Soccer Speed Is King

Last week I took a dive into the recent (well relatively recent) research surrounding speed development in football (soccer) because like most sports, in soccer speed is king!

When I work with professional football players we focus on the fundamentals of running fast (get good at going from A to B in a straight line and underpin everything with a good strength and power foundation) but as John Fitzpatrick highlights in his recent research, we shouldn't just focus on getting good going from A to B in a straight line or getting strong, we need to develop players that can run the curves.

Here's the reference so that you can check out the paper for yourself Running the curve: a preliminary investigation into curved sprinting during football match-play John F. Fitzpatrick, Andy Linsley, Craig Musham, SPSR - 2019 | Mar | 55 | v1

The second paper is a couple of years old but it confirms that you can't go too far wrong by working on the mechanical properties (strength and power) if you want to improve sprint performance. Check out the paper when you get a chance. This is the reference Loturco, I, Kobal, R, Kitamura, K, Fernandes, V, Moura, N, Siqueira, F, Cal Abad, CC, and Pereira, LA. Predictive factors of elite sprint performance: influences of muscle mechanical properties and functional parameters. J Strength Cond Res 33(4): 974-986, 2019 

The final paper also popped up in 2017 and looked at predictors of linear and multidirectional acceleration. Once again metrics related to jumps and maximal isometric strength were pretty good at predicting linear accelration in eleite football players...not so good at predicting multidirectional acceleration (but we shouldn't be too surprised by that, after all there are a bunch of other variable that come into the mix when we start to look at multidiurectional acceleration). Well worth looking at, here's the reference Jonathan, N, Russell, M, Shearer, D, Cook, CJ, and Kilduff, LP. Predictors of linear and multidirectional acceleration in elite soccer players. J Strength Cond Res 33(2): 514-522, 2019 

And finally, in my experience working in professional football, practitioners often come in for a hard time when it comes to training or match related injuries, lack of evidence based training and rehabilitation protocols, and what would appear to be an increasing injury rate year on year. But are the backroom support staff who work tirelessy behind the scenes really doing such a bad job?

Take a look at this great commentary piece from Matin Buchheit et al and see what you if you agree with them. Buchheit M, Eirale C, Simpson BM, et al. Injury rate and prevention in elite football: let us first search within our own hearts. Br J Sports Med 2018;0:1-2.