Improving Speed 101

12 Aug

Every soccer player on earth wants to be faster. In this article, I break down exactly what you need to do to so. (Note: this post is extremely over simplified, so sorry fellow S&C coaches who may be reading this and wondering why it’s so bare-bones)

Step 1: Improve Mobility- In order to sprint as fast as you can, you have to have the proper flexibility and mobility in your arms, legs, and torso. Foam rolling and dynamic stretching before a training session will help improve your mobility, and static stretching (think long, extended holds) can be helpful after training. Although stretching the whole body is important, some key regions to really emphasize are the hips, hamstrings, quads, and ankles.

Step 2: Improve Strength- Sprinting is all about producing force. If you want to run faster, you have to produce enough force to propel your body to higher speeds. The best way to improve your strength is doing lower-body, compound exercises in the gym. Exercises like squats, lunges, and deadlifts will improve your strength, which will increase your force production, allowing you to run faster. Furthermore, power based exercises such as the olympic lifts and med ball slams will help as well.

Step 3: Improve Mechanics- In my opinion, this is the most difficult step. But in reality, proper mechanics are key to sprinting at your maximum capacity. Improving things such as stride length, arm swing, foot placement, etc are all key to maximizing your speed. I recommend you find a strength and conditioning coach that has experience working with sprinters and track athletes to assess your form.

Step 4: Practice, Practice, Practice- You should try to practice sprinting at least once per week while in season, and 2-3 times per week during the off season. Try distances between 20-60 meters, and be sure to give at least 2 minutes of rest between each sprint.

Summary: To improve your speed you have to work on mobility, strength, and sprint mechanics. You also need to practice sprinting on a regular basis.

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