My journey to soccer

I’m 24 years old, about to be 25. I’ve been in this forum for a long time but never paid attention to sprinting technique. I’ve always been one of the fastest in my teams and for sure the most talented skill wise and shooting wise. I was offered a contact to one of the biggest teams in south america and for a huge perosnal reason i postponed it. That was 8 years ago. I sitll have the skills, not te confidence and my position relies on pace. If my skills are a bit above average but my pace is 7s in 60m fat, i think i’d be for SURE the fastest in the pro league.
I began exploring and read that relative strength is important… so at 74 kilos i took my deadlift to 220 and my squat to 180 below parallel. My bodyweight also climbed to 82 kilos at what i would guess 18% bf.
I began timing my self with an app at a soccer field. hand measured 60m and got a 8.4.
After analazying i noticed i was running on my toes. Not dorsiflexing which makes ground contact shorter. I also read about attacking the ground. THAT WAS HUGE for me. I had never done that. I tried it and i could advance a lot more. I think that and lack of dorsiflexing is the reason soccer players have an average stride length of less than 1.70m at max v.
Last week, i timed my self i got a 7.91 and also one 7.98. It’s crazy how much you can advance when you attack the ground and dorsiflex. Also was the first time in my life i felt it in my hamstrings and glutes. I felt i opened the pandora box.
My goal now is to improve my mechanics and leg stiffness, rate of force developtment and lower my BF %. I know i’ll improve a lot for sure when im at 8% bf. I’m confident i can do and will do at least 7.2-3 in 60m which for soccer is almost super speed.
The way i’ll be training:
Monday - drills, speed work and weights to hit the posterior chain
Thursday - upperbody weights(OHP and weighted pullups) soccer practice
Wensday - drills, max velocity work and weights for posterior chain
Tuesday - same as thursday
Friday - Drills, speed work and training
Saturday - Game
I’ll be treating the practice as a tempo workout. It kinda is in a way.

It must either buenas dias or bom dia ale1231

As for your preparation, keep in mind that problems with arm action are some of the most prominent with soccer players.

Your strength with barbells is very good for your weight, I suspect you do not need any more.

I caution you against performing speed work on consecutive days and on days adjacent to your soccer practice. This will provide you with very little recovery and many days of CNS stress by way of sprinting day after day.

Even though you are treating your practice as tempo, you cannot be sure that you will not be performing sprints for and with the ball.

Buenas noches, James, I’m from Montevideo. I was also thinking of maybe doing speed work on monday and on thursday before soccer practice but I’m not sure if my cns is affected and wouldn’t recognize how to know if its “fried”. I wouldn’t go over 400 meters per session of speed work if i do it 3 times a week.
I’m very away of arms crossing our bodies as soccer players and when sprinting, focus on everything going straight.
By the way, the sprints they might have us do in practice i’d do it at a slow pace. The few times we have done speed work in like a month it has been zigzags with a 10 meter sprint which is nothing… Their other attempts at speed work is basically intensive tempo. They have us run 30-40 meters, come back jogging and immediatly sprint back. After the first run everybody winds up doing it at 70% so sometimes its not even intensive tempo.
Everything they have us do i do at a low speed as tempo. I don’t trust the physical trainer for my speed development. Yesterday the guy was asking for extremely short steps and step to the sides to accelerate faster which is nonsense. I treat everything as cardio to burn calories and burn body fat.
Maybe the best option would be those 3 days speed work and if my cns is getting fried maybe eliminate one of the weights sessions. Also, if my cns was getting fried weekly, is there a chance i could get slower months down the line?

Buenas noches ale1231, Montevideo es fantastico! Yo estaba allí en 2012 con Portugal selecion nacional de rugby.

I agree with you regarding your thoughts on what your trainer was asking.

Indeed you must determine how you are feeling each day and couple that with the trend of what the practices consist of day to day and week to week.

The alternate option, which I’ve had athletes do in the past, is to perform lower volume speed work immediately before practice. In this way, the days in between can serve as low intensity or recovery.

If your cns is getting fried you’d be lucky to come away with only becoming slower. The greater likelihood is that you’d become injured by way of mechanical overload.

You are fast and strong. Now you want to keep it like that.

Learning to listen to your body with regards to what you are doing to your body is an important skill to have or hone. How do you feel when you have done a fast speed workout? Are you aware of what the feeling of having a fried CNS is like? Do you know what to do when you feel fried? These are important questions and how you address these answers is equally important.

Your body fat % is connected to the intensity of work you are doing and also your diet. Do you consume of a lot of fruit juices?

Soccer cleats don’t exactly lend themselves to dorsiflexion of the foot. I assume you are doing speed work before soccer practice in track spikes?

Do you feel you need to go below parallel for squats or do you only go below parallel for testing purposes? I am sure you know squating below parallel becomes in conflict with the stressors you want to put on your body with sprinting? You don’t want unneeded joint stress when you can squats at parallel. IF the goal is to get faster then you need to manage that aspect of your weights to prioritize speed.

My thoughts about arm action is not to fuss much about it as it will improve over time with more attention to higher quality speed sessions and you are already aware.

As for the “tempo” in practice as low I am not certain but the fitter you are the better as you can make it low as it’s a relative % to your max ability. Sounds like you are managing this aspect of training well already.

How have you come up with your baseline volume of 400 meter of speed per session 3 x per week? When and if you wish to establish a baseline start point for theoretical purposes for speed volume you have to make an assessment of what a person looks like. I was having a discussion with someone I know well not very long ago about this. The allocation of speed volume is based on what you are seeing. If it’s good you do more and if it the technical mechanics are degrading you STOP. This is a tough part to do alone but this is where how you are feeling comes into play. IF I do speed work now I have to make sure I do several things to insure myself success or forget it. It’s the only way I am able to have a chance at replicating anything over 10 meters that will be quality.

James has hit the nail on the head regarding doing careful speed volumes before training. The volume will change based on how other parts of the training are going.

I would add in routine regeneration every day. I used to do contrast showers often before speed, after speed and before bed or first thing in the morning always with the key intent to heat up the muscles for protection of injury and constantly manage CNS fatigue. CNS fatigue is cumulative and it will sneak up on you. If you don’t build into your progression rest it does not happen.

Note about regeneration for speed work.

I was going to school, I was working and I was making all my own meals for Charlie and I. If I didn’t stay on top of all methods of regeneration I was toast. It became a game for me that I enjoyed playing and I got very good at it.

Some people live at home and have someone catering to their needs 24/7. Ben had his mom. He would be the first to tell you this. HIs responsibility was to train.

There is a physical cost for things people do. Shopping, working, standing on your feet, etc. As athletes you are looking to control every single variable or manage the variables.

Was the game at Estadio Charrua, next to the big stadium(Estadio Centenario). I know our national team plays there or Campus de Maldonado.
Doing the sprint work before practice is a nice idea although the field where i sprint might be occupied. I think i’ll keep doing speed on the mornings of monday, wednesday and friday. I don’t really feel soccer practice taking a toll on my body. Coach puts a lot of emphasis on skill work which is good for me. What I will do though is probably just do weight training just 2 days a week to maintain strength. I never paid attention to CNS resources but it makes a lot of sense to focus on sprint. I’m kind of strong already, specially for soccer.
If I do feel tired this following weeks i might just do what you are suggesting. I might leave weight training to just 2 days a week and do sprint work before practice.
I will take this weeks to test how it goes. Before this 2 weeks i was only weight lifting. Soccer began a month ago but we did a lot of pre-season long runs. Some even up to 10k.

I have no idea of how someone feels when their cns is fried. That is a good question. How could i recognize when I’m doing too much?
For the sprint work my goal is to do 2 sets of 3 60m runs. I will use an app which very is reliable. I don’t have a track near my area for now but i do have access to a field which i have already measured intervals of 10m.
So basically i’ll be recording every day i go and write down my times. My idea for sprint work would be the following:
Monday 2x3x60m
Wendesday 2x3 fly 20m
Friday 2x4x30m

Regarding regeneration… I never looked into specifics. Just began writing down the calories. Making sure i get enough protein and carbs. Weighting what i eat to make sure i eat 2000 calories. So far i’ve dropped 2 kilos. After speed days i have low intensity days in the form of soccer practice. And if we do have to sprint at practice, i’ll go at 80% max and for low distances.
What I might just do now is look more intro contrast shower and other regenartion methods. Makes a lot of sense to get our bodies 100% for maximum effort.

Edit: I don’t squat anymore. I feel there are other exercises more relevant to sprinting such as stiff legged deadlifts and romanian deadlifts. I won’t be lifting much just to maintain my current strength and maybe build it up a little.
My emphasis is on developing that speed by sprinting. Improve my mechanics and my rate of force development from sprinting itself.

I actually don’t remember the name of the stadium in Montevideo.

Consider the low volume/high quality speed before practice (right before or in the morning) and any lower body weights after practice (all on the same day and not two days in a row). Then, if you split your weights into upper/lower you can do the upper weights on the alternate days.

The key points to regard are to avoid pure speed work two days in a row and to not perform lower body weights the day prior to speed work.

As for middle/long distance runs for soccer, total waste of time. While some players total over 10k of locomotion in a match it is not continuous and a large percentage is walking and jogging.

Ok, so today i did 2x4x30. I did it at a 4,3 range. App i’m using for android is Sprint Start Cam.
No weight training since i was a little tired from yesterday’s practice and the speed work.
Couldn’t make it to practice today and i’m out of town tomorrow so no game for me. I’ll be rested for monday. I like doing sprint work. I’m seriously looking into signing up for a meet. It’d be fun to know what I can do for real at a meet. Never run one in my life.
I agree James regarding the long/middle distance. Specially for me being a foward who has to stay up top without defensive responsabilities. I can get by long distance run. What kills me is anaerobic type resistance work like fartlek.

Totally agree.

Today I did: 2x3x60
8 reps of one legged bound jumps for two sets
depth jumps 3 sets of 3.
Nothing else. Else went and signed up for the track facilities so now i have access to that.
Wenseday will be my first day there. Pretty excited about that.

Upper body weights today.
Over head press - 70 kilos 5 reps followed by push press for 3 more reps. 4 sets.
Weighted pull ups - 3 sets, 6 reps with 20 kilos
Weighted chin ups - same.
We played a match at practice… pretty exhausting. Got tackled hard today and my ankle hurts. Might not do much tomorrow. Was pumped about my first day at this new track field.
Will also be doing the speed work on training days as you guys suggested so I’m better rested. Will do 2 speed days with enough volume. Hopefully it’ll be enough to see an improvement.
I’m also down in weight to 78,7 kilos.

I’d like to know and hear feedback from all of you regarding your own CNS fatigue.
I was burned out as a track athlete before meeting Charlie.
I thought I was not fast anymore but I was doing all of the wrong type of training to be fast.
The good news about ale1231 is you are already fast and strong.
Imagine the gains you have to acquire with routine and actively practicing regeneration.
I am interested to hear what any of you think.

Just read your new blog post, and I especially liked the part where you said that it’s normal to feel bad horrible for the first 20-30 minutes of training. I rarely feel good during earlier part of my warm up, and take longer to get prepared for sprinting, so it makes much more sense to me. I still need a lot more learning when it comes to listening to my body, and I wonder what you and other members think about heart rate variability. I think it was to be done first thing in the morning when you’re at rest.

Kwave, regarding HRV, it’s only one physiological indicator; and a highly volatile one at that because any variety of stimuli that serve to affect parasympathetic or sympathetic tone could generate a misleading test result if it occurred prior OR normalize the system such that after a cautionary result was provided the athlete could still very well perform the intended workload.

Taken from the study listed below “Vagal afferent stimulation leads to reflex excitation of vagal efferent activity and inhibition of sympathetic efferent activity.75 The opposite reflex effects are mediated by the stimulation of sympathetic afferent activity.76 Efferent vagal activity also appears to be under “tonic” restraint by cardiac afferent sympathetic activity.77

Thus, despite the popularity of HRV monitors, it is important for coaches and athletes to recognize the totality of what is required if decisions are to be influenced by diagnostics.

I’d encourage anyone interested to go through this paper very carefully.’s long and technical, however, anyone serious about using HRV would be wise to educate yourself.

For the record, I’ve never used HRV with athletes.

Great points you’re making as always, Mr. Smith. I was hoping that maybe by doing it during “resting” state that I could hopefully control other factors that can affect my HR, but apparently, it won’t be enough to control those other factors. It’s too general in nature…I guess is the problem. Would be nice if I had money to have omega wave measurement tools.

Thank you.

People do love data but what judgements do you make once you get the data. I know one of Charlie’s former athletes uses HRV as a tool but she also has many other criteria she uses to make decisions about work she allocates. She explained to me that she now calls tempo recovery runs because it’s so easy for tempo to turn into medium intensity. I thought her description for the high school aged kids was perfect. She has been teaching them that in order to run fast you also need to have recovery runs or recovery sessions in between.

HRV measurements and associated training with HR monitors are widespread in endurance sports. Many individuals observe a drop in hr as they get fitter. And then see a lower hr for a given training effort. Clearly endurancd sports are higbly cardio depedant.
However i have never heard of a correlation between hr levels in sprinting. Tempo running will produce cardio benefits but that is just a useful by product. CNS status muscle tone feeling of mobilty are more effective indicators of sprinting readiness.

By the way i have found resting hr a useful indicator of lack of sleep or impending illness or general feeling of wellness. Morning is an ok time but so is any time in the evening after you have been stationary just be consistent.

I agree with all of what you have said as well. It made sense to me for Cheryl to use the HR monitor with the younger kids as she was finding it useful to convince them to do work they otherwise did not want to do and the data helped to ‘make’ them do it. " your heart rate doesn’t lie" she said.
We did use the resting heart rate for an indicator of wellness and or readiness or lack of readiness I guess you could say.