Use these sample soccer speed drills to improve your speed off the mark, acceleration and agility…
Speed training should not be physically exhausting…
A slow jog or walk between each sprint or drill should be long enough for full recovery. Your focus must be on quality and form.
A typical speed training session could consist of 3-5 sets of 10 repetitions in total (a repetition being a sprint or drill).
As long as you allow enough recovery period in between sets and reps the soccer speed drills can performed the day before a game. They are a nice “loosener” and help to brush up your sharpness ready for the game at hand.
The basis of these soccer speed drills is a 10-20 yard sprint. You start focus on accelerating as quickly as possible by powering away with your arms and legs. If this is a team session, make it more interesting by have 2 or 3 players sprint against each other.Alternate the start to make it more soccer-specific. Here are some ideas…
- Do 1-3 push ups, squat thrusts or burpees and sprint
- Start by kneeling, lying face down, sitting on your hands (which you’re not allowed to use to get up) and sprint
- Do 5 keep ups or 5 ball touches and sprint
- Have some one throw or pass your the ball for you to control and lay off and sprint
- Run backwards for 5yards and turn and sprint
- Touch left hand down, touch right hand down, jump to head the ball and sprint
Speed ladders are simple pieces of equipment that allow athletes to develop fast feet and co-ordination. Drills include…
- High-knee running with very short strides (short enough so both feet touch the ground in each section)
- Side steps in and out of the side of the ladder
- Bounding from one section to another
- Place a series of markers on the ground about 1 yard apart for a total of 10 yards.
- From a standing start run the length of the markers as fast as possible but making sure to take one stride (one ground contact) between each marker.
- Move the markers closer together and repeat. Now move them further apart and repeat. Each time focus on taking only one stride between each marker.
Over Speed Training
Rather than working on power, these soccer speed drills develop leg speed movement and co-ordination. A simple drill to promote over speed is to run down hill. It should be a very slight hill, anything more and form is lost and the injuries are gained!
A small, grassy embankment is ideal. Again keep sprints to 10 yards. You buy something called a speed harness – rubber bungees that pull you along. But you really don’t need for soccer.
Resistance Speed Training
This is the opposite to over-speed drills. Here the emphasis is on developing leg power over the first few yards. An incline (again grassy embankments are good) of about 30 degrees is ideal. You may need longer recovery between reps as these drills are more intense.
Resistance parachutes have the same effect but they are expensive and not practical for group training.
Some pro soccer teams train on sand dunes – uphill and down hill. This is ok for pre-season work and will build muscular endurance. But they are not suitable for speed sessions as you can imagine.
Speed & Agility Training For soccer
For a comprehensive guide to speed training for soccer (including dozens of sample soccer speed drills with and without the ball), take a look at my ebook, Fit For Soccer…
While I am well and truly biased, it’s has been described as the most comprehensive soccer conditioning resource available. It covers topics like…
- Strength and strength endurance training
- Speed and agility training
- Aerobic and anaerobic endurance training
- Flexibility, warming up and cooling down
- Testing soccer-specific fitness
- Nutrition for soccer
- Off-season, pre-season and in-season program design
Jacky has a degree in Sports Science and is a Certified Sports and Conditioning Coach. He has also worked with clients around the world as a personal trainer.
He has been fortunate enough to work with a wide range of people from very different ends of the fitness spectrum. Through promoting positive health changes with diet and exercise, he has helped patients recover from aging-related and other otherwise debilitating diseases.
He spends most of his time these days writing fitness-related content of some form or another. He still likes to work with people on a one-to-one basis – he just doesn’t get up at 5am to see clients anymore.