SPEED AND AGILITY (SOCCER)
For multi-sprint sports such as soccer, absolute speed is NOT the most important factor. Speed off the mark, acceleration and agility are. Here are nine classic SPEED and AGILITY drills designed to improve your speed off the mark and acceleration.
Set 2 cones 10 – 20 yards apart. Sprint from one cone to the next and slowly jog back to the start. Vary the start of the sprint to make it more sport specific. For example:
Pretend to make a pass, or jump to head the ball; then go.
Same as # 1 except you jog for ten yards then sprint 10 – 20 yards. This drill is specifically designed to enhance acceleration rather than speed off the mark. Variations: running backwards or sidestepping.
In competition the first few strides are crucial. Running up a slight hill helps to develop power and acceleration. Keep the distances short (10 – 15 yards) and allow extra time between sets and reps.
This helps to develop leg speed and co-ordination. Keep the distances short (10 – 15 yards) and once again it should be a slight hill.
Set 5 cones in 30-yard intervals. Sprint 30 yards, jog 30 yards, sprint 30, jog 30 to the final cone. Walk back to the start and repeat.
Mark out a distance of 60 yards then 40 more for a total of 100 yards. From the start, gradually accelerate to reach full speed at about the 60-yard mark. Sprint all out for the last 40 yards.
Helps to improve foot speed, leg speed, and co-ordination. Especially important in soccer because it requires excellent footwork.
Set up a series of 8 – 10 cones in a straight line, about 1 yard apart. Weave through the cones, turn and weave back to the start.
A training partner and large area are necessary for this drill. Have your training partner jog, run, and sprint randomly over a large area. You must try to shadow her/him as closely as possible. This will help to develop your reaction time, acceleration, and speed endurance.
GUIDELINES FOR DOING THE DRILLS
Quality is the key to speed and agility drills being successful. Keep individual sprints short and rest completely between sets. Use these four (4) pointers to maximize your training.
1. Warm up thoroughly. These drills may not leave you out of breath but do put considerable strain of your musculature.
2. Speed and Agility drills should be done on separate days to other training.
3. A typical session should consist of approximately 5 sets of 10 repetitions (each sprint = 1 repetition). Work to rest ratio should be 1:5 i.e. a 5 second sprint should be followed by a 25 second recovery period.
4. You gain most benefit from these drills after you have developed a solid strength and power base. Therefore, these drills should be done late in preseason. Two (2) sessions a week is ample.
** From “Sport Fitness Advisors”