Soccer Speed Training- speed training exercises
Speed training exercises for the soccer athlete is one area that should not be over looked. Drills for speed training, again, should include short burst acceleration drills (5-10 yds. in length) and preferably with the use of some form of speed training resistance equipment. ( like a weighted sled or resistance cord or band). Proceeding then to unassisted short burst acceleration drills and then to longer burst acceleration sprints of 20-50yds. Remember not to do too many reps. Sometimes three is plenty. Rest in between reps approximately 2-5 min. Time your sprints to see when you actually start to decrease your time. Stop when your time starts to decrease.
Other speed training exercises that should be implemented is speed and agility training, speed endurance training and general conditioning runs. Not distance running! Also, in order to further enhance your speed, strength training programs must be included. A colleague of mine who played in the MLS (Major League Soccer), told me the toughest transition was from the high school level to Division 1 college. This was not because he could not compete skill-wise, it was because the caliber of players at that level was that much faster and stronger. So, he needed to get stronger with the correct strength training exercises to further progress his speed. Exercises like squats, deadlifts and Olympic lifts are great for building a strong base that will help generate power for the acceleration phase of your sprints.
Plyometrics are another great way to enhance your speed. These are terrific speed training exercises that will build explosive elasticity in the extensor muscle chain of your lower body (gluteals, hamstrings and ankles). These muscles are primarily responsible for sprinting. Drop jumps, ( dropping off a box ,land softly into a deep squat position and hold position for 2-3 seconds) and Depth jumps ( same as above but after the low and soft landing, immediately jump up as high as you can) are two examples of creating force from the ground to maximally force a powerful counter movement. Obviously, more so in depth jumps. In sprinting, think of pushing forcefully through the ground with the balls of your feet to generate the reaction of driving your hip up. That is one exmple of how plyometrics carry over to sprint speed.
Other plyometric exercises that are also excellent include : 1 leg hop and hold over low hurdles (land low and absorb weight in your quadriceps muscle), Repeated 1 leg hops over low hurdles, also low box ( about 4 inches) jumps are very good for quick low response plyometric work.
Conclusively, remember performing long distance running is not your friend if you wish to get faster. Also, an unnecessary amount of sprints and long distance sprints will not help. Even at the professional level, coaches will give the wrong speed training exercises : such as repeated 300yd. sprints. Yes, I heard one team had done that and the players did not get faster; they just shook their heads in disbelief.
Coaches and/or soccer athletes please contact me regarding any questions.
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