5 Essential Items of Training Equipment for Improving Player Speed
Whilst it is true that some footballers are born with natural pace, speed is something that can also be developed and improved on through specialised coaching sessions.
The ability to beat a player with sheer pace or be first to a 50/50 ball is of paramount importance in the modern game, which means selecting the right coaching drills is essential. And in order to facilitate effective player development, you will need the right tools at your disposal.
Having a full inventory of training equipment will promote learning and enhance your players’ speed and acceleration over time, but there are five items of equipment in particular that no football coach should be without.
Telescopic Boundary Poles
A set of high-visibility Telescopic Boundary Poles allows you to set up so-called ‘weave in, weave out’ drills with ease. These 1.7-metre adjustable poles come with detachable spikes, and they can be fixed into the ground in a matter of seconds.
In order to set up a ‘weave in, weave out’ training drill with your Telescopic Boundary Poles, place four of them in a straight line, with three yards between each one. Then, place a pole of a different colour halfway between each of the first poles you placed into the ground, but make sure that the second set are located three yards to the left of the original four poles. Players should then weave in and out of the poles in a ‘zig-zag’ fashion – using sidesteps rather than making pronounced turns. This will cultivate quickened changes in direction and real pace, which are both essential skills when time on the ball is limited.
If the ground is hard, the poles can be sited using a base, and the entire set of poles comes with a dedicated bag for safe and convenient transportation.
Dome Markers Cones
Dome Markers Cones come in sets of 40, and each set includes four different colours – ideal for identifying specific training areas on your pitch. They’re soft and pliable, so they will withstand being trodden on and general wear and tear with ease, and they can be stacked and stored away in a matter of seconds.
There are countless coaching drills that can be facilitated with a set of Dome Markers Cones, but one of the most effective (and simple) is the ‘follow the leader’ drill. Use your cones to mark out a training area of 20 yards by 20 yards. Pair your fastest players with your slowest, and get the faster player to run at speed within the confines of the training area – making quick turns at regular intervals. The slower player must follow, staying within two metres of the faster player at all times. This will help to develop players’ acceleration from awkward starting positions.
A set of 12-inch, high-visibility traffic cones can give you countless options on the training pitch. Not only are they made from a durable and pliable plastic, they have large bases in order to keep them in place at all times.
A great training drill to develop player speed and agility is the ‘box drill’. Set out a training square with four traffic cones of five yards by five yards. Then place a fifth cone in the centre of the square – this will be the starting point for each player. Number each corner cone, and shout out random numbers for two to three minutes. The player must sprint to the numbered cone called, and return to the centre cone as quickly as possible. Make sure you call out the next number when the player reaches the corner cone, and that the player returns to the centre before sprinting to the next cone you called.
Boundary Slalom Pole Set
This set of 12 slalom poles is perfect for coaching players to make tight turns at high speed whilst staying in control of the ball. They are 1.7 metres long, and each set consists of six yellow poles and six red poles. They are fixed into the pitch with stainless steel spikes, which means they remain in place and do not corrode over time.
Set up your slalom course by placing 10 poles in a straight line – at 5-yard intervals. Each player must dribble in and out of every pole and then sprint back to their waiting teammates – rejoining the queue for another go. This drill not only develops raw speed, it helps to develop speed of leg movement.
A set of speed rings offers you the chance to very quickly set up some impromptu, random training courses aimed at developing leg speed, agility and coordination. You can experiment with formations and spacing, or you can simply randomise each course by scattering them at will. These durable rings come with their own carry bag, and at a diameter of 39 cm, they are perfect for footwork drills.