Speed is an essential skill for soccer players. As with other aspects of physical fitness, regular practice and proper nutrition will make you a faster player. If possible, practice speed drills under the guidance of an experienced coach, who can push you to work hard in a safe manner. Typically, a normal, healthy diet is sufficient, though eating a carbohydrate-rich snack before your workouts might give you an energy boost.
Wear cleats, which provide greater traction than normal athletic shoes. They will help you run faster and make direction changes without slipping. If you're playing on a team, find out if your league has regulations governing what type of cleats you can wear.
Practice quick direction changes, which will help you fool defenders so you can speed past them. An effective drill is to run back and forth between two points on the field that are several yards apart. Focus on sprinting as quickly as possible from one spot to the other without overshooting either.
Sprint up hills. Soccer matches take place on flat fields, but running up an incline develops your muscles quicker than running on a level surface.
Perform downhill sprints to teach your nervous system to coordinate fast leg movements. Sprinting down an incline forces your nervous system to send quick signals to your leg muscles to maintain balance. Perform a sprint on a flat surface immediately after your downhill sprint to help your body incorporate the faster signaling into normal running situations.
Dribble a soccer ball while you sprint. It's not easy to keep the soccer ball near you while you run fast, so focus on controlling the ball. The ability to run fast while maintaining control of the ball makes you an effective player.
Perform running drills with other players to spur your competitive streak. For example, develop explosive running power by performing 30- to 40-foot sprints as a team. Develop maximum acceleration over short distances by sprinting 80 to 100 feet.
- Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning; Thomas R. Baechle, et al.
- Complete Handbook of Conditioning for Soccer; Raymond Verheijen