Our top 5 pitch based speed exercises

06 November 2017 Ben Cartwright No Tags

Following on from the popularity of our ‘TOP 10 recommended STRENGTH exercises for footballers’ we are shifting our focus to speed!


We will be discussing our top 5 gym based and top 5 pitch based speed drills.


Firstly we will look at the pitch drills.


  1. Hurdle Sprints

  2. MB Chest Pass to Sprint

  3. Resisted Sled Sprints

  4. Sprints from different starting positions

  5. Bounding

Hurdle Sprints


Hurdle sprints are ideal for players who struggle with stride length. Many players will over stride meaning they are decelerating with each step or stride. Sprints over hurdles also encourage rapid heel recovery to avoid colliding with any hurdles.



Medicine Ball Chest Pass to Sprint


Medicine ball throws give players the chance to develop power without taking time to learn more complex movements such as Olympic lifts. The medicine ball chest pass forces players to produce horizontal force that is required for sprinting. You can adopt different starting positions such as split stance or neutral stance with players before they ‘load & explode’ the ball as far as possible. This drill can be adapted by either using or not using a countermovement prior to the throw.


Resisted Sled Sprints


Our ‘go to’ exercise to teach players to produce force during sprinting. A heavy sled requires a player to drive into the floor in order to produce horizontal force. This is why its a great option for players who need to produce more force rather than velocity. Previous research backed using a lighter weight on the sled but recent studies have shown there are many benefits of heavier loads. 


Sprints from different starting positions


Being able to rapidly accelerate from the blocks or from a standing position is great however this rarely happens in a game situation. Utilising different starting positions can replicate the demands a game places on a player. These positions can be adapted to the position of a player to make it even more realistic.




Bounding teaches players to use the stretch shortening cycle during sprinting. This includes the eccentric, amortization and concentric phase. The eccentric phase is the loading phase in which elastic energy is stored, similar to a rubber band when it is stretched. The amortization phase is the transition between the eccentric and concentric phases. The faster the transition the more effective the concentric phase will be. Finally the concentric phase is where the forceful contraction occurs resulting in the foot powerfully leaving the floor. Bounding can be utilised when players need to work on the velocity side of the force-velocity strength curve.



The application of these drills will always depend on the situation of the player for when they are implemented. Our 5 chosen drills are not placed in order of importance.


Keep an eye out for our next blog which will include our top 5 gym based speed drills.



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