So you want more speed in your soccer (football) game to out run your opponents and are at odds at how to go about it. Well, to develop speed to play soccer well is very much different from developing speed say, for a track and field race. Why is this so? That is because you have to develop various types of speed instead of just sprinting speed.
The types of speed you need to develop are:-
• Thinking speed – You must think fast on your feet (pun not intended) and adapt to the furious pace of the game. You are running and thinking at the same time. How to feign a movement, how to create space, which position to run into, who to pass the ball to, to shoot or to dribble…etc. The flow of thoughts are endless until the final whistle is blown.
Thinking speed can be developed with a good football coach and by playing competitive football game often.
• Acceleration speed – Acceleration speed is crucial to play good soccer. You need to suddenly pick up speed very quickly when your opponents are closing in on you. This sudden burst of speed will catch your opponents unaware or caught them flat footed if your acceleration includes a sudden change of direction.
You can develop acceleration speed by developing strength in your entire lower body. All your leg muscles including your glutes (butt muscles) are recruited when you accelerate. Weight training with squats, lunges, stiff legged dead lift and calf raises are crucial to develop power in your lower body. When your lower body muscles are strong, you can also jump higher when you are going for a heading.
High Interval Intensity training and incline speed running up slopes will also help you to develop powerful acceleration speed as well as building up your endurance and power.
• Turning Speed – When you dribble, turn and feign fast, you need to have great body stability and strength. You can only turn fast and powerfully if you have strong and stable core muscles.
To develop powerful core muscles, do crunches, reverse crunches, bridge, plank, side crunches etc. These exercises are to be done slowly and deliberately compressing your core muscles hard every time you breathe out.
When you have physically developed these muscles well, coupled with good skill training and stamina, you will be one hell of a speed demon on the football field.