Sign up for our free newsletter! It's jam packed with info to increase speed, agility, quickness and soccer skills development. Please check your email after subscribing to confirm.


First Name:

Shad Forsythe Q and A

by Taylor Tollison

Question and Answering with Shad Forsythe MS, ATC, CSCS Fitness Coach for the German National Team and Performance Specialist Athlete's Performance.

What are the most important qualities for speed? 

The combination of strength and speed are the major components of power. If a player is powerful and has proper technique they will have speed.

What makes a player fast?

Strength per time with proper technique. Meaning a player needs to put as much force into the ground properly and as quickly as they can…..and this will makes a player fast. If they are not strong, they can’t put enough force and if they are slow they may put high amounts of force very slowly.

What things can youth soccer teams do to increase speed especially without time or access to weights?  

A proper warm up focusing on active movements, active lengthening of tissue, joint mobility, and proper posture/technique. Adding simple stability exercises, quick feet exercises, and simple speed drills into the soccer training session. With or without the ball.

What effect do plyometrics have on speed development? 

Plyometrics are exercises focusing on quickly stretching and contracting muscles. These exercises are great for building power as you want to put as much force in the ground as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Do players have to be strong to get benefit from them?

Strength is important but stability of a players joints and mid section is key. If you are not stable you can not transfer force efficiently into the ground to achieve benefits of the plyometrics.

What are the 5 most important things each youth soccer player should do to improve speed, with or without weight?

Core and Lower Body stability Total body strengthening A good warm-up focusing on active length and joint mobility. A good cool down focusing on static flexibility and returning the muscle to normal resting length, nutrition, and self massage techniques.Plyometric and strength training exercises focusing on power development (move wt. quickly).  Note:  There should be a great emphasis on split position (one leg in front of the other) and single leg movements as soccer players are rarely on two feet.

What are some of the mistakes you see or hear of soccer coaches making that hinders speed development?

Some coaches in all sports tell athletes to reach for the ground in front of them. I was told this when I was playing sports.  This makes you a puller. We want you to be a pusher. Our push muscles gluts, quads, calves combine for what we call triple extension and this action is the most powerful and dynamic activity the body can do. When you reach you are less efficient, you decelerate, and you open yourself up to nagging injuries like hamstring strains.

When we talk about speed on the soccer field what is most important? 100 yard speed, 40 yard speed, 20 yards etc. 

Different speeds or different players in different systems.  For example: 4-4-2. People in the middle of the field central defenders, midfielders and strikers need very good agility, side to side motion, and rarely sprint further than 20 yds.  Outside backs and outside midfielders need a little more distance capacity for their sprints as they tend to sprint in the 30-40 yd range.

Shad Forsythe MS, ATC, CSCS  Performance Specialist for Athlete's Performance.