Soccer Speed Training: The Basics, and a Beginners Speed Program

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Soccer Speed Training: The Basics

How do you successfully improve your soccer speed?

This question has been asked a million times, by a million soccer players, teams, AND coaches. When you visit another football team, one of the big questions is:"How do YOU train?"

What do you do? Sprint-Training? Plyometrics? Agility-Drills? Just play the game of football?

To improve speed for soccer, one has to understand the physiological basis for speed and power. That basis is strength.

It‘s simple:To get faster you must first get stronger.That doesn‘t mean to say that you shouldn‘t do Speed-(read: Sprinting)and Power-Work; you should.

Power/Explosiveness for example, is basically a function of Strength x Speed. If you sprint you get faster. If you do explosive work you get faster..... up to a certain point, and then things plateau out, progress stalls.

To further improve, strength needs to be increased. Then one can get back to speed and power-work.

Another important tip: Emphasize that which gives the most return for time and effort invested, ie.: focus your soccer-specific training on that which is most improvable. Strength is many many times more improvable than pure speed. What that means in real world terms is: mainly work on strength, with the right kind of speed and power-work injected at the right time and place, and in the right amounts.

That way your power, speed and quickness will continue to improve, and so will your game.

Success in football/soccer is determined by many things, one of them is to be there first! Quote Al Vermeil of the Chicago Bulls:„It‘s basically all about who gets there the fastest, and under controll."

Basic Beginners Soccer Speed Workout

Phase 1

Speed Training Warm Up:

Start by doing two rounds of 60 seconds light running, with 30 seconds rest interval.Then follow with:

20 seconds each of sideways skips, skip-bounds, backwards running, high knees, continuous vertical jumps, jack-knives; in that order and all at increasing intensities from about 50 to around 80% of max-effort.

Finish with 5 x 10m-Starts, same progression : 50, 60, 70, 80, 80% intensity. Now rest for 2 minutes before going into the actual speed-workout.


10x 10m-Starts, 120s. rest

So you do 10 meter starts/sprints, all out, and rest for 2 minutes in between sets. That‘s all.

About twice a week is a good frequency for this, with two days rest in between. The speed-work should always be done first, when fresh. The 1st speed workout might be on a Monday Morning with the 2nd session starting off the Thursday Morning/Noon Soccer-Training. So first thing in the week as well as in the day as well as first in the soccer-session!

Finish with 10 minutes stretching: dynamic, ballistic, and/or static: all fair game.

The above applies to all phases: same frequency, always twice weekly, always when fresh etc.

All phases last for 6 workouts each, or 3 weeks total per phase. That makes 12 weeks for 4 phases. If you only have 8-9 weeks, simply start with phase 2: there we start increasing the distance.

Here‘s how you periodize the whole Soccer-Speed Training Program:

Phase 2:

8 x 15m, 120s.

Same warm-up, then you do 8 sets of 15m-Starts with 2 minutes rest interval.

Phase 3:

7 x 20m, 180s.

From here on out we increase the rest interval to 3 minutes.

Phase 4:

6 x 25m, 180s.

That‘s all there is to it: a simple, yet effective soccer-speed workout. Even though the number of sets decreases, the total distance covered per sprint and workout increases linearly.

Sprints exceeding 25 meters in distance are rare in soccer, and whilst you can work with absolute-speed(40 meters+) it‘s not really necessary. Also the increased injury-risk(hamstrings especially) might not be worth it. Your players‘ time and effort are better spent in the weights-room, improving strength and power, and consequently their short-term speed.

The above soccer sprinting program is all that‘s required as in direct speed work.

Have fun !;-)

My Soccer Site:


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Mark is an Athletic Performance Enhancement Expert who specializes in Soccer.

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Soccer Speed Training: The Basics, and a Beginners Speed Program

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This article was published on 2010/09/15