THE NEED FOR SPEED
Developing the whole player is really important to give young footballers the best opportunities for success, but also to allow them to fall in love with the game and hopefully participate well into adulthood.
The FA Four Corners Model incorporates Technical/Tactical, Physical, Psychological and Social skills, with the aim of developing each, in every session and we agree that each corner is equally as important as the others. However, to develop these elements successful takes a great deal of knowledge and skill – we are here to help.
This blog takes a look at what speed is, the types of speed that exist and how to develop and improve speed to help performance on the pitch.
What is Speed?
Simply put, Speed is a measure of how fast somebody (or something) is moving.
Speed is usually measured in either meters per second (m/s), miles per hour (mph) or kilometres per hour (km/h).
During the initial speed test from Week 1 (see below), the 20m sprint test we are measuring the amount of time taken to run 20m. The lower the time, the faster you are. If you would really like to know how fast you run, we use the following formula:
Speed = Distance (20m) / Time Taken to Complete
Who Needs Speed?
Speed is critical for success in many sports, obviously, those that participate in race sports such as swimming, cycling and sprinting rely on Speed more than most, however there are lots of other sports that also require Speed if the athletes are to be successful.
Athletes that participate in Court Sports, such as badminton, tennis and squash, also rely on Speed to allow them to cover the distances on the court to be able to play the next shot, Combat sports, such as boxing also require Speed to ensure that athletes can move in and out of the range of their opponents, to launch attacks and maintain safety, whereas sports such as cricket and baseball, require Speed when fielding and making runs.
But on the Football Pitch, speed is required to ensure that success can be found. Being able to beat opposition players to the ball, to dribble past defenders, to recover defensively or to launch counter attacks all require speed and although you can probably think of some very famous footballers that are not the fastest, if you consider the world’s best, they can all cover the ground quickly, or have certain types of speed that can help they get out of trouble when they need it. Think of the top players at the moment – Ronaldo, Messi, Mbappe, they are not slow!
Are all types of Speed the same?
The basic concept of Speed always remains the same (how fast something or someone moves), however, there are different types of speed.
- Acceleration Speed: This is a constant change of speed, and very important for sports such as Football, think about Ronaldo, bursting past a player. Acceleration Speed considers how quickly you can move from a standing start, it is important to note that maximal speed may not always be reached in these sports all the time.
- Maximal Speed: This is the maximum speed that an athlete can reach and sustain. This normally happens 3-5 seconds after a stationary start. (Really important for Sprinters – Think Usain Bolt in the 100m!).
- Speed Endurance: This is the ability to maintain speed over longer distances for a sustained period of time (usually over 5 seconds) or to start sprinting again, even though you may not have recovered from an earlier sprint. This is also really important for wide players, such as full backs. Think of Kyle Walker or Trent Alexander Arnold, needing to get up and down the pitch quickly.
- Change-of-Direction Speed: This is crucial in most positions. This is usually a combination of agility and acceleration speed.
How to get FASTER?
The Total Footballer App will provide you with a range of activities that are specifically developed to enhance your speed, however, this will not happen overnight, it takes practice and perseverance. Every athlete will be different and will develop at different rates, however, if you follow the guidance below, we are certain it will help improve the speed of any player, regardless of your experience, age or gender.
Be Well Rested: Tired, sore muscles find it very difficult to adapt to speed training. Ensure that you are fully rested and are not feeling the effects of previous training or competition (We will be looking at rest and recovery in a few weeks).
Sprinting is a Skill: Last week, we focused on skill acquisition, and it is important to recognise, that sprint technique is a skill. Practice this regularly, time yourselves and reflect on your performance. You may need to consider improving on your sprint technique. Many athletes and coaches consider the following points to be effective sprint technique:
- Hold your torso straight and vertical
- Hold your head still, but relax your face and neck
- Bend at your elbows
- Pretend you are lightly gripping a small bird in each hand
- Pump your arms so your hands travel from “hip to lip”, and keep your arms close to your sides, keeping your shoulders steady
- With each stride, lift your front knee high (“knee drive”) and straighten your back leg completely to deliver full power
Warm Up Properly: Warm-ups should include light movements that encourage the body to increase in temperature, by raising the heart rate and breathing rate steadily, before raising the intensity further until close to the intensity that you are about to work at.
Recover During the Session: If you are doing repeated sets, or sprints, allow enough recovery time in between to ensure that the training you are doing is of a high-quality standard. As a general rule, there is usually a 1:4 – 1:6 work to rest ratio. E.g. If you are working for 5 seconds, a 20-30second rest is required before the next 5 seconds of work. If you are working on Sprint Endurance, less rest or longer intervals can be used.
Include other Training Elements: To develop speed, research suggests that you should also train Strength and Power.
Following the rules above, there is a 6-phase progressive model that is used by competitive athletes for developing Speed all over the world:
- Basic Training
- Strength and Power
- Plyometric Training
- Sprinting Form and Speed Endurance
- Sport Specific Training
- Overspeed Training
This is where we come in, this is the basis of Amaven and the Total Footballer App. If your players want to be faster to support their sports performance, we really can help and best of all, it allows young players to take ownership of their own development and they can practice and train at home, with very little equipment and space – it will also give coaches a bank of ideas that you can incorporate in.
The Total Footballer App, is designed to support players of all ages and skill levels. It is the only Football Coaching App that integrates 5 phases of skill acquisition and long-term athletic development, meaning that all sessions and activities are designed to meet your current skill level whether you are just starting out, or are an experienced academy player. All our turning sessions are designed by UEFA Qualified Coaches and are supported by further sessions in:
Ensuring that players aren’t just practicing but are practicing with the highest quality. We also have a range of physical development practices, healthy lifestyle sessions, and psychological tips to help develop the total footballer. If your child needs help developing their turning, or any part of their game, you can try the app for free now!