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Speed, Power, and Agility

Every soccer athlete wants to improve their first step acceleration and their change of direction. This section provides you with the speed and agility drills and exercises you need to explode to the ball with more acceleration and to outperform your opponents with more efficiency.


Stability Ball Exercises To Improve Soccer Fitness And Speed

Improving strength has shown to improve speed in many studies. Strengthening the glutes, hamstrings, quads and core musculature will improve both acceleration and top end speed. The following group of exercises target these areas and are all performed with a stability ball.

Knee Drive For Acceleration In Soccer

The knee drive is a great drill for speed and acceleration. It focuses on knee and hip action. All you need is a 4 inch jump box . Standing with a split stance with your center of gravity slightly ahead of your front foot, perform this exercise by driving your knee up to hip height and back to the starting position. 


Running Mechanics For Soccer Speed

Before you can increase your speed & acceleration on the field, you must first have the running mechanics to do so. The fact of the matter is that many soccer athletes, by nature and skill, already run faster and have better foot mechanics than most other athletes. But many of them fail to further enhance their running speed and get to that next level because they don't have a full grasp of running fundamentals.

Lean Forward To Improve Acceleration For Soccer

Since most sprints on the soccer field are an average of 20 to 25 yards, the soccer player should  focus more on explosion and acceleration. This is why I am a big fan of the lean and run drill. It is a very simple drill, but it is incredibly effective in teaching you how your body should be positioned when you are accelerating to the ball. 

Jump Rope for Quick Feet, Plyometrics and Change of Direction – 5 part video series

Jumping rope is a quick and easy way to get your heart rate pumping for a general warm-up. You can also use the jump rope to work on your foot coordination, plyometric jumps and change of direction in a rhythmic sequence. Jumping rope requires lower body stability, endurance, strength and confidence from whipping yourself.  If you are returning from an injury, you will want to progress into jumping rope and ensure your have joint stability before trying these advanced moves. It would be best to jump rope in your running shoes vs your soccer cleats to avoid getting your cleat caught in the rope or stuck in the grass. There is no cheating the jump rope because it’s quite obvious when your miss your step!  Use these drills and test yourself for time or number of repetitions.

Use Your Arms To Run Faster On The Soccer Field

The proper use of your arms is sometimes neglected in proper running mechanics. And in soccer where speed is crucial, your potential to run faster on the soccer field may be limited if you fail to properly use them.

Change of Direction Drills in the Pool- 3 Video Series

Get into the pool for shallow end running and add change of direction movements. I'm using the water resistance to build strength while running forward, backward and side stepping. These drills will show you how to properly change direction, simulate a long sprint with quick change of direction, and break free from a defender. These drills can be done for time, repetition or worked into a larger pool circuit. I prefer waist deep water to avoid feeling too buoyant, which can decrease the sensation of working on strength. If you do these drills in chest or shoulder deep water it will take you longer to change direction and require more steps to get from one end of the pool to the other. 

Kneel to Sprint Drill to Improve Acceleration

An athletes top end speed is great when running long distances, but most research will show that during a soccer match, most sprints are 5 to 20 yards long. The key to winning these short races is good acceleration. The first two to three steps is what typically decides who will get there first. Using the Kneel to Sprint Drill will help your player accelerate faster and get from point A to point B quicker.

Linear Running Programs to Improve Speed and Performance

Soccer is a game of short sprints and long runs that tax both the aerobic and anaerobic systems. The best players have the ability to run long distances throughout a match to position themselves and then have the capacity to sprint a short distance to get to a space and make a play quickly. Many of the programs I see focus on long sprints of 100 meters and fail to train for short distances. The following two programs will improve both energy systems, allow you to reduce fatigue and still sprint quickly to make the game changing play.

Backpedal, Sprint, Kick, Turn and Go

The following drill is designed to simulate a game situation in a controlled manner. The athlete should concentrate on proper form as well as accelerating, decelerating and accelerating again with power.