Speed is one of the most common athletic improvements asked for. Thus a lot of time is spent on teaching the athlete how to speed up. However, in the game of soccer, soccer players need to sprint, stop, and change direction. This speed comes from being able to transition in and out of various directions efficiently. To improve this part of speed a soccer player must train deceleration.
Deceleration is the process of slowing down and hitting the brakes.
Proper deceleration is important for two reasons:
1) Injury Prevention
2) Enhanced Speed
Injury prevention causes a high neural demand that puts a lot of stress on the body. Proper deceleration occurs when our muscles contract to come to a stop safely. Learning to coordinate the movement of the hips, knees, and ankles properly will allow for less injury to occur.
Enhanced speed is due a soccer player being able to decelerate and change direction quickly. This will allow for the soccer player to free up space and win 1 v 1 battles.
It is important to teach youth athletes how to slow down and not leave an emphasis on only speeding up. Here at Champion’s QUEST we emphasize proper deceleration mechanics for our athletes to ensure optimal soccer performance.
Coach Angela Garcia, Soccer Assistant Coach