Speed is one of the most important physical components in football. 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.
The ball will always move faster than you can, so you have to think even faster. To play well at the highest speed of play and gain control of the game environment focus on developing multidirectional speed.
1. If you want to be fast, train fast
You are what you train. If you want to be fast, train fast. Start with a warm-up. More specifically, at the end of it finish with a task that requires your top speed. If you train alone, finish your warm-up with some short change of direction with and without a ball. If you have a training you can do speed reaction drills together. One of you runs in front changing directions and the other one is trying to repeat the movement as fast as they can. Remember, the distance of 10 meters is enough. Repeat it 3-5 times.
Don’t stop in the warm-up. Everything you do in the main part of your football training, do it with maximal speed. Do all the accelerations, decelerations, and change of directions with maximal effort. But find a rhythm between slow running and sprint. You can’t run with maximal speed all the time. Be fast when your team needs you to be fast.
Want To Become A Faster Player? Don’t Make These Mistakes
Today’s post will look into some common mistakes when doing speed training. Here is what you need to avoid.
2. Shorten ground contact time
Ground contact time is the amount of time your foot is in contact with the ground. Ability to lift off the ground earlier is a characteristic of the good biomechanics of running. Ground contact time is greatest during acceleration while faster running decreases it. If you want to decrease your ground contact time, include fast running in your training. Intervals and short sprints are the best for that. Use 6x200m intervals on a flat track or 6x10m sprints on a steep hill at full speed. Rest between reps should be between 3 to 5 minutes long.
3. Use strength and power exercises to form basis for speed and acceleration
A gym is a good place to develop your top speed. Put some weights on your shoulders if you want to be fast. Use squats, deadlift, snatch, clean and jerk, or any other Olympic lifts exercise to develop a strong body. A strong body will help you form the basis for speed and acceleration. All these exercises are developing leg strength while also activating core muscles. A proper technique of movement is the golden rule when doing these exercises! For example, when doing a squat don’t fall below the top of the knee. The torso should remain vertical throughout the movement. When you are confident enough try and find foot stance without looking down and learn where the bar sits on the back. The fastest and safest way to learn this is to get help from a strength and conditioning coach.
4. Speed in football is multidirectional
In main game situations, you won’t sprint straight ahead. Include zig-zag runs with maximal effort in your training. Place two cones up to 10m apart and run zig-zag between them. Train backward running on the same distance. Place cones in a triangle and practice defending movements with maximal speed. You can run in a square too. Start with a parallel forward run to the cone and then do a sharp cut and run diagonally to the other side of a square. You can finish with the same parallel run forward. Include jumps, different dribbling, cutting with the ball in all these exercises.
5. Don’t train speed if you’re tired
Last but not the least. To train speed you should be as fresh as a daisy because speed training requires your neural system. Don’t stress your body with too much work if you want to be fast. Feel ready and prepared to do each next repetition with the maximal effort. Always remember take enough rest between sets (up to 10 minutes). In a weekly schedule, you can place speed training at the end of the week, because training with high-intensity runs is a good stimulus for a match. But remember – quality, not quantity!
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