Soccer Speed Training Tips

April 20, 2016

Jay Neveu

Getting your speed up for the soccer season is key for having success both during practice and during a match. Soccer speed training is important for improving your overall endurance and pace, as well as conditioning your body for a hard practice and an even harder game. There are many different methods of training for soccer speed from creative interval training to classic sprint drills.

Practice Speed from Different Starting Positions

If you’re a seasoned soccer player, you know that hopping into a full-on sprint doesn’t always happen from the best position. Work on your soccer sprint speed by practicing short-distance sprints from different starting positions - a creative way to use interval training combined with speed training.

For example, you could lay flat on your stomach with your hands by your side, and then spring up into a 20-meter sprint. Time yourself from the starting position until you finish your sprint to work on improving your speed.

Some other starting positions to try:

  • Kneeling down on the ground (think: you’ve fallen to your knees during the game)
  • Lay down flat on your back (have you ever been knocked over by another player?)
  • Start in a push-up position (maybe not as common, but great for your core)
  • Squat down with your heels at your butt (this is great for improving your leg muscles)

Work in intervals, changing from one starting position and sprint to the next. Try to improve your overall time, as well as how quickly and efficiently you can bounce up from the starting position.

Frontward and Backward Sprints

You will not always have the luxury of running in a forward direction during soccer games. In fact, backwards running and sprinting is a common motion, so it’s in your best interest to improve your speed while backpedaling.

To improve your frontward and backward speed, try a soccer speed training drill like this:

  • Set up about 5-7 cones on the field in a straight line standing around 5 yards apart
  • From the starting point, sprint forward to the first cone
  • At the 2nd cone, turn around and sprint backwards (or backpedal) to the next cone
  • Repeat this drill, rotating between forward and backward sprints

Time yourself in this drill to really get the full benefits. Work on improving your overall speed, as well as making your transitions more fluid and efficient.

Classic Sprints – Soccer Speed Training at its Best

For some of the best soccer speed training, rely on the classic sprint drill. Working in measured distances (30m, 60m, 90m), warm up and then get ready to sprint. If it’s the beginning of the season, start small with intervals of three. Work up to doing up to six repetitions of sprints.

For example, start with:

  • 3 repetitions of 30-meter sprints (rest about 45 seconds between each)
  • 3 repetitions of 60-meter sprints (rest about 45 seconds between each)
  • 3 repetitions of 90-meter sprints (rest about 45 seconds between each)


Then once you’re feeling good about those drills, work up to:

  • 6 repetitions of 30-meter sprints (rest only 30 seconds between each)
  • 6 repetitions of 60-meter sprints (rest only 30 seconds between each)
  • 6 repetitions of 90-meter sprints (rest only 30 seconds between each)

In between those measured short-distance sprint drills, you can work on longer distance sprint running (200 meters) on the in-between days. The combination of the short springs and longer runs will improve both speed and endurance.

Any of these soccer speed-training drills are great for your overall endurance, improving strength, and of course making you quicker on the field. Getting creative with your training (like starting sprints in different positions) will help with your muscle conditioning and interval workouts. Practicing forwards and backwards sprints will keep you quick on your toes all over the field, and of course the classic sprinting drills are the best for improving speed and endurance. Get your heart rate up, set your timer to on, and start speed training today!

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