Ever wondered how you can increase your speed, or do you think that you'll just have to make do with the pace that you were born with?
The good news is that every single player can become faster than they currently are (with the correct training). So if you've got a team mate who's naturally quick, but not coupling this gift with extra training, you could soon find yourself beating them to the ball and overtaking them thanks to the work you're doing behind the scenes.
There are 3 tiers of speed training which all overlap to transform you into a faster player, below we will outline the key elements of each tier.
Learning sound technique and the correct movement mechanics
- Poor technique limits speed and increases the risk of injury due to inappropriate loading on certain muscles
- Technique should be developed at a submaximal speed first, and then the speed can gradually be increased once the technique has been mastered.
Footballers need to reach their top speed in under 30m, so a running style which is the same as that of a track athlete is an inappropriate technique to use - this is explained fully in the speed training programme.
Resisted and assited sprint training (using hill sprints, parachutes, recoil belts)
- Improves the explosiveness of your muscles
- Converts muscle fibre type
- Should not be performed more than 2 days per week and not on consecutive days
Speed requires support from other components of fitness to optimise performance (strength, endurance, flexibility for example)
- Research shows that speed is determined by the forces which are produced at the hips, knees and ankles - the stronger these structures are the more force they can generate
- Increasing flexbility and range of movement around these joints also increases force production
- By increasing the flexibility of the hip flexors/extensors, quads and hamstrings and the calf muscles speed production will be optimised