Speed is important in most sports, but it’s a bit more so in soccer since you are running around the field for the majority of the game. When we talk about speed in soccer, we are talking about way more than just running fast. While that is important, it is the ability to run at full pace for the entirety of a game that truly matters.
Below you will find just a few of the reasons why speed is so important in soccer.
Speed with the Ball
Forwards, most midfielders, and full backs need to have speed with the ball at their feet to get the most out of their jobs. This doesn’t mean that they need to be blazing fast, but they should be able to run at full speed when they are dribbling. It is a tough skill to master (since you also have to master your dribbling skills), but it is essential since it keeps the defense from being able to get comfortable.
Take a look at some of the best teams in the world. They may not be the fastest teams, but they are the ones that get the most out of their speed. Instead of Just standing around with the ball, players move with it quickly to stay in rhythm and to throw off the defense. These are also the teams that are great on the counter attack because they have players who are willing to run with and without the ball.
Speed without the Ball
On offense, you need learn how to have good off-ball movement to be able to separate yourself from the defensive players around you. For example, a winger will need to get past both the fullback on his/her side and the center backs. Without speed, the defenders can just relax and not worry about players ever getting past them.
On defense, players need to have speed to prevent the offensive players from making runs past them. The easiest way for teams to score is to slide through balls to wingers and strikers trying to get past the back line, so defenders need to have the speed to catch up with them quickly.
Speed does not matter at all if you are not able to maintain it for the entirety if a run or the entirety of a game. If you get the ball at midfield and can break away from the defense with a quick run, that won’t really matter if you run out of gas 15 yards later. You need to work on your speed until you can stick to your maximum speed from start to finish.
Again, you don’t have to be a very fast running to have good soccer speed. It is far more important that you can go all-out every single time you have to sprint. Regardless of your position, if you have great speed endurance, you will have a skill that is extremely important in soccer and one that you will be proud of.
Improving Your Soccer Speed
You may be sitting there thinking, “How can I improve my soccer speed?” It’s true that some people are just gifted with more natural speed, but there are certainly ways that players can get faster through training.
The easiest way to get faster on the soccer field is by working on increasing your strength. Increased speed is just one of the benefits of strength training, so it’s something that all soccer players should take seriously. While you won’t see a huge uptick in speed right away, you will feel more powerful when running and you will definitely feel the effects on your speed over time.