When comes to developing soccer speed in players, we all know why it’s important. Speed wins games. Coaches want it, players respect it, and spectators cheer for it. Unfortunately, speed training for soccer is often misunderstood. In years of working with everything from AYSO to National teams, here are the 3 biggest myths we hear about soccer specific speed.
Only speed with the ball matters
Of course being quick with the ball in your possession is going to be a huge part of soccer. That’s skill. That’s the point. However, if you don’t recognize what happens without the ball, you’re missing most of the game.
First of, most of the time players don’t have the ball. Just do the math; 90 minute game, 20 field players, if they had it equal time (which of course they don’t) that’s 4.4 minutes or 5% of the time. So even if you’re a player who gets a lot more possession, you’re going to spend the majority of time without the ball.
Then you have to think about how you get the ball. Beating an opponent to it and creating an open space with a run both can require speed.
Finally, while moves in small tight spaces, may require more quickness form you, if you’re moving in open space, you cant moving any faster with the ball than your body can go. Your sprinting speed is your limit.
Bottom line, if you want to be a fast player, develop your speed. Period.
Fast players are born that way
Decades ago many coaches would say “you cant teach speed” like there was a simple genetic lottery to have it or not. Not true.
Not it is true you need some genetic qualities to have world class, 100m gold medal speed. If you didn’t have the right grandparents, all the training in the world might not get you there.
However speed is a complex motor skill that involves both motor control and force production capabilities. Both of those can be taught and improved through good coaching and training. Sped is a skill and can be taught.
If you want to get an advantage over the competition at every level, than you need to maximize your speed. That means training the movement skills and the force production abilities.
Running sprints will make players fast
Too often coaches, players and parents think they are doing speed training. After all, the players are running as fast as they can doing those sprints at practice.
While running at full effort is an important part of developing speed, its not a winning formula.
The formula to improve speed is The Big 4. The four factors you can train and teach to improve. They are;
- Generating a big force to propel the body
- Applying that force in a very small ground contact time
- Applying the force in the Proper Direction
- Moving the body through an Optimal Range of Motion
These can all be taught using advanced motor control and neuro-developmental techniques along with proper functional strength training and mobility development
Do You Want To Be Faster?
If you’ve fallen into one of these traps, you’re not alone. The good news is that you can get an edge on the competition by breaking free and taking control of how fast you will be out on the soccer field.