This speed training guide will teach you everything you need to know about getting faster as a player.
Techniques to increase speed.
And 10 Speed training exercises you must add to your programme today!
Let’s get started…
Why is speed important?
- Acceleration over 10 yards
- Agility and quick feet
- Being able to change direction quickly
- Being able to perform skills with speed
- Having speed of thought
- Speed Endurance (Performing repeated sprints)
- Speed of the mark
- Speed with the ball
Speed Training Helps Fight Fatigue
Training for speed (anaerobic training) improves the amount the energy our muscles can store in the form of glycogen.
This means we have more in the tank for performing sprints throughout the match.
This type of training can help your muscles fight fatigue by improving the muscle’s ability to fight against the build of hydrogen ions (the burning sensation in your muscles when you exercise)
- Regular speed training can:
Improve the amount of force you produce during fast movements
- Increase short distance speed
- Improves your muscle energy stores so you can perform high-intensity sprints for longer.
- enables to the player to recover quicker between sprints, so they can perform more repeated sprints throughout the game.
How Stride Length and Stride Rate Effects Your SpeedSprint speed basically combines your stride length and stride rate (how quick you move your legs). However, we all have a natural running style and trying to alter stride rate and length uses up more energy. Therefore you must condition your running style during training to achieve improvements in these areas. Stronger muscles and more flexible joints will help to increase stride rate and length.
A 2014 Study by Jens Bangsbo highlighted that players who compete at a higher perform more high-intensity sprints than pro professionals at a lower level.
The interesting findings showed that top elite players average a distance of 10-13 km per game…
The higher the level of football the more sprints were completed within that 10-13km.
The research showed that:
- International players sprinted 28% more times than lower level pro players.
- Teams with a higher league ranking completed 30-40% more high-speed sprints than teams lower in the league.
This further supports the idea that speed and high-intensity movement is essential for any player wanting to progress within the game.
How To Increase Your Speed
Key Areas to Train For SpeedAs a player, your aim is to improve your all-around quickness and speed. So that you are faster in all aspects of your game. Therefore you must train in the following four areas:
1: Explosive Power and Strength Training for SpeedYou should use explosive power drills to allow your body to perform quick bursts of maximal effort. Players with a higher explosive power can move faster and react quicker. To improve your explosive power and strength you must train using exercises that need near maximal power output in a short time period. Basically, you need to: Move heavy weights very quickly! However: You will need to condition your body to move heavy weights, so start off with lighter weights and gradually progress. This will reduce the likelihood of injury. Elite football players are very powerful. This power is transfered on the field to enable them to move fast. The combine speed and strength of your muscles contractions results in how powerful you are. Therefore to increase your power you must train both of these areas. Lifting weights will increase your strength, whilst plyometric training transfers this strength into power and speed.
2: Speed Endurance TrainingThroughout a match, you must perform several all-out sprints. The more of these sprints your perform, the more you fatigue causing your power and speed to decrease. So: You need to train for speed endurance (also known as anaerobic endurance) to ensure you can maintain high-intensity sprints for longer and recover faster to sprint again. Here is a great speed endurance session from the guys over at FourFourTwo:
3: Flexibility Training For SpeedOne area of training that is often overlooked by young players is flexibility training. We know it may not be as impressive a deadlifting twice your bodyweight, or smashing out 10 muscles ups. However, if you skip flexibility training you are leaving some serious training gains on the table. Ryan Giggs spent 23 years playing for Manchester United’s first team and owes a great deal to practicing yoga. When discussing how he continue to deliver at at thg highest level Giggs said:
4: SAQ TrainingThe fourth and most important area of speed training for football is: Speed, Agility and Quickness training (AKA SAQ training). This type of training encompasses all areas needed to move faster around the pitch. and can be trained in the same session. There is some overlap when training speed, agility, and quickness, so they can all be trained in the same session. We’ve already mentioned the importance of training speed… However, training agility will improve your:
- Control over your body
- Ability to change direction quickly without losing your balance.
- Coordination to escape a tricky situation on the pitch
- Overall foot speed
- Ability to quickly change direction
- Foot Speed
- Speed of the mark
Bonus Speed Training Tip: JumpingStudies have shown that adding weighted jumps to your training programme can drastically improve your speed and acceleration. Horizontal weighted jumps can help a player improve their force production and acceleration. Whilst: Vertical weighted jumps help a player improve top speed sprints, power, and strength. So, adding loaded jumps to your training schedule today will improve your speed performance on the field.
Top 10 Speed Training Exercises
There are many ways to increase your speed for football and following a specified training program will give you the structure to gradually improve all aspects of your speed. Remember, the correct strength training exercise will improve speed.
However the goal is to improve your strength to weight ratio or relative strength. So to be fast on the pitch you need to improve strength without getting to big.
If you want to add a few exercises to your routine today, here is a list of our favourite speed training exercises:
1: Power Clean
This is a great exercise for engaging all of your bodies major muscles.
However, this is not a beginners exercise and will take some practice and coordination. We suggest this exercise as it helps to strengthen your calves, hamstrings, glutes and back muscles which work together to make up your posterior chain.
2: SquatAnother great exercise to improve your speed is weighted squats. This compound exercise works the hamstrings, quads, calves and glutes. Performing this exercise improves a players core strength and ground reaction force. This allows players to transfer any speed gains into football specific movements.
3: Hex Bar DeadliftA must have exercise is any strength building programme is the deadlift. The movement in this exercises takes a similar path to a squat, however using the hex bar brings more of the back muscles into play for a full body workout. This is important for straight line and multi-directional sprint movement. There are many reasons we suggest using the hex bar over conventional deadlift including:
- Less stress on your back by shifting the weight to your sides
- The lifting technique is easier to master than the conventional deadlift. There is less to think about you can concentrate on lifting the bar off the ground.