In the beautiful game of soccer, the most common, fundamental need for all players is SPEED. Speed gets us to the ball quicker. Speed allows us to turn a 50/50 into a breakaway. Speed allows the defender to catch the forward on the break. Speed helps a goalie close down a shot quicker. Speed allows the midfielder to carve through a defense. We need it for every aspect of the game. How can we help turn a slow soccer player into a speed demon?
When looking at pure speed, we need leg strength, stability and power! You have to be able to push into the ground with more force in order to accelerate your body forward with more speed. This is called the Ground Reaction Force. Just as you need to be able to accelerate, there is just as equal importance in deceleration. If you cannot stop your body quickly, you cannot quickly accelerate again. Soccer is a game with so many quick changes of direction that involve speed in and out of the turns. Each leg acts unilaterally when sprinting, and in turn soccer players should be training for speed unilaterally as well. Training for speed increases needs to be done as single leg strength and single leg stability.
Single-leg Strength Exercises
- DB Single leg Romanian Deadlift
- DB Bulgarian Split Squat
- Split Squat jumps
- DB Step ups
Single-leg Stability/Deceleration Exercises
- Single Leg balance hold on balance pad
- Single Leg Hop and hold (all directions: in place)
- Single Leg squat and reach
- Single Leg Hop and hold (forward, lateral)
Make no mistake, this is not a magical one time fix and the process of neurological and physical adaptations will take months of hard work. But, this a crucial step in the right direction for turning slower athletes into faster athletes. More power and more strength will equate to more SPEED!
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