Part 4 of "The Six Steps To Soccer Success"

You Can Make Them Faster!

One of the biggest mistakes we coaches often make is not spending enough time on speed development. Perhaps when we recognize that not everyone is blessed with Thierry Henry or Landon Donovan speed we feel our time is better spent on skill development.

We don’t disagree that we all have different potentials but we believe that few of us truly come close to reaching our potential and that there’s ample room for speed improvement in most players especially in their acceleration, stop and start and decision making speed.

At Coerver we try to incorporate all of these speeds in as many of our exercises and games as we can. Truly skillful players do all the right things…stop and start, fake and feint, give and go……all the time and do them at speed.

As coaches we can help our players develop these speeds in several ways.

  1. Speed of FootWhile 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.


Speed Practice…It Can Be Fun!

We can’t talk about speed development without discussing fitness. Obesity is a nationwide epidemic. One of our jobs as soccer coaches has to be to motivate our players to get and keep fit. An essential part of this is having fun while training. Players who enjoy practice will keep at it longer and improve quicker not to mention get in shape.

We try to incorporate speed in as many of our drills as possible to provide variety and motivation.

The speed drills we have for your review today we use all the time in our camps and clinics. It helps build fitness and stamina and develops reaction time and decision making speed. Let’s check it out.

Watch the video closely to see the correct form.

The text below should help you with the set up for the four speed drills reviewed in the video. Watch it a couple of times make sure you got them down.

Exercise 8


6- by 30 yard lanes with “end zones” marked as shown.

Two players with one ball at one end of each lane and a third player with the ball at the other end.


The single player dribbles the ball toward the opposite player.

When the dribbler is within three or four yards of the opposite player, he passes to him.

The receiving player must then dribble with speed to the opposite end line while the passing player must run backward and try to get there first.

If this is too easy for the receivers, change the drill so that the passer can turn and sprint to the end line.

Note: The dribbler must have full control of the ball upon reaching the end line and the sprinter should not interfere with the dribbler’s run.


The single player always begins plays with the ball.

Passing players must make easy passes so receiving players can take the ball without having to stop it or chase it.

Dribblers must keep control of the ball when running. (The ball must always be within three feet of the dribbler.)

Exercise 9


6- by 20-yard lanes.

Two players at the beginning of each lane.

One ball for each pair.


The player with the ball chooses his moment to sprint with the ball to the opposite end of the lane while his or her partner tries to beat him there.

As soon as the ball is touched, the game is live. The player without the ball shouldn’t try to tackle, impede or win the ball.

Then players exchange roles and repeat the action in the opposite direction.


Encourage players to be creative in all competitions. In this exercise, suggest they gain advantage by faking the first touch.

Start with 10-yards sprints.

Exercise 10


10- by 25-yard lanes.

Two players per lane.

Give one player in each lane a ball.


One player passes to his partner, overlaps and tries to beat him to the opposite end of the land. The overlapping partner shouldn’t try to tackle, impede or win the ball.

At the end line, players change roles and repeat the exercise.


Encourage players to look up as much as possible when running with the ball.

Advice the player without the ball to use his/her arms to power him her forward.

Exercise 11


A 20- to 30-yard area.

Two goals two yards wide at one end.

Players in four groups of up to five players each. Each group forms a line, with two groups on each side of the coach.

The two lines closest to the coach (B and C) are attackers; the two groups farthest from the coach are defenders (A and D).

The coach has a supply of balls.


The coach plays a ball to the front player of one of the two attacking line (B or C).

The receiving player tries to dribble at speed through either of the end goals while the front player from the closest defending line tries to win the ball. The defender can score upon winning the ball.

The coach starts the sequence each time the ball is out of play or the defender wins the ball.

Ball Mastery, First Touch, Moves …Speed
…It Is Coming Together!

One of the reasons why even Pro teams use Coerver Coaching is that applying speed to any skill makes it infinitely harder to execute. As coaches we must always be encouraging our players to do everything faster…every skill every move, every finishing opportunity. Letting our defenders catch up defeats us…we must keep them away. Conversely defenders must close down offensive attacks quickly taking charge of the ball and moving to the counter attack.

The Pyramid Of Player Development ©

In our next lesson we will go over what it is all about….scoring…or finishing as we refer to it in our Pyramid of Player Development. Controlling the ball with our Ball Mastery skills, making a great first touch, gathering the ball at speed and creating space with a 1V1 move all is to set up the finishing opportunity. If our players can’t score…there is no chance to win. It is the most exciting part of the game and we must teach our players to finish well.

So look for your next email in three days…and by all means if you want this information right away then just click on our buy now button below.

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Charlie Cooke


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