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the 40-yard dash is still a useful test to measure someone’s speed on the football field or do you think it’s a little outdated?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