Want To Become A Faster Player? Don’t Make These Mistakes

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Today’s post will look into some common mistakes when doing speed training. Here is what you need to avoid.



1. Don’t trap yourself with the specificity

You are what you train. If you train slowly you will become a slower player. So yes, it’s true that when you train to get faster, you should perform football specific movements with a football-specific speed. But adding too much speed too soon to your training regime is not a good thing. Why not? A high-speed training demands your whole body and mind and you are not training to get yourself hurt. Adding too much stress on your body too soon will stop your optimal progress. Being tired doesn’t mean you are getting better. On the other hand, you should train speed throughout the season – year round, however, main progress is made at the end of the pre-season. Speed training is also an important part of the main season.

24107068693_e92b534dfe_o5 Steps To Be Faster – Play Well At The Highest Speed Of Play
The game environment in modern football is constantly changing as there is constant interaction with teammates, trying to overcome an opponent team, so you have to react fast.



2. Quality not quantity!

Always keep in mind that you want to train at the highest or near the highest speed you are currently able to perform football movements. In terms of speed, quantity is not the answer. Again, it will stop your progress and with insufficient rest, you will probably end with an injury. A quality repetition also can’t be made without a proper rest as speed demands high coordinative and neural drive. Here is an example of a model for developing speed with special focus on speed training with turns, accelerations, decelerations and changes of direction:

  • distance 5-30m
  • number of reps 4-8x
  • rest interval 2 min (at least)
  • number training sessions per week 2-3


A single player makes around 12 and up to 35 sprints of different lengths in a single match on a top level. Why would you do more than that? Your body is not a machine. Train smart!


3. Linear running? Not for you!

Games speed is not linear speed. Well in main cases you won’t run straight ahead, but you will have to dribble, cut an opponent, jump etc. And the most importantly, simultaneously you will have to think and react fast. Your movement is dependent on the game situations. So don’t forget that you have to be aware of your teammates, opponents and a ball. Often they dictate the speed of your movement. That means that your movement is often reactive. Therefore, it’s important to include reactive movements in your weekly schedule. Different reactive drills with a partner are the best for this type of training.


4. Speed vs endurance

Training both speed and endurance at the same time won’t bring you to the peak at speed nor endurance. Decide which part you want to improve. A good aerobic base can help you regenerate faster after a burst action. So it’s a good option to develop aerobic capacity before your main speed sessions. However this is not a must, you can train speed even if your endurance is not on a high level. Don’t forget that spending too much time without speed training will make you slower. Speed workouts should be regularly part of your training plan.


5. Avoiding supplemental training

A big mistake you can make is to avoid supplemental training. One of them which is often forgotten is flexibility. A sprint is defined by a gait frequency and by the length of a stride. To improve stride length add some flexibility workouts to your training regime. Use tons of mobility drills and dynamic stretching. Only if you have a serious problem with the flexibility, use static stretching and PNF methods for improving flexibility, otherwise, it is better to avoid this type of training, because it lowers activation of your muscles and on a long term you can become slower.


Next supplemental training that can make a big improvement in speed is power training. To improve power, you can go to a gym and put some high loads on (1-5 repetition maximum) with longer rests between sets (3-5 minutes) and between 3-5 sets. Use that type of training 3-4 times per week. Or you can do plyometric training. Different type of jumps is always a good choice.


6. Bad running mechanics

Front foot rule in a little flexed position is a must.


It allows you to react fast in all directions in a quick way not losing too much time. And you don’t want to lose eyes from your opponent when playing a game. You need to be there! Don’t forget that a football player can make up to 80 and even more changes of direction in a single match on a top level. Bad posture and bad running mechanics therefore significantly influence your impact on a field. Then think about around 220 high-intensity runs that are made on a top level football match by a single player. And these runs are made with the speed between 14 to 21 km/h with accelerations, decelerations and change of directions. That’s a lot of wasted energy if you don’t run properly. Feel a spring under your feet.


Who do you think is the fastest football player in the world? See a list of maximum speed measured playing football game (http://ask4sports.eu):

  1. Ronaldo 10.9 m/s or 39.2 km/h (26 years)
  2. Henry 10.9 m/s or 39.2 km/h (21 years)
  3. Robben 10.5 m/s or 37.8 km/h (28 years)
  4. Walcott 10.4 m/s or 37.5 km/h (21 years)
  5. Agbonlahor 10.4 m/s or 37.5 km/h (23 years)
  6. Bale 10.2 m/s or 36.8 km/h (21 years)


Now compare that data with the fastest man on earth Usain Bolt. When he set the world in the 100 metres in Berlin, his maximal speed was 12.4 m/s or 44.6 km/h.


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