Soccer coaching tips to improve sprint speeds
Children run in all sorts of ways - you only have to go to the school sports day to see what a difference it makes if they look like a runner. It's the same for your soccer players, some will struggle to get going, whereas others are naturally speedy. But you can improve all players' running by coaching these techniques and using soccer drills to work on speed and agility.
As a soccer coach you need to know how a player should run so you can show them and get them to try it for themselves. Players need to be able to sprint in short bursts to track back when the ball is lost, for instance, or to explode into the penalty area to support an attack.
This is a blueprint for you to share with your players to put them on the right track to getting more speed through technique.
Balls of the Feet drill
To get the full power out of the legs of the players, they need to sprint on the balls of their feet. Demonstrate this to the players by getting them to try running on the heels and on flat feet. Then have them run on the balls of the feet and feel the difference.
The higher the knee lift, the more power is generated when the foot returns to hit the ground.
Arm drive drill
Your legs move at the same speed as your arms. Get your players to jog on the spot with their arms by their sides. Then tell them to pump their arms as fast as possible and notice what happens to their legs.
They will move much faster.
In order to sprint efficiently the elbow joint needs to be locked at 90° and the arms need to drive backwards explosively on each step.
Develop arm power with players sitting with outstretched legs. They drive their arms and try to get their backsides off the ground.
When in full flight it is important to get the hips or pelvis tilted forward. This makes sure the gluteus muscles (your backsides and the largest in the body) are used properly when sprinting.
It also helps the player stay balanced when sprinting as their feet stay underneath their body.
Click here for a soccer drill to coach players to change pace.
Soccer coaching tips
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