most important type of speed for soccer?

Im a soccer player and i am most concerned with speed. Lately i have been training for improvement in top speed by focusing on flying 20’s and other top speed drills. Earlier in the year i focused only on acceleration by doing short hill work and weights and i definitely improved my speed in a 20 meter sprint (similiar to the GPP program) and now i have moved on to the MaxV work… but i find myself wondering: Is there any reason for a soccer player to focus on TOP-END SPEED improvement? Judging from my experience in games, the most important type of speed for soccer players to possess is great acceleration (going from a slow jog into an all out sprint in order to blow by an opponent…like a car going from 0 to 60). Am i wasting my time focusing on the improvement of top-end speed? Is there any reason for a soccer player (forward and outside midfield) to focus on top-speed improvement? Should i focus only on improving acceleration speed? Thoughts?

with a sport like soccer i would stay with mostly 40 and under maybe working to 60-65 at times you would also perform med throws and hops, bounds, jumps.

Do you find yourself beating players on long serves down the field? or are you struggling to get behind the defenders? Have you looked at game film to see how often you run more than 20 yards in a sprint? Compare that to the amount of accelerations you have to do. View your top 2 or 3 best/most active games.

Please, search the forums for the exact same thing! You won’t be disappointed…


Firstly, there are many ways to skin a cat. That being said, the benefits of top speed work include:

1. It would be the “ultimate plyometric” (credit xlr8).

No other movement in sport has a smaller ground contact time than the foot strike at top speed. So, the plyometric/reactive effect of top speed work would transfer to all of your other power elements. It does not work as efficiently in reverse, i.e. bounds (the slower action) won’t help top speed (the faster action) as much as top speed helps bounds.

2. Speed Reserve

If you can run at 12 m/s :wink: and you only have to run at 7-9 m/s to cover your mark, then it is going to seem like a piece of cake (or just easier, in any case). You won’t be getting as tired.

Same thing for any movement throughout the game: all of your low intensity work (jogging, walking, cruising) is will be at a much lower effort than everyone else. So essentially, while you are training to get faster, you will also be enhancing your “endurance”.

You will also be more relaxed at any given speed you must play at. This will be helpful for making big plays when you have the ball, as relaxation is key for skill. And just for thinking tactically!

This is all the concept of Speed Reserve

3. If you are a fast son of a gun, then obviously when you get out in the open and can possibly reach top speed, everyone will eat your dust!

As long as you don’t pull something Leon Lett-esque in this situation, you will be money.

This scenario is probably quite rare however. (And I don’t even know if you are a forward, middy, or defender)

These are the rationalizations for developing top speed for your sport. But also you must think about skill work, tactical work, and acceleration among other things. Adjust the volumes of all these components to fit your needs, try something out, and see if it works.

If you are training with CFTS methodology then you are already a universe ahead of all those marathoner-looking-gasser-running soccer players out there in terms of your General and General Specific training.

Just pick your poison.

Very good points

One of the athletes I coach plays soccer. He trains twice to three times a week with me and once a week with his soccer team doing skills and fitness on fridays and matches on sundays. We count his soccer training as a tempo day. He trained as a long to short athlete last year so he did some 600s and downwards it was very effective. He commented how easy it was for him to play the game. He is getting noticed now. After a coach-athlete discussion, this year we have agreed that he would benefit from a short to long approach. He hasn’t looked back since. He now has to worry about defenders trying to hack him down because of his speed. He has commented on how efficiently he moves in comparison to others on the pitch.

Sprinting and soccer training seem to work well together. Frank Fredericks started out as a soccer player. Numerous sprinters in the UK start out as soccer players or train as both before making the leap into track.

why 600’s, soccer is mostly short speed and aerobic.

Same as speed reserve will benefit to soccer, a little speed endurance work will benefit to soccer via endurance reserve, altougth I wouldn’t do 600’s. For this issue (metabolic conditioning — speed endurance) we do 1on1 or 2on2 for 20-40secs (this can be modified as the time goes) and 120m runs. (1on1 and 2on2 are better choices)

Middlefielders: 60m back and forth (120m)

Backs: (outside) 20m – return – 40m — return (120m)

Forwards and Central Becks 10m – return – 20m – return — 30m —return (120m)

As an active rest, you can give a 5on2 hendicep games (last two players finish the drill are inside) for 3-4mins (production) or 1-2mins (toleration). 3-5 reps with 5-7minutes of active rest. 1-2sets.

BTW, even if this kind of workout is not specific to a game, sometimes this kind of situation can develop in a game, and then you better be prepared for it, because usually this kind of situation is decidefull for a game outcome (poor english?). Neverthless, we did only 2-3 this kind of traiing in this preparatory period —> It is not so improtant, thus the volume of this training is LOW, and only done with elite-athletes older than 16years old!!!
Also, some coaches says that this type of work will prepare the players for last couple of minutes of 90min games… don’t know if this is true, but it will build the mental thoughness, that’s for sure… just don’t over do it…. It is not crittical for succes as speed, but it should be done with very low volume/emphasis.

If I am asked WHATS IMPORTANT for soccer, it would be the following:

  1. Tactical Skills and Game Inteligence
  2. Technical Skills
  3. Acceleration, Explosive Strenght, Relative Strength, Elastic Strength,
  4. Speed Reserve
  5. Aerobic Capacity/Power (but not developed via long slow distance runs, but rather with tempo, tempo plus, meball throws and body circuits, complexes — Work Capacity). Can be also developed with small sided games — especially good is 4on4, 5on5.
  6. RSA — Repeat Sprint Ability. Short sprints with short recovery
  7. Speed Endurance — 1on1, 2on2, shuttles (limited to 120m or slighty more/less)

    Critiques, Comments Welcome! :slight_smile:

bro, speed reserve yes thats why i said earlier he should do some sprints in the 40-60 range, but special endurance ZERO no need to ever do special end work for team sports. theres a high aerobic component in soccer so tempo runs and circuits will play a major role.

True, but I woulnd’t be so black-or-white kinda logic…
A little speed endurance yes (2-3 seesions per preparatory period, 6-8 per year, or slightly more), but more… no need as you said it!

do you think those 6-8 sessions could be spent doing something more efficient towards the sport of soccer?

If everything is on its place (speed, aerobic enducance, technical skills), those couple of sessions of speed endurance (be it 1on1, or 2on2 games, or 120shuttles, or even RSA: repeated 30m sprints with short rest, but to exclude this RSA stuff from discussion) comes like the “sweet at the end”. Also, this is usually done in the last weeks of PREP period (in SPP) and followed by taper before a first game…

I am the first to stand on Charlie’s method/philosophy of avoiding Medium Intensity work (read speed/special endurance) for team sports, but I think (at this level of understanding/knowledge/experience) that a little of it is OK!

Also, Speed Endurance wok is usually 20-30 min in duration, thus you can include it in training sessions with other goals…

  1. Warm-up
  2. Tactical Training
  3. 10on10 on half field
  4. 2on2 5x40secs with 2min rest (rotate players)

i have NO problem with during med int work, because i feel med int work is a must when conditioning team sport athletes but must be done at correct times and not year round. i wasnt questioning your work but was more curious why.

No worry… I am all for a good discussion! We are here to learn :slight_smile:

Anyway, I have problems with medium intensity though… to fast and thus induce too much fatigue, and too slow to develop speed.
If we do Speed Endurance, we do it on HI days…

Have you looked at this thread?

i understand all that, but i believe during true speed and tempo are not enough to get team athletes condition for there sport. for example for fb players we would only do int tempo during the summer

AHA! This is mine belief too!

This is why we included Speed Endurance workouts (2on2, 120m shuttles, RSA circuits) in the first place!

I wouldn’t play with the tempo intensity thought, because it can induce too much fatigue.
Bring basic level of fitness with ordinary tempo, and then add a little of RSA and speed endurance to condition athletes even futher…

Can you expand a little futher on this?

expand on what?

Games and training games develop SE for soccer