Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice

Pre season: Speed and agility

Raymond Verheijen is a Dutch professional football coach who is currently the Assistant Manager to the Welsh national side. He recently said that running long distances at the same speed was pointless for players in pre season. He called it Jurassic Park!

In a match players run on average 10m sprinting and acceleration, so that is what you need to do in pre season.

I developed this exercise for my players in pre season.

In this speed and agility drill players are using quick feet, quick turns, changing pace between short and longer sprints and good body position – knees bent low in stance for good balance – to make players quicker and more agile on the pitch.

Work to compete
In this exercise players run between three sets of cones – a middle set and two sets five yards either side.
This is a test of your players agility, balance and turning technique as they compete against each other in a short sprint exercise. I often start by getting the players to run through the exercise individually then compete against each other. It’s one thing doing it on their own but watch how their intensity rises when they are competing.
Work out a sequence
The sequence I use is 5 yards – 10 yards – 5 yards which is a good representation of the changes of sprinting distances they will face in matches. You can, however, work out your own sequence or run it up to a 40 yard dash if you want to give older players a tougher test.

How to play it
• Opponents face each other.
• They must react on your call.
• Push off hard on the back foot – the foot furthest from the direction the player is sprinting in.
• Players with similar speed levels should compete against each other.
• Players should run 2-3 times before resting.


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