Considering its various energy demands, soccer is a tricky sport to train for. Certain players have to focus more on one skill than another, depending on how much running or how much physicality is required to play their position. But although the focus on strength or conditioning for specific position groups may differ, to have an impact on the field, all soccer players need speed.
The three skills most valued by soccer coaches are quick feet; top end speed; and the ability to accelerate, decelerate and reaccelerate. The following soccer-specific speed drills are designed to increase speed and develop all-around soccer athletes. They should be performed in the order presented, as each one primes you for the next. (Make sure you're properly hydrated with these soccer-specific tips.)
This drill is great to train for reducing ground contact time. It also allows you to recover the leg fully while mimicking movements used in dribbling and side sprinting, like abduction and adduction of the leg.
Sets/Distance: 5-8x10 yards
This trains acceleration, deceleration and re-acceleration in all directions, as well as first-step quickness.
Sets/Distance: 5x5 yards in all four directions
This is a great way to build top end speed by reinforcing basic recovery mechanics while sprinting for longer distances (more than 20-30 yards).
You can also do this drill in reverse by sprinting the first and last 20 yards and throttling down to 80% in the middle 20 yards. This trains for stride-burst-stride movement.
Sets/Distance: 6-8x60 yards
Want more soccer training? Get a complete game plan for becoming an all-star with the STACK Summer Training Guide for Soccer.