Soccer Speed Training: How to Become the Fastest Athlete on the Field

Use these drills from STACK Expert Ben Boudro to increase your in-game soccer speed.

So you've been working on your kicks, passes and dribbling skills to get ready for soccer season. But what about speed? Without some serious swiftness, you'll have trouble getting your foot to the ball in the first place.

Implement these soccer speed movements into your training regimen right now,  and you'll have the hustle you need to match your foot skills.

RELATED: Increase Your Soccer Speed With 4 Sprint Drills

1. Med Ball Side Toss to Sprint

Med Ball Side Toss to Sprint

How to:

  • Start with your feet in a square stance perpendicular to the direction you will be running.
  • Bend your inside knee and rotate back and forth as fast as you can for 5 reps without throwing the med ball.
  • On the fifth rep, throw the med ball from your hip as far as you can.
  • As you throw the ball, go right into an all-out sprint.


  • Helps you properly use your upper body and hips when taking off in a lateral direction.
  • Develops rotational power development, which you can use when you're kicking the ball.
  • Great builder of soccer speed.

Sets/Reps: 5x5

RELATED: 3 Biggest Myths About Soccer Speed

2. Band-Resisted Knee Drive

Band-Resisted Knee Drive

How to:

  • Wrap a band around a pole or any stable anchor point.
  • Get in a push-up position and wrap the band around your shoelaces. Put some tension on the band.
  • Drive your knee as fast as you can toward your chest, resisting the band.
  • Hold it there for 2 seconds.
  • Drive it back slowly.


  • Develops hip flexor, anterior core and knee drive.
  • Works your whole body, especially your hips and abs.
  • By training your ab muscles and hip flexors to drive your knee, you train your body to add serious speed to your legs.

Sets/Reps: 3x10 per leg with 1:30 rest between sets

RELATED: Speed Training Plan from the U.S. National Soccer Team

3. 5-10-5 Pro Agility Drill

5-10-5 Pro Agility Drill

How to:

  • Place 3 cones 5 yards apart in a straight line.
  • Start at the middle cone with one hand on the ground.
  • Sprint/shuffle as fast as you can 5 yards in the direction of your choice.
  • Sprint/shuffle 10 yards in the opposite direction as fast as possible.
  • Finish by sprinting 5 yards the opposite direction again.
  • It sounds complicated, but it's really not. Check the video.
  • Do 5 full reps with 1:30 rest between them. Time yourself on the last 3 trials!


  • Lateral agility and stopping.
  • Forces you to change direction rapidly while accelerating and decelerating. Huge for soccer speed.
  • You will find that the more often you stay in a good position, the more often you will have fast times.

4. Straight Leg Run to Sprint

Straight Leg Run to Sprint

How to:

  • Start by performing High Knee Skips for 10 yards (keep your chest high!)
  • At 10 yards, go right into a sprint.
  • Sprint 20 yards
  • Focus on kicking your legs forward and not backward (wasted energy!)
  • Do 3 sets, resting at least 2 minutes between sets.
  • Film yourself and pay attention to how much you are kicking your knees backward or forward.


  • Great teaching tool for keeping your knees high while running.
  • Forces you to run with all your energy going forward, not backward.
  • Soccer speed.

5. Hurdle Transition Drill

Hurdle Transition Drill

How to:

  • Place 6 medium height hurdles perpendicular to each other at 10-yard intervals.
  • Sprint 10 yards.
  • At each set of hurdles, perform High Knees Laterals, then clear the hurdle and continue to sprint.
  • Repeat for the next 20 yards.
  • Do 3 sets of down & back as fast as possible, resting 2 minutes between sets.


  • Teaches you to run with your knees high.
  • Develops soccer speed.
  • Improves conditioning.

Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock