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Sprint Training For Football Players

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Sprint training for football players

If you feel that you and your opponent are equally matched when it comes to your football skills, your straight-line speed can give you a hidden edge.

By being faster than your adversary, you will improve your ability to get to a loose ball on the attack or race back to block a shot as the last line of defence. However, this doesn’t mean that you should start training with elite sprinters. Bear in mind that…

  • Sprinting will be more reactive and unpredictable on a football pitch.
  • There will likely be a reason for participating in a sprint, be it tackling a player, heading a ball to clear your lines or taking a shot.
  • A sprint on a football pitch may come after you have spent up to 45 minutes in active competition.

    MaxiNutrition has taken all of this into account in order to form this sprint training guide for football players. Try the drills out the next time you’re at the training ground and prepare to dazzle with your newfound lightning-quick pace.

    Four-corner drill

    What’s the benefit of practicing four-corner drills?

    Four-corner drills allow you to practice going from sprinting down the pitch to suddenly backpedalling and playing a key part in your team’s defence.

    Setting up:

    Place four cones on the ground so that they are each five yards apart and form a square.

    How to do them:

    1. Start at whichever cone you like, but ensure you are standing so that you are facing away from the square.
    2. From here, backpedal to the cone that is directly behind you as quickly as possible.
    3. Immediately after reaching the second cone, sprint to the cone which is placed diagonally to your current position.
    4. When you reach the third cone, go back to backpedalling and head towards the cone that is now directly behind you — this should be the one remaining cone in the square that you haven’t visited yet.
    5. Steps one to five make up one rep.

    The number of reps and sets

    Ten reps make up a set. Take a 60 second rest before repeating the set one more time.

    Flying 20 drill

    What’s the benefit of practicing flying 20 drills?

    As well as helping to improve your straight-line speed, flying 20 drills develop your conditioning so that you can go for longer on the pitch.

    Setting up:

    Make sure you have at least 70 yards of space without any bends. Measure from your start line to the 30-yard mark — place a cone to either side of the track at this point. Continue measuring from here for a further 20 yards and place another cone at either side of the track.

    How to do them:

    1. Head off on a medium- to fast-paced jog from the start line, building up speed as you get nearer to the 30-yard mark.
    2. As soon as you cross the 30-yard mark, switch your pace to your quickest sprint and continue at this speed until you reach the cones set out 20 yards further down the track.
    3. Use the remaining part of the track to gradually come to a safe and gentle stop.
    4. Slowly jog back to the start line and repeat steps one to three accordingly.

    The number of reps and sets

    After completing each flying 20 drill, take between 30 and 60 seconds as rest time — this should include how long it takes you to slowly jog back to the start line. Complete five drills in total.

    Push-up starts

    What’s the benefit of practicing push-up starts?

    Push-up starts will balance out the strength in your lower body by enhancing your leg drive, developing your leg start mechanics and improving the power provided by your hips.

    Setting up:

    Simply place two cones onto the ground 20 yards apart from one another.

    How to do them:

    1. Assume a box push-up position. Your head should be pointing towards the other cone 20 yards away.
    2. Jump up and sprint to the second cone. You should aim to keep your body as low as possible for as long as you can during this part of the exercise.
    3. Once past the second cone, slowly jog back to the starting position. This counts as one rep.

    The number of reps and sets

    Complete eight reps of the push-up start drill in total, taking a 30 second rest in between each one — this should include the time it takes to slowly jog back to the start after passing the second cone.
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