How to Develop Your Speed While Avoiding The Common Mistakes

An important part of your overall soccer fitness is your speed. Thus speed training will increase the skill at which you can perform on the field.

A fast runner is very useful during a contra attack but what is actually speed or running fast mean?

Well, as you will notice later in this guide, speed is not just about running faster than light 🙂

Having fast sprinting abilities is vital for any athlete. However speed means much more than that.

For soccer we see speed as:

1. Fast accelerating abilities.

2. Maintaining a high max speed.

3. Your ability to act fast in different game situations.

4. Your ability to twist.

5. Your ability to turn fast.

6. Your ability to change your direction quickly.

7. Your ability of analyzing a game situation and anticipate.

8. Your ability to control the ball at high speed during a soccer game.

The first 6 points can be improved with specific training of speed. The 7-8 can only be improved by participating in regular soccer matches.

Key Points

Some of the key points you need to keep in mind when practicing on your speed (without a soccer ball) are following:

  • You must warm up properly.
  • Try to practice on your speed at the beginning of the training session while you are fresh.
  • Avoid working on speed training if you have an active injury or have just exited your recovery phase.

How to Gain More Acceleration

To increase your acceleration abilities you need to move your feet quickly and gradually increasing stride length as you drive forward.

Drills for quicker feet (for example using speed ladders) will improve your acceleration greatly as well as your coordination.

Using sprint drills and low intensity plyometrics will increase your strength. However, if you are younger than 13, don’t use these ideas because it may harm your development.

If you’re 13 years old or younger, don’t use these ideas because it may harm your development.

How to Work on Your Maximum Speed

To develop good maximum speed you need to have strong legs and good leg speed. To gain strong legs and good leg speed you should participate in different sprinting drills.

One thing to keep in mind when working on your sprinting drills is to have your arms strong and relaxed. Here are some drills that you can use to gain better maximum speed:

  • Bum kicks, your focus should be on your leg speed.
  • High knees, try to not lean back.
  • Height skips.
  • Length skips.
  • Length bounds (only for players 13+).
  • Length Hops (only for players 13+).

Try to do at least two to four reps. To recover, slowly jog back.

How to Develop Better Reaction Speed

Speed of reaction is vital in soccer. One drill you could use to develop better reaction speed is to have a buddy throwing a ball in different directions.

Remember that your buddy should not tell you which direction they will throw the ball.

Change Direction

Being able to change direction in soccer is also important. One drill you could use to increase this ability is to sprint in different directions.

Force yourself to run forward, then back, left to right and vice versa, then forward again, then back etc.

Keep in mind that in a soccer match you will need to run in every possible direction.

Sustain Speed

Speed endurance is your ability to keep a maximum speed as long as possible. For example, a good 800 m runner may keep his speed endurance during the whole competition.

A good practice method for speed endurance is to use interval type training combined with high intensity and long recovering periods.


Keep in mind that you need to have some base training first before starting to build on your speed endurance. Jogging is a great way to gain base training.