Soccer Speed Training.

Soccer can be a tough sport to train for. Soccer athletes must have not only an endurance base, but also the ability to sprint at full speed for short distances. Try these programs and drills to improve your speed and agility!
Soccer can be a tough sport to train for. Soccer athletes must have not only an endurance base, but also the ability to sprint at full speed for short distances. Training for soccer speed requires a mix of aerobic conditioning (i.e. distance running) and anaerobic power (sprinting). A solid soccer speed-training program should include speed-endurance, which is the ability to run at top speeds for extended periods of time.

Here is a sample 3-week pre-season speed-training program to help your athletes improve their speed before the season begins:

General Warm-Up:

    1/2 to 1 mile jog
    Full Body Stretch
    Warm-up Speed Drills
    High Knees (3X30m)
    Heel-Glutes (3X30m)
    Carriocca (3X30m)
    1/2 Speed Striders (3X30m)

Week 1:

Monday and Friday (sprint speed)

    3X30m (45 second rest between reps)
    3X60m (45 second rest between reps)
    3X90m (45 second rest between reps)

Wednesday (speed-endurance)

    Use a 3:1 Rest Ratio (ex. if it takes 30seconds to run 150m, then rest for 1:30 before the 200m)
    50m-100m-150m-200m-150m-100m-50m
    Repeat the pyramid one more time

Week 2

Monday and Friday

    5X30m (45 second rest between reps)
    5X60m (45 second rest between reps)
    5X90m (45 second rest between reps)

Wednesday (speed-endurance)

    Use a 2:1 Rest Ratio (ex. if it takes 30seconds to run 150m, then rest for 1:00 before the 200m)
    50m-100m-150m-200m-150m-100m-50m
    Repeat the pyramid two more times

Week 3

Monday and Friday

    6X30m (30 second rest between reps)
    6X60m (30 second rest between reps)
    6X90m (30 second rest between reps)

Wednesday (speed-endurance)

    Use a 2:1 Rest Ratio (ex. if it takes 30seconds to run 150m, then rest for 1:00 before the 200m)
    50m-100m-150m-200m-250m-200m-150m-100m-50m
    Repeat the pyramid two more times
Speed & Conditioning Drills

Weave

Players weave through cones while holding the ball. The first time through, they hold the ball over their head; second time, behind their head; third time behind their back. The trick is that the ball can't touch their body.

Through Your Legs Fitness

Everyone on your team should find a partner. Once everyone has a partner and a ball between the two of them, they should create one long line (you can use the end line, midfield line or sideline to help). One player stands along the line with the ball and the other player jumps out two yards ahead of their partner. Now the two partners should be face to face approximately 2 yards apart. Your team should now be in two parallel lines across the field. The partner without the ball should open his/her legs just wide enough for a ball to be passed through.

The other partner, with the ball, should pass the ball through his/her partners legs. The open-legged partner should turn and chase down the passed ball. When they get to it they should use either their inside, outside or soul of the foot to turn the ball. Once turned they take one dribble and then pass it back to their partner. They sprint back to their original position and open their legs back up for another pass. They chase that ball down, turn, pass it back and repeat drill for 30 seconds. Once the 30 seconds is up and the first player has done his/her running, he/she becomes the passer and the other player begins the fitness part.

This drill is a great way to get fitness done as well as increasing the athletes ability to turn the ball properly. Toward the end of the time period, the athlete also must manage his/her fatigue,and concentrate enough to make proper turns. Older athletes 14-and-up may be able to go as long as 45 seconds or even 1 minute. As the coach, you can watch your athletes and decide how long they can and should go for. Superior athletes, varsity level, college and professional may do up to ten reps each of this drill. You can vary the passing and chasing to tossing the ball over their shoulders and having them chase it down that way. Younger athletes really shouldn't exceed 5 reps each and would probably benefit from 3 to 4.

The Nightmare

The "Nightmare" drill is similar to the "doggies" except that the distance is much more intense and the difficulty level is tripled. For this drill you must line your entire team up on one end line. At the blow of a whistle your athletes must complete the following run at the highest level of sprint possible. They must sprint to the edge of the 6 yard box and back, then to the 18-yard box and back, then to midfield and back, then to the other 18-yard box and back, then to the other 6-yard box and back and then all the way to the other end line and back.

This drill is extremely intense and should be used with caution. Athletes around the age of 14 may only need to do this one time, with no repeats at all. Varsity level athletes should do the entire routine twice with a nice long rest in between sets. Collegiate and professional athletes may do 3-4 sets of this drill and must try to complete each set under 65 seconds.

When running this type of fitness make sure to really cheer your athletes on and encourage them. This is a grueling run and allows the athlete to pull from deep down inside and really work themselves physically and mentally. Players should be pushing each other as well in a positive manner. When they complete the run they should be encouraging the others as they get near the finish line. This drill can really bring a team together. After completing this run they have the feeling that they can accomplish anything and that is a great feeling. Be careful though, and make sure to not overrun them. One set is probably enough for most athletes. Enjoy this one and be smart.

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