10 Soccer Speed Drills: Boost Your Performance on the Field


Lago Vista Athletics

Speed is a critical aspect of soccer, as it can mean the difference between scoring a game-winning goal and missing a crucial opportunity. In order to improve their performance on the field, soccer players must dedicate time to developing their acceleration, top speed, and overall speed-related skills. The following article will discuss 10 effective soccer speed drills designed to enhance a player’s abilities and take their game to the next level.

Each soccer speed drill is carefully selected to target specific areas of improvement, such as acceleration, deceleration, quickness, and agility. These drills are designed to be easily integrated into a player’s regular training routine, with the goal of gradually improving their speed and performance on the field. By consistently practicing these drills, soccer players can expect to see noticeable improvements in their game and increased confidence during competition.

Understanding the Importance of Soccer Speed Drills


Soccer is a sport where speed plays a critical role in determining the outcome of a match. Speed drills can help soccer players improve their acceleration, top speed, agility, and strength. Incorporating a variety of speed drills into a player’s routine can significantly enhance their on-field performance.

In the game of soccer, a fraction of a second can make all the difference between scoring a game-winning goal and missing the opportunity entirely. By incorporating speed drills for soccer players, an athlete can gain that crucial advantage on the field. Training for speed involves mastering various aspects, such as:

  • Linear speed
  • Multidirectional speed
  • Deceleration
  • Acceleration
  • Change of direction
  • Agility
  • Top speed

Each of these components is essential when it comes to improving overall speed and can be developed through practice and effective speed training.

One significant benefit of incorporating soccer speed drills into practice is the development of explosive power. This power allows players to quickly move into open spaces, rapidly change direction, and outpace their opponents. Ultimately, this increased athleticism can provide a substantial competitive edge.

Another essential aspect of soccer speed drills lies in strength training. Building muscle strength, particularly in the lower body, contributes to improved speed and acceleration on the field. In addition to serving as a crucial foundation for speed, strong muscles also help in injury prevention, further benefiting a player’s long-term performance.

In conclusion, understanding the importance of soccer speed drills is the first step toward unlocking a player’s full potential on the field. By integrating these drills into their training regimen, soccer players can experience significant improvements in agility, acceleration, and overall speed, giving them the competitive edge needed to excel in the sport.

Building Speed and Agility Fundamentals


Soccer is a demanding sport that requires a combination of speed, agility, and endurance. To improve your game, it is vital to incorporate speed drills and agility drills into your training regimen. Here are some fundamental drills and tips to help you develop speed and agility.

Perfecting Running Technique

A proper running technique is crucial for maximizing speed and minimizing the risk of injury. Focus on three key elements: knee up, heel up, and toe up. Drive your knees as high as possible while maintaining a neutral, upright torso. Ensure that your heel drives up underneath your hamstring and that your toes remain dorsiflexed (pulled up). Maintain consistent arm action throughout your drills.

Incorporating Speed Ladder Drills

Speed ladder drills are an effective tool for improving agility, foot speed, and coordination. Some popular ladder drills are:

  1. Single-foot in each square.
  2. Lateral shuffle in and out of squares.
  3. Ickey shuffle: step in, out, and diagonal.
  4. Backward shuffle.

Incorporate these speed ladder drills into your practice sessions to enhance your overall performance.

Developing Change of Direction

Soccer players must be able to change direction quickly and efficiently. To enhance your change of direction, practice 1-on-1 change of direction drills. This drill involves one player leading while the other tries to stay with them as they change directions twice before racing through the final cones. Ensure that you complete at least two cuts before sprinting towards the final cone.

Improving Stamina and Endurance

Lastly, building stamina and endurance is crucial for maintaining peak performance during match play. Include interval training and plyometric exercises in your workout routine to boost your stamina and endurance.

By incorporating these fundamentals into your training regimen, you will be on your way to becoming a faster, more agile soccer player.

Top 10 Soccer Speed Drills


Drill 1: Straight Sprint

Straight sprints are a simple and effective way to improve overall speed. This drill involves sprinting in a straight line over a set distance (usually 40-100 meters). Players should focus on good running form and maintaining top speed. Repeat the sprint for a few sets with adequate rest in between.

Drill 2: Interval Runs

Interval runs are designed to increase stamina and speed endurance. In this drill, players alternate between running and jogging for specific distances or time. For example, run at full speed for 20 seconds and then jog for 10 seconds. Repeat this cycle for several minutes, gradually increasing the intensity and duration.

Drill 3: High Knee Sprints

High knee sprints focus on improving leg drive, acceleration, and power. To do this drill, players sprint while lifting their knees as high as possible. The knee should drive up while maintaining proper form. Perform multiple sets of high knee sprints for short distances.

Drill 4: Figure Eights

Figure eights are excellent for developing quick change of direction and agility. In this drill, players sprint in a figure-eight pattern around two cones placed at a set distance apart. The focus should be on maintaining balance and quick footwork during the turns.

Drill 5: Shuttle Runs

Shuttle runs develop acceleration, speed, and change of direction skills. Set up cones in a straight line at increasing intervals (for example, 5, 10, and 15 meters apart). Players sprint to the first cone, change direction, and sprint back to the starting line. They repeat this for each cone, completing multiple sets of the entire sequence.

Drill 6: Lateral Sprints

Lateral sprints are great for enhancing side-to-side movement and agility. Players assume a side-facing stance and sprint sideways for a set distance, then switch the leading leg and sprint back to the starting position. Perform multiple sets, alternating the leading leg.

Drill 7: High Skip Drills

High skip drills increase leg power and coordination. Players perform exaggerated high skips for a set distance, focusing on driving their knee up and using their arms to generate momentum. They should complete multiple sets of the drill.

Drill 8: Dribble Sprints

Dribble sprints combine speed and ball control, making them essential for soccer players. Players sprint while dribbling the ball, maintaining control and proper form. Use multiple sets of dribble sprints in varied distances to focus on different aspects of ball control.

Drill 9: Slalom Drills

Slalom drills improve agility by weaving through a course of cones or poles. Players dribble the ball through the obstacles as quickly and accurately as possible. Perform multiple sets of slalom drills with varying obstacle arrangements and distances.

Drill 10: Resistance Sprints

Resistance sprints build acceleration, power, and overall speed. Using a resistance band or parachute, players sprint for a set distance, focusing on maintaining proper form and driving through the added resistance. Perform multiple sets of resistance sprints for the best results.

How to Safely Implement Speed Drills

When incorporating speed drills into soccer training, it is crucial to prioritize safety. Here are some guidelines to ensure that these exercises are executed without risking injury:

  1. Warm up properly: Before diving into any speed drill, start with a gentle warm-up to prepare the muscles and joints. Dynamic stretching and jogging can be effective in allowing the muscles to loosen up. For example, spend five minutes on dynamic stretches like leg swings and high knees, followed by five minutes of light jogging.

  2. Focus on technique: Proper form is crucial in preventing injuries and maximizing the effectiveness of the drills. Pay special attention to running mechanics, body position and posture. For instance, always remember to keep the knees up, heel up, and toe up during High Knee Running. This helps to maintain proper form and efficiency.

  3. Progress gradually: Avoid pushing too hard too soon. Increase the intensity and complexity of drills progressively, allowing the body to adapt to the increasing demands. For example, start with shorter distances and fewer repetitions, gradually increasing them as you become more comfortable with the drill.

  4. Incorporate rest days: Rest is essential for recovery and reducing the risk of injuries. Be sure to schedule rest days and consider alternating between speed drills and other types of soccer training to avoid overexerting the muscles.

  5. Cool down and stretch: As with the warm-up, a proper cool-down is necessary to help the muscles recover. Finish each session with light jogging and static stretching to prevent stiffness and promote flexibility.

By following these guidelines, soccer players can safely implement speed drills and enhance their performance on the field.

Measuring Improvements in Speed and Agility

One effective way to measure improvements in speed and agility for soccer players is to engage them in time-based drills. This involves recording the time taken to complete the drills and comparing the results over a period of time.

For example, consider the 9 Speed Drills for Soccer Players from the search results. After each training session, the coach can note the time it takes the players to complete each drill. Over time, it becomes possible to track improvements by comparing the recorded times.

Using tables to record data can be a handy way to visualize the progress made. Below is a sample table format that coaches can follow to track their players’ performance:

Drill Time Taken (Week 1) Time Taken (Week 2) Time Taken (Week 3) Time Taken (Week 4)
One Step Ladder Drill 13 seconds 12.5 seconds 12 seconds 11.5 seconds

Another approach to measure improvements in speed and agility is to use the Agility T-Test. This test assesses athletes’ ability to change directions quickly while maintaining balance and speed. As players perform the Agility T-Test over time, their times should gradually decrease, reflecting their improved agility.

In addition to timed drills and tests, players should be mindful of their physical sensations and progress. They should look for signs of increased ease performing challenging agility maneuvers and improved endurance during speed-based activities.

Incorporating these methods to track progress will boost players’ confidence and awareness of their performance, ultimately benefiting their overall soccer skills.


In summary, incorporating soccer speed drills into training routines can help players improve their acceleration, top speed, agility, and decision-making skills. Some of the notable drills come from resources like Horton Barbell and Soccermodo.

When adding these drills to training, it is essential to focus on the four main aspects of speed:

  • Acceleration: Enhance explosiveness with drills like the falling start, found on Overtime Athletes Blog.
  • Maximum Velocity: Boost top speed and sprinting technique.
  • Agility: Improve reaction time and body control with exercises such as deceleration agility shuttle runs shared on Soccer Source Coaching.
  • Decision Making: Enhance quick thinking under pressure through specific speed of play drills.

While incorporating these exercises, ensure to maintain proper form and stay consistent in the training to see optimal results. Remember, it takes time to develop speed and agility, so be patient and keep pushing towards improvement. Good luck on the field!

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