Speed is certainly something that can be taught, with even those who are born with natural skill in this area being able to improve. A combination of both acceleration and football-specific training methods can be used in order to aid development, which help to change movement patterns and stimulate the appropriate muscles. Speed, agility, acceleration and power all play a role in determining how quickly a player can move around the pitch.
Strength and power are two components that help to maximise speed, however in football, where more multi-directional movements are required, agility and athleticism are potentially more important. Many professional football clubs today employ specialist speed coaches in order to improve the skill of players in this area, with a systematic and progressive approach generally being required.
Straight line sprints have been proven to improve the biomechanics of players, however it has little impact in a sport such as football. This is simply due to the fact that out-right sprinting makes up roughly 1% of a 90-minute match, with short distance speed being more beneficial as a result. Football has become an increasingly explosive sport, with players being forced to change direction every few seconds in general. As a result, coaches should avoid too many exercises where velocity is the focus, instead creating more explosive drills.
Training drills should be based on acceleration, quick feet, explosiveness and turning, both with and without the ball. Meanwhile, the way in which a player runs is also likely to effect their ability to reach top speed, which is best taught from an early age. This can be a tricky area for specialist football coaches to teach, so seek the advice of a professional in doing so.
Increasing the volume of training is not possible in most cases, meaning that speed development must be incorporated into regular sessions. As a result, it is worth keeping in mind the four components of speed when creating exercises:
Injuries can be frustrating for any athlete, however the mental approach taken by children during this time is likely to determine whether they go on to achieve their goals or simply give up on sport altogether. So, just how can parents help their child to recover from such a setback?
An increasing number of teams are playing out from the back, as opposed to simply hoofing the ball upfield. While this can be a risky tactic, those who are able to carry it out effectively can quickly find themselves on the attack having bypassed a number of opposing players. So, just how can coaches help their players in approaching this strategy.
The likes of Barcelona and Ajax are known for their ability to keep the ball in tight areas, however this is not a skill that is simply developed overnight. Small sides games form a major part of training sessions in football today, due to their ability to improve passing, control and movement.