Defenders have one universal fear – pace. A soccer player can master the art of defending, but there’s no defence against pure, explosive speed.
Just ask Inter Milan’s Brazilian right back Maicon. Before the Nerazzurri took on Tottenham at White Hart Lane in the Champions League in November he was regarded as peerless, but he was made to look like a leaden footed donkey trudging through treacle by Spurs’ jet heeled speed demon Gareth Bale.
Natural speed is one thing, quickness of mind is another. To have both is like having a royal flush in poker. Alfred Galustian, head of Coerver Coaching, has devised a set of speed training drills to help you harness both weapons.
Speed of Foot – While science tells us we are each born with more or less fast twitch fibres that determine the limits of our speed our experience is that most players are playing no where near their limit. We must develop fun drills and exercises to encourage our players to compete and get faster and fitter.
Reaction Speed - Every club has a player who is deceptively fast. Wayne Rooney of Manchester United and England is such a player. To be sure he has excellent straight ahead speed. But what makes him so lethal is his acceleration and ability to hit maximum speed within just a couple of strides. It’s this kind of speed that enables him to pounces on opponent’s mistakes and invariably finish brilliantly. Acceleration, stop and start and change direction speeds are vital attacking qualities and we should be making every effort to develop them in every training session.
Decision Making Speed – In Coerver Coaching all of our full pressure small sided games and exercises are perfectly suited for this kind of speed development. There is nothing more valuable we can do for our players than to help them develop the ability to assess situations and make good decisions under full game pressure. This is our task and we shouldn’t avoid it.