Coach Educational Article

Coach education article: Speed development in U15

Importance of Speed
Professional football is played at a higher tempo than 10 years ago (Williams et al, 1999).   Team and player speed have both been implicated in conceding and scoring goals.   Outfield football players can cover in excess of 380 miles in a season with a 10th of this at ‘sprinting’ speed (Times 2006).   Distances of 10-13km is not uncommon to be covered in a match.   Researchers have broken down total distance covered into periods of high and low intensity.   They have shown that distance covered, frequency and intensity can be used to determine club and international standard players.   It has been shown by time motion analysis that international players undertake 28%   and 58% high intensity running and sprinting respectively compared to their professional counterpart players of a lower standard (Bangsbo 2006).  

The physical demands of sprinting   is one element that has been extensively studied.   In the past, sports scientists have postulated that those footballers or teams that covered the most distance in a game were more likely to win.   The belief of distance covered in a game has largely been discredited and a new theory of repeat sprint ability has emerged.   It is now believed that the most critical component in a game (all other factors being equal) is the distance covered at high intensity with those successful teams able to recover from clusters of sprints time and time again.  
The element of speed is arguably just as important in the junior football player as it is for the professional   Speed also plays a crucial component in the youth game.   In his study Gissis (2006) looked at 16 year old elite, sub-elite and recreational football players Gissis (2006) reports that speed is one component that separates elite football players from sub-elite/recreational players.   .   In this study there were no statistical differences between player anthropometric characteristics (age, body mass and...