But being fast as a soccer player doesn’t just mean running fast. It means being one step ahead of your opponent in a variety of ways. Fast players think fast, act fast, and move fast with and without the ball.
At Techne, we help you understand How To Train To Be A Complete Soccer Player. You can train your pure running speed to improve it, but some players will always be able to cover 40 yards faster than others.
The good news? There are 7 ways you can become a faster soccer player! (Adapted from Coach’s Advantage Soccer)
This is your ability to make sense of the game as it unfolds with all the moving parts on the field. A player who is fast perceptually is able to observe and hear what’s going on around them and process it quickly.
How to improve Perceptual Speed: Playing with players of varying levels can help you with your perceptual speed. Sometimes it’s good to play with players who are more advanced than you and are thinking more quickly, which will stretch your capabilities. It’s also helpful to play with players who are less advanced than you, so you can notice things when the game is a bit slower.
Your ability to predict what will happen is possibly even more important that your ability to run fast on the field. If you can instinctively know where to be and when, you can always arrive before your opponent, whether you run faster than them or not.
How to improve Anticipation Speed: Reviewing game tape of yourself and your team playing is a great way to grow a bank of knowledge as to what will likely happen on the field. Every play that you encounter on the field or watch afterwards gets subconsciously stored in your memory. The more you’ve played and seen, the more you’ll be able to recognize cues as similar situations unfold.
Your decision-making speed applies to both when you have the ball and when you don’t. It means thinking one or two moves ahead and also being able to assess and quickly change your mind in the flow of the play.
How to improve it: The speed of your decisions can be improved significantly the more technically sound you are. The more comfortable and confident you can be on the ball, the less you’ll have to think about what to do when it arrives, and the more you can focus on quick decisions.
Because a soccer game has so many moving parts, it’s impossible to predict or anticipate everything that will happen. So much of what you do on the field is a reaction to other events — how the ball travels, if it deflects, what your teammates do, your opponent does, and so many more factors. The quicker you react, the better.
How to improve it: A great way to improve your reaction speed is to use a wall as a training partner. You can practice adjusting your body to unforeseen bumps, bounces, and even get creative to train reactions to various visual and auditory cues.
This is what you may typically refer to as simply “speed” — your ability to run from point A to point B, with or without the ball. This is important! But as you can see, it’s only one element of what can make you fast.
How to improve it: The Speed session in the Techne app will help you improve this. To get faster movement speed, you have to train/run as fast as you can, and with full recovery. You should try not to be fatigued when you train your movement speed.
Speed On The Ball
This is your ability to process the ball as quickly as possible. How fast can you dribble, turn, receive and pass, or get off a shot?
How to improve it: The more you’ve practiced the various techniques, the more quickly and cleanly you’ll be able to do them when it matters. Practice these soccer dribbling drills and work on your speed as you get more comfortable.
Speed of Play
You may have heard this term a lot. Speed of play is a combination of all the other types of speed and is your ability to combine them on the field. To play quickly you must move, think, and act quickly in all ways. Your speed of play is your ability to increase the pace of your team’s game, both on and off the ball.
How to improve it: Watching soccer can help improve your speed of play. Also, the more you improve the above six types of speed, the faster you’ll be able to play as a whole.
As you train hard and focus on improvement, be sure to also give your body and mind time to recover. Here are the 10 Best Soccer Recovery Methods.