Game Speed

To build Game Speed in our players, we need to first understand each type of speed. Next, we need to set up a progression that allows a player to combine each type of speed into fast, quick and explosive movements, with a ball, without a ball and against other players in a soccer specific setting. The SoccerFIT Game Speed programs are designed to enhance your knowledge of speed and broaden your exercise bank of drills, and then it’s up to you, the athlete, to put in the time and reap the rewards. Once you reach a greater understanding of all the components of speed, agility and quickness, you can use the testing system to focus your attention on developing your weaknesses and enhancing your strengths.

First, in my opinion, there are 3 main categories of speed:

  1. Cognitive (Mental)
  2. Neuromuscular (Physical)
  3. Situational (Sport Specific)

You could probably argue that some of the mental process are not “speed” related, and that some of the situation components are really just being able to take advantage of the physical components during the game, but that is the exactly why I chose these categories. I think that there is much more to speed than how fast you run, just as there is much more to the game than how much skill one possesses. I think the effectiveness of one’s speed lies in how one applies it. Integrating speed training into a situational environment enhances the mind – body connection in how to apply this newly learned skill.

Cognitive Speed

Cognitive Speed refers to things that happen between the first hint of the initial stimulus and the player’s reaction or first movement. This usually happens in under 0.2 seconds (2 tenths of a second!). Jjust think of it as the mental process that deals with awareness to your surroundings, or the speed in which you can see what is happening and make a decision. These decisions come from thousands of repetitions of seeing and performing specific tasks in a particular situation. The body learns from each encounter and files the situation away as correct or incorrect, in other words, learning how to make this reaction more subconscious and thus faster. To break this down further, I think there are 3 types of Cognitive Speed, each of which is broken down into drills and exercises in both the 10 Types of Speed eBook and the Soccer Speed/Agility Clinic eBook :

  • Anticipation
  • Recognition
  • Reaction

Neuromuscular Speed

The next four types of speed fall into a neuromuscular or physical category. These are the classic types of speed that you see in training programs, DVD’s, seminars, etc. I think there are 4 types of Neuromuscular (Physical) Speed:

  • Acceleration
  • Deceleration
  • Transition
  • Max Speed (Speed Endurance)

As we break down the 4 Types of Neuromuscular Speed it might help to put this into perspective. This is the type of speed that needs to be developed off the field. To truly maximize and reach your genetic potential for these 4 types of speed you need to become physically more powerful and maintain that throughout your season. Research in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise (3) recently found that teams that stop resistance training during the season will show a decrease in soccer performance by the end of the season (this is exactly what we have seen over the last decade as well). So when we refer to these types of speed as Neuromuscular or Physical, we are talking about speed that can be developed either by strengthening, positioning, stabilizing or increasing the body’s ability to utilize the stretch shortening cycle to produce faster more powerful movements.

Soccer Specific Speed

Now we are finally at the part of the discussion where we put it all together. All the components are in place and it is time to apply it. I think there are 3 types of soccer specific speed for improving sports performance.

  • Speed Against Another Player
  • Speed with a Ball
  • Speed with a Ball Against Another Player

As we break down the final 3 types of speed keep in mind that these are the “Application” to the training of the first 7 types. This is where your own coaching style, sports background and technical – tactical applications come into play. The players need to see the field, anticipate situations, position for reaction, transition in and out of acceleration and deceleration phases all while controlling the ball, marking another player, or maneuvering through the chaotic environment of adjusting defenses and slide tackles.

What are the Coaches saying?

“I’m an assistant Women’s Soccer Coach and I recently purchased the 2010 Soccer Speed and Agility eBook. I am so impressed by it, and have been incorporating many of these drills into my practice sessions! I have never seen these before and I must say, I’m hooked!”

-Kevin Laux

“I have been a subscriber to WWC for many years and I have read and used a lot of your information. I think it is very valuable and it gives my players something different and interesting to work with at training.”

-Tony Wallis
Head Women’s Soccer Coach
Saint Anselm College

The SoccerFIT eBooks and Training Programs work these aspects into each session. We stack quality repetition onto a solid physical foundation to build a confident player who executes skillfully at top speed in game situations. To train with us at the SoccerFIT Academy in Overland Park click HERE. If you don’t live in the Greater Kansas City area and would like to learn more about these program, we have eBooks (show at right) to take you through each of these progressions with video links, and printable field sheets to take with you to your training sessions. Click HERE to find out more about all the eBooks and resources we offer at the SoccerFIT Academy.