BEST EXERCISES FOR FASTER SPRINTING IN SOCCER
Faster sprinting in soccer can make difference in a match. Sprinting is the name of the game for ever-speedier strikers trying to get past defenders who themselves become swifter every soccer season. For example, a fast sprinter such as Spanish striker Fernando Torres can dazzle viewers during his prime and need to return to exercise basics himself to return to fitness after injury. A training plan for faster sprinting in soccer can help you improve quickly as a new soccer player and pay dividends even if you have a fair amount of experience.
A set of hurdles standing 6 to 12 inches tall can get you started in your first few weeks of soccer-specific exercises, recommends the athletic drills book “Training for Speed, Agility and Quickness.” Your goal is to enhance stride frequency as you strengthen your hip flexors and strengthen your weaker leg. Set 8 to 10 hurdles each spaced about 3 feet from the next for the single-leg run-through. Run with one leg outside the hurdles and other going over the hurdle, keeping your outside leg straight and using a sharp knee rise — called the A motion — for the hurdling leg. Work both legs equally. Build your second week by switching to the regular run-through, performing the A motion for each knee and striking both feet between each hurdle.
A perfect drill for the typical 20-yard sprint in soccer, the gears drill works to improve your transitional acceleration and your ability to change speeds. Place five cones so each is 20 yards from the next in a straight line. Vary the intensity as you run from one cone to the next, starting at half speed between the first two cones. Switch after the second cone to three-quarters of your maximum speed. Gear down to quarter-speed after the third cone. Hit your fastest stride between cones four and five and jog to slow yourself down.
Uphill Speed Runs
After a week of the gears drill, move on to uphill speed runs, a classic drill for team sports including soccer. Look for a hill with a 1- to 3-degree rise to help you improve your strength and stride length. Emphasize perfect running mechanics each time you run up the hill. Keep the distance short and brief but intense, recommends Greg Gatz, strength and conditioning coach for the soccer teams at the University of North Carolina.