ultimate team sport.’”
“The biggest lesson I learned from Tom Brady was just how simple you have to make the game,” explained Chris. “So many coaches are used to sticking to their formulas and philosophies, but really it just comes down to percentages. You’re trying to put yourself in the best position to be successful by adjusting plays at the line, being on the same page as your quarterback, and just making sure you’re putting your team in the best position to be successful.”

 

4. Resilience

In such a physical sport, setbacks are bound to happen. Suffering an injury can feel devastating, but the key to getting back in the game is to focus on healing and rebuilding your physical strength. After a season-ending meniscus tear in 2020, Derwin James had to face watching his team from the sidelines, but he refused to let adversity ger the best of him.

“It’s been tough for sure,” said Derwin. “Every time you watch a game and you’re not on the field, you keep thinking about all the plays you could make to help your team out. You have to be mentally tough to keep doing the rehab day in and day out, because it can get grueling for sure. Thankfully my teammates are always there supporting me, because a lot of them know what it’s like. I also lean on my family pretty heavily – they’ve always got my back encouraging me, telling me that I’ll come back stronger.”

 

If you make it to the top, it won’t just be physical injury that can derail you. The business of pro football can be overwhelming, and mistakes or losses on the national stage can be tough to recover from.

 

“As a team, you have to forget quickly in this business,” said David. “It can be very ‘what have you done for me lately,’ and that can leave a sour taste in your mouth. You should use it as motivation, but you shouldn’t dwell on it, because dwelling on something isn’t going to get the job done. Hard work, dedication, preparation, facing adversity, and making the necessary adjustments to get over that adversity is what you need to do in this league.”

 

5. Belief

Playing college ball or making it to the pros takes more than talent. It takes dedication, drive, and – maybe most importantly – belief.

“If you believe in yourself, anything is attainable,” said Jalen. “Put your mind to it, and you can go get it. That’s the message I send out to all kids, everywhere. Do what’s right because it’s right and go get it. You’ve gotta believe in yourself before you do anything.”

 

And when that belief pays off? Well, there’s nothing like it.

 

“Hearing my name called on draft night was an unbelievable feeling,” said Kellen. “One of the best feelings ever. You only have one opportunity to get your name called and it was something that I have worked for my entire life. Knowing all the work that it took to get to that point makes that moment extremely special.”
“Playing for my hometown team has been awesome,” said Chicago tight end Cole Kmet. “Growing up I loved watching some of those guys – Brian Urlacher and Charles Timmons – how they played, how they went about their business, it’s something I try to emulate. So, my advice to anyone trying to make it to this level is continue to work hard and enjoy playing the game you love.”

 

 

Now that you’ve got the tools, it’s time to stock up on the gear you need to make it to the top. Kick off your season with the best football apparel, cleats, accessories, and equipment – all in your team’s colors – when you shop Football By Color at eastbay.com.

Game Recognize Game: Coppell High School’s Malkam Wallace is our July Winner

Game Recognize Game: Coppell High School’s Malkam Wallace is our July Winner

Each month Eastbay is highlighting a top high school athlete by spotlighting their accomplishments both in and outside the game. This month’s winner is football and lacrosse player Malkam Wallace from Coppell High School in Texas.

One of three sophomores selected for Coppell’s varsity lacrosse team, Malkam knows how to step up and perform under pressure. He played a key defensive role in the team’s successful run to the THSLL Class A State Championship this past season while also earning a 3.78 GPA and logging community service hours through Coppell’s chapter of the Young Men’s Service League.

In addition to dominating on the lacrosse field and in the classroom – Malkam appeared on the A/B Honor roll last year and has been invited to the National Society of High School Scholars – Malkam also plays football. This fall, he’ll move up from JV and take a running back slot on Coppell’s varsity squad.

Here’s what Malkam had to say about his love for lacrosse, giving back to his community, and his plans for the future:

What’s your definition of a successful student-athlete?

For me, success as a student athlete is getting better each day and competing to be the best version of myself. I always try to improve, no matter what it is, be it football or lacrosse or just sports in general.

How did you first get into playing lacrosse?

My mom actually put me in when I was young. I think fourth grade is when I started playing, and since then I’ve loved the sport and stuck with it. I love how fast it is, the aspect that anything can change.

What was it like for you to be one of the younger players to make varsity?

It was exciting. It was me and I think two other guys as the young kids on varsity. It was a welcoming experience. I learned a lot from the older guys, so going into the future I’ll be able to pass down those skills and help younger players.

What benefits do you see in being a multi-sport athlete?

Being a multi-sport athlete is very beneficial to each game.Playing multiple sports develops different skills that impact more than your game. It impacts your skills outside the field and how you see each sport.

What has been the highlight of your athletic career so far?

Just recently, in my sophomore year, our varsity lacrosse team won our State Championship. We’re the THSLL Class A division. So, it was a great experience and being able to be with the guys and winning a State Championship was amazing.

Who is your role model in athletics?

I take a lot of inspiration from Jim Brown because he kind of reminds me of myself. He played football and lacrosse professionally and he wore number 32, as well.

What do you love most about competing?

What I love most about competition is that it motivates me to be better. I don’t like losing in general, so I think when I compete against people, it drives me to be a better athlete and win. I just love competing against others.

What are some of the goals you’d like to achieve after high school?

My main goal would be to make it to the next level – to receive an athletic scholarship to either play football or lacrosse. Getting there is gonna be a grind, I know that for sure. I know it won’t be easy. I’m not the biggest kid on the field, so I know I have to put a lot of work in, just keep my head down, and grind.

Can you tell me a little about your community service through the Young Men’s Service League?

The service league is a mom and son’s league where all the families come together to do service for communities in need. Recently, I helped build ramps for people with disabilities who needed help accessing their houses. And we’ll do things like helping special needs kids who just want to enjoy water parks or skate parks, just helping them go to those areas and have fun.

I love the feeling that I can personally be part of a bigger picture, that I’m putting something into the world and helping people who really need it.

 

 

To nominate a deserving athlete for Eastbay’s Game Recognize Game series, fill out the form here.

Make sure to follow us on Instagram @officialeastbay and @eastbaywomen

 

This Year’s Best Football Gear: Cleats And Gloves Built For How You Play

This Year’s Best Football Gear: Cleats And Gloves Built For How You Play

As you head back to the gridiron this fall football season, you don’t need just any cleat or glove — you need the best gear possible to help you leave a legacy on the field. That’s why the Eastbay team huddled up and created your 2021 Football Gear Guide — an in-depth breakdown of the best football gear for this fall season. We even divided it by style of player. So, whether you’re an explosive speedster, an agile playmaker, or a trench warrior, we’ve got gear built for you. And whether you’re rocking adidas, Nike, Under Armour, Jordan, or just looking for the flashiest products — we’ve got all of the best brands.

This cleat is built for those flashy players who stack moves on top of moves to gain separation. There are strategically placed bladed and conical studs that allow easier braking and quick multi-directional cuts. The insole is built with high-rebound SuperFoam that absorbs shock and provides a high degree of comfort. To top it all off, the upper is made of plush suede microfiber to give players a fantastic fit with structured performance.

Behind nearly every amazing catch is a pair of great receiving gloves. The UA F7 Receiver Glove is that pair. Built to give players the stickiness and comfort they crave, each pair has UA GlueGrip that provides long-lasting grip to make sensational catches. The 3D printed overlay and textured TurfGear on the back of the hand add support and breathability.

The Nike Vapor Edge Pro 360 provides the three big qualities players need on the football field: agility, speed, and traction. The internal chassis and wide stud placement are what provide the agility by helping players make quick cuts with ease while keeping the cleat flexible. The lightweight upper ensures that nothing holds players back as they fly across the field. The cleat also features external pods, which boost the traction.

A quarterback’s best friend is a receiver who catches anything thrown his way. The Nike Vapor Jet 6.0 is a glove that will help anybody secure even the toughest catches. The palms have sticky Magnigrip to maximize the catching surface, and there is a stabilizing, flexible coating on the fingers that gives players more control. The back of the gloves is made up of breathable, stretch-woven fabric to keep everyone’s hands cool and dry.

The adidas adiZero 11 is made for players whose games are built around speed. It is the lightest cleat in football, full stop. The upper is constructed of TPU overlays that are lightweight, durable, and comfortable. The Sprintfame plate with a reinforced heel works together with the Sprintstuds to provide 360-degree traction.

The adidas adiZero 11 Receiver Gloves will upgrade any receiver’s hands. They are crafted with ultra-grip fabric that allows players to snag balls that are too high, low, or behind them. The gloves have free range of motion in the wrist so there is more flexibility for the hands.

The Under Armour Highlight MC is a cleat like no other. This cleat is geared towards providing the stability, flexibility, and support every player craves on the field.  It features a lightweight, molded 4D Foam footbed that conforms to the shape of each player’s foot for a snug fit. It also utilizes the UA Scatter Traction cleat plate to give players the grip and bite to cut in any direction quickly. Lastly, it has engineered synthetics in the upper to provide support and stability.

It’s the subtle details and key technologies that make the UA Blur Receiver Glove one of the favorites among players. One of those crucial technologies is the Power Catch panels that give players support but are flexible in the right moments to help reduce injury. The gloves are made with HeatGear fabric that offers ventilation and provides lightweight performance. Plus, there is no topping UA GlueGrip tech that is super sticky, so players can make even the most outrageous catches.

Speed is the ultimate X-factor in the modern game, and the adidas adiZero Primeknit cleat embodies that. The extended lacing system keeps player’s feet centered over the plate, so they are maximizing their explosiveness. These cleats are extremely comfortable thanks to a Primeknit upper and long-lasting TPU overlays. They are also incredibly lightweight, allowing players to unlock their full speed.

The adidas Freak 5.0 Padded Receiver Gloves make every wideout’s life easier with their GRIPTACK Palm technology. It offers supreme stickiness that gives players even more grip and control of the ball. They are ergonomically designed to mirror the movement of the hand giving players more control.

The Nike Alpha Menace Elite 2 is built for the more versatile players who want more support and structure but won’t sacrifice speed. There is a Pebax propulsion plate that provides support and stability as well as a responsive feel. The Flyknit upper and Phylon midsole are responsible for giving players the lightweight cushioning and breathable flexibility they have come to expect.

One of the more durable gloves available, the Nike Superbad 6 Football Glove has all the features any player could ever want. It has sticky MagniGrip palms that maximize catching surface. It has flexible padding on the back of the hands and fingers for undeniable comfort. It even has a ventilation channel to give players more breathability.

 

 

 

Gear up for the season when you shop all the best football cleats, gloves, and gear at eastbay.com

A Look Back: June 1996

A Look Back: June 1996

If you were a kid growing up in the ‘90s, the Eastbay June ‘96 catalog captured the magic of those long summer days perfectly.  

Remember when…We played from sunrise to sunset. Occasionally, someone would ask the score. No one knew. No one cared. Just friends who love the game,” read the caption on the front cover. 

This really was my childhood and how I spent my summer in 1996. I had just wrapped up the 8th grade, and literally played sports all day into the evening everyday without a care in the world. I had two, maybe three pairs of shorts. I had one pair of sneakers. I had no cell phone. It didn’t matter.  

Aside from no one owning a cell phone, the World Wide Web was also in its infancy. At least half the country didn’t even have a modem yet. Michael Jordan and the Bulls were on their way back to the NBA Finals vs the Seattle Supersonics, and we were all buzzing about the summer Olympics kicking off in Atlanta in a few weeks.  

It’s safe to say that June 1996 was the start of one of the most epic summers of all time. Here’s a look back at some of the footwear we were rocking back then.

Basketball

A Look Back Eastbay Catalog June 1996 Basketball
A Look Back Eastbay Catalog June 1996 Basketball 2

With the Bulls and Sonics facing off in the NBA Finals, everyone was talking about Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Dennis Rodman. On these pages you can see some of the gear they rocked, including Pippen’s Air More Uptempo and Rodman’s Air Shake Ndestrukt. Dennis Rodman was so influential, he even had another shoe called the Air Worm Ndestrukt. Plus, the Air Rattle Ndestrukt and Air Roll Ndestrukt dropped as well. Charles Barkley’s Air CB 34 dropped in a new black/purple colorway, and Jason Kidd’s Air Zoom Flight was available in a white/royal/emerald color. Many consider this the peak of ‘90s basketball because there were so many revolutionary models to choose from.

Shop eastbay.com for today’s top Nike Basketball Shoes.

Running

Look Back Eastbay Catalog June 1996 Running Shoes

The Air Max 96 and Triax were big that summer. If the Triax looks familiar, it’s because Nike just brought them back last year in the classic white/royal and the USA edition colorways. I remember a lot of moms and dads were rocking the Air Structure Triax and Air Windrunner back in the day too. Plus, Nike was debuting some really dope Team USA apparel for the Olympics in Atlanta. Featuring hats, tees and shorts, the USA Track & Field gear from that summer Olympics is highly coveted today by vintage collectors.

Shop the lnewest Nike Running Shoes & Apparel at eastbay.com.

Trainers

Look Back Eastbay Catalog June 1996 Training Shoes

So many trainers to choose from! Nike cross trainers were clutch because you could play multiple sports in them. The Air Slant, Air Vapor and Air Barrage were designed for football, and the Air Diamond Fury 2 and Air Griffey Max were for baseball. Plus, Nike dropped the all-new Air Muscle Max – the most cushioning ever in a cross trainer. All these models could be used for other sports like outdoor basketball as well.

Shop eastbay.com. for today’s top Nike Training Gear.

Tennis

Look Back Eastbay Catalog June 1996 Tennis

Andre Agassi’s Air Alarm was a big hit, as he won the gold medal for team USA in the Olympics rocking them. The Sonics’ Gary Payton also rocked the Alarm for a few games in the NBA. Plus everyone loved the durability of the Air Resistance II+, which was worn by Jim Courier as well as dads at every country club around the globe. Even Reebok and Adidas had some cool silhouettes like the Vindicator and Integral Lo.

Hiking

Look Back Eastbay Catalog June 1996 Hiking Shoes
Drew Hammell A Look Back

Drew is the creator of @nikestories on Instagram. Growing up in the ’90s, Drew loved playing soccer, basketball, tennis, and even dabbled in cross country running. He ended up focusing on tennis in high school and helped lead his team to multiple state titles. His favorite athletes growing up include Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson, Andre Agassi, and Ken Griffey, Jr. He was smart enough to save all his old Eastbay catalogs from the ’90s and loves sharing them with the sneaker community. Follow him at @nikestories

Diamond In The Rough: Chris Godwin is Turning Into One of the Most Devastating Receivers in Football

Diamond In The Rough: Chris Godwin is Turning Into One of the Most Devastating Receivers in Football

By the time the third round of the NFL draft rolls around many teams are simply looking for players who can come in and be a solid starter or depth piece. It’s rare to find a superstar at any position past the first two rounds, but just because it’s rare doesn’t mean it’s impossible. When Tampa Bay took Chris Godwin with the 84th pick in 2017, it’s doubtful anyone in the front office realized the gem they had just unearthed. As he enters his fourth season, Godwin has developed into a bona fide star in this league.

The one trait that separates Godwin from the rest of the upper echelon receivers in the league isn’t his size, speed, or quickness. It’s his toughness.  Godwin said, “Whatever I have to do to get the job done. I’ll get real dirty in there. I’ll block linebackers, safeties, and defensive ends sometimes. After I catch the ball I’m not trying to go out of bounds, I’m trying to get as many yards as possible.” Obviously, there is more to Godwin’s game than just his toughness. The precision with which Godwin runs his routes, combined with how efficiently he gets in and out of his breaks, makes him one of the most unguardable receivers in the game.

Despite putting up monster numbers in his first couple of years, Godwin was still underrated as a receiver. Part of that can be attributed to playing in Tampa Bay, which isn’t a huge media market, and the fact that the team just missed out on the playoffs his first two seasons. The narrative surrounding the team changed last season when Tom Brady signed to be the new starting quarterback. Suddenly there was a ton of hype, Super Bowl expectations, and more eyes on Godwin than ever before. Meanwhile, he was focused on developing chemistry with his new quarterback, made all the tougher by the pandemic.

Godwin said, “I think over the course of the season we really got closer and closer and really spent that extra time. By the time we got to the playoffs we were clicking on all cylinders.”

Godwin also learned some big lessons from Brady, who has been in the league since Godwin was in daycare. “I think the biggest lesson I learned from him was just how simple you have to make the game. A lot of people try to make the game too complicated. Some coaches are so used to sticking to their formulas and philosophies, but really it just comes down to percentages. You’re trying to put yourself in the best position to be successful by adjusting plays at the line, being on the same page as your quarterback.”

Chris Godwin Tampa Bay

Despite the challenges the pandemic brought to every team throughout the season, Tampa Bay was able to finish with an 11-5 record and head to the playoffs for the first time since 2007. The team would then march through the playoffs defeating Washington, New Orleans, and Green Bay in a thriller before facing off against Kansas City and Patrick Mahomes. Though the game wasn’t very close or exciting, you won’t catch any Tampa Bay players or fans complaining about winning in a blowout.

As the next season approaches, Godwin is looking forward to having fans back in the stands. “We played New Orleans Week 1 last year, and it felt like a glorified scrimmage. It was so weird. We really noticed then just how much energy we get from the fans.” He’s continuing to develop his skills this offseason, particularly getting more separation at the top of his routes and getting in and out of his breaks even more efficiently.

If Godwin continues to grow his game and skillset there is no reason he can’t become a consistent All-Pro, and be one of the most devastating receivers in the league for years to come.