Get Faster on the Field: 3 Ways to Increase Sprint Speed On The Football Pitch
Do you ever find yourself lagging behind on the pitch or struggling to keep up with your teammates? Perhaps you feel like you were born with slow pace and there's nothing you can do about it. Well, the good news is that anyone can become faster with the right training.
There are three tiers of speed training that can help transform you into a faster and more agile player. Let's take a closer look at each of these tiers and the key elements of each.
Primary Tier: Learning Sound Technique and Correct Movement Mechanics
The first step towards improving your speed is to focus on your technique and movement mechanics. Poor technique not only limits your speed but also increases the risk of injury due to inappropriate loading on certain muscles. It's essential to develop a sound technique at a submaximal speed first, and then gradually increase your speed once your technique has been mastered.
It's important to note that footballers need to reach their top speed in under 30 meters. Therefore, running styles that are the same as those of track athletes may not be suitable. Our Speed Training Programme will guide you on the appropriate technique to use.
Once you've spent some time brushing up on your movement technique, try to incorporate those improvements whilst moving at maximum speed over varying distances under 30 metres.
Secondary Tier: Resisted and Assisted Sprint Training
The second tier involves incorporating resisted and assisted sprint training into your speed training regimen. This includes using equipment/strategies such as uphill and downhill sprints, parachutes, and recoil belts.
Resisted and assisted sprinting work by altering the neuromuscular system and causing adaptations in the muscles and nervous system.
Resistance sprint training, for instance, increases the activation of fast-twitch muscle fibers, which are responsible for generating explosive force and power during sprinting. This increase in muscle activation leads to improved muscle strength and power, allowing you to generate greater force against the ground and move faster.
On the other hand, assisted sprinting increases stride length and frequency, which improves your ability to cover more ground with each stride and move their legs faster. This type of training also helps develop proper running mechanics, such as proper hip extension and foot strike, leading to improved running economy and decreased risk of injury.
Tertiary Tier: Supporting Components of Fitness
Speed requires support from other components of fitness to optimize performance. This includes strength, endurance, and flexibility, among others. Research shows that speed capacity is greatly impacted by the forces produced at the hips, knees, and ankles. Therefore, the stronger and more stable these structures are, the more force they can generate, resulting in increased speed.
Optimising flexibility and mobility around these joints can also unlock greater force production. Although you may be limited by genetics to an extent, anyone can become faster with the right training.
The three tiers of speed training – learning sound technique and using correct movement mechanics whilst practicing sprinting, resisted and assisted sprint training, and supporting components of fitness – are essential in transforming you into a faster and more agile player.
It's important to note that while sprint speed is a critical component of football, it's not the only one. A well-rounded player should also focus on other aspects of fitness, including agility, strength, endurance, and skill. This programme covers every aspect of physical development a footballer should cover over a season.
If you're aiming to play at an elite level however, then you're going to see faster and more magnified progress with a customised programme that includes 1-1 help to make tweaks and changes week to week. Our 1-1 Elite Programme provides exactly this.