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Proper Acceleration Posture in Speed Training

by Taylor Tollison

The goal of soccer training is improved performance, injury prevention, soccer skills and tactics. Improved performance should never come at the cost of an injured player. Goal #1 is injury prevention in a soccer conditioning program. Goal #2 is to improve performance.

During acceleration keep an eye on two possible flaws. The two flaws dealt with here are specific to body angle.

Flaw #1: Player leans to far forward.

This can be a major problem. What happens when players lean too far forward? They will have to over reach their front foot to catch themselves from falling. This is not optimal. Putting the front in that kind of position will slow the player’s acceleration. And because the foot reaches out front it will not be in the optimal power angle for pushing your forward.

Depending on the strength levels of your players you can shoot for a 45 degree angle. Weaker athletes may not be able to hold that big of a lean without overreaching. So be careful when prescribing a 45 degree body lean. It may be too much.

Flaw #2: Player accelerates with the body too upright.

The problem with this is the difficulty in achieving the optimal power angle. Watch how an Olympic gold medal sprinter puts his/her body into optimal body lean position. This lean puts their body into a great position to be able to push back into the ground thus accelerating them better. Standing up straight and tall is for max speed running. Leaning forward to form power angles down and back into the ground is for acceleration.

Drill for Body lean and Acceleration technique

wall drill for speedThe widely used wall drill is a great for developing acceleration technique. Put your athlete against a wall with their hands extended straight in front. The hands are against the wall holding them up. Each athlete should get into a 45 degree angle. Both feet are on the ground. The starting position is shown in the image to the left. Maintain a straight line from the head to the ankles. Don't look down to the ground like shown to the left.  This position is just used to feel the proper body lean.

wall drill 2Now we move to the wall drill with movement.   Start with one leg up as shown below. keep the straight line mention.  

The athlete only moves when the coach says “Switch.” (If you are a player you can do these on your own. No need for a coach. But these are great for a team setting too.) The switch happens by quickly lifting one leg while putting the leg that is in the up position down. The next switch happens by quickly putting the up leg down and the leg on the ground up

wall drill 3