Running a 40 in less than 4.5 seconds is sick, but it doesn’t relate to how you move on the pitch. You need to change direction in the blink of an eye, so that’s how you should train.
“We work on lateral speed a lot because that’s how soccer players move,” says Todd Hedrick, strength and conditioning coach for the Wake Forest men’s soccer team, which advanced to the 2006 College Cup. “We do drills that apply lateral movements while going from deceleration to acceleration.”
Try the L Drill, which the Demon Deacons use once a week in the off-season.
• Beginning at Cone 1, shuffle to and touch Cone 2
• Turn, sprint back to and touch Cone 1
• Crossover run to and touch Cone 3
• Sprint to and touch Cone 4
• Back peddle to and touch Cone 3
• Sprint through Cone 5
• Return to Cone 1; perform drill facing opposite direction
Reps/Rest: 4/60 seconds
Adaptation: Have a partner tell you what movement to perform as you go through the drill.
Never perform any movements flat-footed // When shuffling, don’t click your heels or cross your feet // When performing the crossover run, sprint in a straight line while looking ahead // Keep your hips low and head up so you can see the field of play when touching the cones // As soon as you touch a cone, explode into the next movement