7 Soccer Speed Training Tips and Techniques

soccer speed Jun 21, 2024
7 Soccer Speed Training Tips and Techniques

Speed plays a crucial role in soccer, acting as the essential element that ties all skills together, making both athletes and teams successful. Dribbling, passing, and shooting are fundamental to gaining a competitive edge, but speed training forms the foundation that ensures their effectiveness.

In soccer, speed consists of four key components:

  1. Pure speed, which is how quickly a player can move from one point to another, whether with or without the ball.
  2. Technical speed, which involves controlling and maneuvering the ball at speed while changing direction as needed during the game.
  3. Reaction speed, which is the ability to quickly process and respond to actions from teammates and opponents.
  4. Mental speed, referring to rapid decision-making based on the evolving game situation.

These components can be honed through soccer speed and agility drills, but it’s essential to remember that speed alone isn’t sufficient.

Our guide below will delve into soccer conditioning drills to ensure your team’s endurance, enabling them to cover the 7 to 9.5 miles typically run during a soccer match while reducing the risk of muscle injuries.

7 Drills to Include in Your Soccer Speed Training Program

Running Uphill

Speed training for soccer is incomplete without including this drill in your training session. When it comes to improving speed in soccer, blending regular running with strength training is the name of the game. While exercises like leg extensions and squats pump up muscle power and overall strength, they lack one crucial element: running.

Enter hill workouts, a game-changer in this speed-enhancing journey. This drill introduces forward running, intensified by gravity’s resistance. This potent combo triggers powerful muscle contractions, ultimately translating to longer and faster strides.

But the benefits don’t stop there. Hill running hones acceleration and sharpens arm movement mechanics, essential for soccer players.

  • To get started, find a gentle hill in your local area.
  • Begin with a 5-10 minute jog to warm up.
  • Then, it’s time for the uphill sprint. Run for 5 seconds, walk down to the start, then 7 seconds uphill, followed by a walk down.
  • Finish strong with a 10-second uphill sprint, cooling down with a walk downhill.
  • Rest for 2-3 minutes between sets, aiming for 3-5 sets per session. Even the fastest players repeat this workout at least once a week. It’s a simple yet effective way to level up their soccer speed game.

Stadium Stairs Speed Training Drill

Stadium stairs are a powerful addition to your sprint training toolkit, offering a refreshing twist into soccer speed drills. Unlike running on flat ground, this exercise engages the hips, hamstrings, and glutes in a dynamic sprint forward.

It’s a welcome change of pace from the usual track routine, promoting improved speed, and the low-impact nature minimizes fatigue and reduces injury risks. Here’s how this high intensity drill works:

  • Atheltes sprint up the stairs, step by step, for 15-30 seconds in the first round.
  • They then jog back down.
  • Next, it’s time for longer strides as they skip every other step in a 15-30 second sprint. Followed by another jog down, and that’s one round.
  • A brief 1-minute cool-down precedes the second round, with six rounds per session.

Soccer Flying Sprints

Traditional sprints have their place on the track, but they hit a fatigue limit. That’s where flying sprints step in as an invaluable addition to the soccer speed training program and endurance training regimen of soccer athletes. With just 2 or 3 cones, these drills focus on enhancing top-speed sprinting, no fancy equipment needed.

The magic of flying sprints lies in their versatility, helping improve maximum speed and long sprints. Starting at a manageable pace, athletes gradually ramp up to full-speed sprinting before easing off. It’s a dual-purpose exercise that hones acceleration and deceleration while increasing power in muscle fibers.

Here’s how you can get started:

  • Place three cones: one at the start, one 20 yards away, and the third 20 yards from the second.
  • Players begin with a jog, accelerate to about 75% of their top speed to the second cone, then sprint to the third before slowing down.
  • After each sprint, a 2-3 minute breather is in order before the next rep. Six reps per session will do the trick.
  • To enhance running mechanics and focus on top speed, aim for these soccer sprint training drills at least twice a week. They provide excellent opportunities for practice and development.

While they sprint, their personal trainer must keep an eye on players, ensuring they maintain a proper stance with a slight forward lean and their arms bent at a 90-degree angle. Moreover, staying on the balls of their feet facilitates smooth acceleration and deceleration, a key focus of this training.

Push Start Speed Training Exercises

In the heat of a soccer match, quick acceleration is essential, often requiring athletes to spring into action from diverse angles and starting positions.

The push-start soccer sprint exercise takes center stage in training, with a keen focus on refining start mechanics and reaction speed, which are crucial for improving sprint ability. Here’s how this exercise works:

  • Position two cones, about 20 yards or meters apart.
  • Players initiate the drill from a push-up stance at the first cone.
  • At the coach’s signal, they explode into a full-speed sprint toward the second cone. From there, a gentle jog back to the first cone aids recovery.
  • Repeat this 6-8 times per session.

Notably, this exercise offers a forgiving learning curve, allowing beginners to develop their sprinting form more naturally, a valuable asset for longer sprints. Moreover, it’s a key component of soccer agility drills, enhancing athletes’ ability to change direction swiftly. This exercise can be performed at home, allowing players to enhance their speed and agility even without their conditioning coach.

Sprint Back-Pedal Repeats

A critical skill for any soccer player, especially defenders, is the ability to swiftly transition from sprinting forward to backpedaling and vice versa. This skill ensures athletes, including goalkeepers, can keep pace with the ball’s movements on the field and run faster.

One of the effective speed training exercises for soccer players that hone this essential trait is the sprint-backpedal drill. This drill enhances quickness and speed while improving balance of the body.

Here’s how the drill can be executed:

  • Arrange five cones in a straight line with a 5-yard gap between each.
  • Beginning at cone 1, leaning forward to sprint to cone 3.
  • At the third cone, backpedal swiftly to cone 2.
  • Propel forward at full sprint to cone 4 before backpedaling to cone 3.
  • Change direction and sprint to cone 5 before gradually decelerating.

To maximize the impact of this acceleration drill during a training session, encourage soccer players to generate force from the balls of their feet, drive their knees upward when sprinting, and maintain a low posture when backpedaling.

This exercise sharpens their agility, quickness, and overall ability to control their body, helping them achieve better balance and ultimately play at a higher level. Practicing the drill regularly will allow athletes to significantly improve their speed and their ability to play with greater control.

Bounce and Hop Drill With a Ball

The sprint bounce and hop drill with a ball not only enhances speed but also improves balance, coordination, and footwork, making it a valuable addition to any speed training routine. Here’s how it’s done:

  • Start inside the first square of the ladder, with the ball positioned just outside, to the right or left.
  • Place one foot on top of the ball and hop to the second square with the other foot. While hopping, use the foot on the ball to roll it along the ladder.
  • Continue hopping through all the ladder squares while rolling the ball to the last one.
  • In the last square, turn around and hop back to the starting point, completing one repetition. Alternate the hopping foot with the one that initially rolled the ball.
  • Repeat this 8-10 times, with 1-2 minute breaks between each repetition.

Dynamic Suicide Sprint Training Drill

The dynamic suicide drill with a ball is a classic, high-intensity soccer training exercise designed to boost speed and stamina while improving maximum velocity. Here’s how it’s done:

  • Arrange five cones in a line, maintaining a 10-15 yard gap between them.
  • Start the exercises from cone 1 to cone 2, then swiftly turn around cone 2 and sprint back to cone 1.
  • From cone 1, race to cone 3, navigate around the cone, and dash back to cone 1.
  • Repeat this pattern, progressing to the fifth cone, and then running fast back to cone 1 to complete one repetition.

Suicide drills provide an engaging and effective way to cover around 200 yards of sprinting without athletes even realizing it.

As they become accustomed to this exercise, they can add variations like forward sprints, backpedaling to cone 1, or even dribbling while sprinting, further enhancing their soccer skills and reaction time.

These agility drills, part of a well-rounded training routine, bolster muscle fibers and practice quick changes in direction, preparing athletes for the competition period.


In conclusion, these seven soccer speed training tips and techniques encompass a holistic approach to improving your performance on the field. These exercises not only enhance endurance but also foster muscle development and improve speed.

By incorporating variations in your training, such as commencing sprints from different starting positions, you engage your muscles in diverse ways, achieving comprehensive conditioning and improved acceleration.

Practicing both forward and backward sprints refines your agility and movement, sharpening your reaction time for a more dynamic performance. And, of course, classic sprinting drills remain unparalleled for increasing speed and endurance. So, raise your heart rate, set your timer, and embark on your journey of speed training!

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