03 Sep Speed and Conditioning for Youth Female Soccer Players: Max Effort and Technique Matter
Female soccer players need more high intensity running.
Not just from small-sided games where they undergo hundreds of cuts and changes of direction. They need high intensity running where they work on speed and speed endurance.
In the past, I’ve written dissertations on conditioning for soccer players, so if you’re up for a lengthy piece, check this one out.
If you’re up for more brevity, then this article is for you. My goal with this is to share simple, actionable drills that can turn soccer players into blistering speed beasts, while also ensuring they maintain that speed for the length of the game.
Speed is the ability to produce vertical force over 40-50m distance with the fastest ground contact time possible. Sprinting requires a sharp level of technique, and the athlete must possess coordination, rhythm and balance. They must also have the horsepower, namely, stronger muscles, to be able to produce more force.
Beyond physical qualities athletes must possess, careful programming and work-to-rest times are crucial. If a soccer player wants to train speed and the Phosphagen energy system, they must rest at least 2 minutes after each sprints. A max velocity effort is immensely demanding on the nervous system, so in order for an athlete to go all-out each sprint and train the system to fire, they need to get adequate rest time.
Check out the Total Youth Soccer Fitness Program for fun speed drills for kids
Here are some drill samples to work on better coordination, rhythm and balance:
It is useful to sprint fast a few times a week to train the nervous system, but technique still needs to be drilled over and over again.It is useful to sprint fast a few times a week to train the nervous system, but technique still needs to be drilled over and over again Click To Tweet
Keep in mind, speed is a skill. Even though soccer players aren’t track athletes, they still have to spend a significant amount of time mastering their coordination, rhythm and balance, as well as the ball of the foot strike, upright posture, and arm action to improve their stride length and stride rate.
Speed endurance is the ability to power continuously and more frequently, and this is crucial for the second half and final minutes of the game that players do not slow down.
The duration of speed endurance drills should be 10-40 seconds, where players reach maximal or near maximal capacity (>95% of heart rate max). In order for them to reach sprint mechanics, these drills need to be done over 40-50m distance, requiring players to hone in on their sprint mechanics, even under fatigue.
Soccer is a fast-paced and fatiguing game, so we must train youth players to be fast, but also stay fast with more max effort and technique work.Soccer is a fast-paced and fatiguing game, so we must train youth players to be fast, but also stay fast with more max effort and technique work. Click To Tweet
For more programming and drills…
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