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the 40-yard dash is still a useful test to measure someone’s speed on the football field or do you think it’s a little outdated?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

 

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.

Game Recognize Game: Foundation Academy’s Danny Stutsman is our April Winner

Game Recognize Game: Foundation Academy’s Danny Stutsman is our April 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 standout linebacker Danny Stutsman from Foundation Academy in central Florida.

A threat on both sides of the ball, Danny knows that to win games, you have to be just as dedicated off the field as you are on Friday nights. In his senior season, Danny worked alongside his team and led Foundation Academy to its first Regional Championship and State Semi Final.

Through eight games that season, Danny tallied:

On Offense

  • 64 carries for 548 yards
  • 10 rushing TDs
  • 25 catches for 542 yards
  • 21 yards per catch
  • 7 receiving touchdowns

On Defense

  • 52 solo tackles
  • 11 tackles for loss
  • 5 sacks
  • 2 forced fumbles
  • 2 interception returns for touchdowns
  • 4 pass deflections
  • 1 blocked punt

And that was just the regular season. In the playoffs, Danny racked up 164 yards and 3 touchdowns in the Regional Semi Final, 151 rushing yards, 1 touchdown, 11 tackles, and 1 sack in the Regional Finals, and 9 tackles and 1 receiving touchdown in the State Semi Final against Victory Christian.

It’s a high school career full of performances like these that helped Danny make First Team All State in 2018 and 2019 and 2A Defensive Player of the Year in 2020. His proven football IQ and 3.8 GPA garnered Danny over 25 Division 1 scholarship offers before he committed to University of Oklahoma.

Danny was nominated for Game Recognize Game by Brad Lord, his head football coach at Foundation Academy and someone who’s seen first hand what an asset Danny is on the field.

Here’s what Danny had to say about competition, leadership, and playing college ball:

What is your definition of a successful student-athlete?

Utilizing lessons that I have learned in the classroom to transcend onto the athletic field. Also being able to balance the responsibilities a full-time student has while also managing the schedule of full-time athlete.

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

While my acceptance into the University of Oklahoma and earning an athletic scholarship has been a memorable moment in my career, I would also add being able to lead my high school team, Foundation Academy, to a regional championship for the first time in the school’s history has been meaningful in so many ways.

Who is your role model in athletics?

I’d say one of my idols in athletics itself is Michael Jordan. Although he’s a basketball player, his tenacity to always be the best player on the court and off has motivated me tremendously, and his constant desire to always compete no matter the circumstances has always made me push my game to the next level. Also, most importantly, Jordan’s ability to lead a team and motivate the players around him is something I try to take out of his game.

What do you love most about competing?

What I love most about competing is the constant drive to be the best. Competing is so much more than just in-between the whistles on the football field. It is also during your off time competing against yourself and seeing how hard you can push yourself every day to be the best possible player and person.

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

Some goals that I would like to achieve after high school would be to make an impact at Oklahoma as soon as I arrive, as well as seize the opportunity I am given by pursuing my college education.

 

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