Hi Campers 🙂
Today we are going to look a the concept and importance of “Speed” in soccer.
Before we carry on, take a deep breath and DONT PANIC if you are genetically challenged with the lack of fast twitch muscle fibers. There is HOPE !!!
Speed in soccer can be quite complex. It certainly involves more than just running fast.
You have probably heard your coach use the phrase “speed of play” at some point in your playing career.
Lets look at a break down of what can you improve your speed of play:
- Quick speed off the mark
- Quick acceleration over 10-15 yards
- Good speed endurance
- Speed in possession of the ball
- Quickness of feet or agility
- The ability to quickly change direction
- The ability to execute skills quickly
- Last but not least for any smart soccer player, speed of thought.
You can see from the above points, that good 100m sprinters don’t necessarily have the attributes to be quick soccer players. And by the same token…
Players who are not typically fast runners can excel in soccer if they have sharp feet and quick speed of thought. Remember the old phrase…
“The first 10 yards are in your head.”
Absolute speed or your ability to run fast is determined by a number of factors – the obvious one being genetics.
But if you’ve been blessed with less than favourable sprinting genes don’t worry too much…
A good soccer speed training program will improve the efficiency of your muscle fibres (if not the type or amount of them) and that will make you faster.
So, one goal of your soccer speed training schedule should be to increase your sprinting power – particularly your acceleration and speed off the mark. Soccer players rarely sprint more than 50 yards in a straight line. Unless you play a boom ball style of play and all you do is run up and down the field.
A second, and equally important goal, is to increase your speed endurance. Speed endurance training significantly improves your recovery after a bout of repetitive sprints. Your body’s ability to remove lactic acid increases which can make such a difference to your game.
Thirdly, a soccer speed training program should improve agility, foot speed and reaction time. Exercises to improve agility don’t tend to be physically taxing. The emphasis is on short, sharp movements of a high quality.
Finally, incorporating a ball into some of the speed and agility drills is important to make all those gains in speed transferable to the field of play.
As for speed of thought, I can’t help you there. That comes with match practice and experience.