From the Magazine: Starting Speed - First Step Quickness

This is an excerpt from the July issue of Amplified Soccer Athlete.

By Scott Moody, AthleteFIT (

Every player is looking to enhance their speed, especially their first step quickness and separation speed. But even though this is the goal, many players don’t necessarily train for this. We all run sprints at practice, but think back to your training program and see if you can remember a time when your coach had you specifically focus on maximal speed over 5-10 yards.

When training to improve this type of speed there are few things we need to consider:

  1. This is NOT conditioning - and even though we are sprinting full speed, you should never feel “fatigued” when training this type of speed.
  2. Footwork and Body Position are key to maximizing your starting speed potential.
  3. Strength (and more specifically power) is often the missing piece for most players.

Here are a few tips for training first step quickness in a soccer-specific program.

Work to Rest Ratio:

Speed is best developed in a 1:5 or 1:10 work to rest ratio; that means if your sprint takes 5 seconds to run, you should take a minimum of 25 seconds (and a maximum of 50 seconds) to recover for best results. Once fatigue sets in, you start to slow down, and the workout becomes more about fitness than speed. 

We recommend performing sprints in sets of 5 reps at a time, with 3-5 sets per workout. For starting speed, because of the short distance (usually 5 yard bursts), we would recommend performing 5 sprints of 5-10 yards with a deceleration and jog back to the start line. This usually works out to be a 2 second sprint with a 10 second recover (1:5 work to rest ratio). After 5 sprints we would usually recommend resting rest for a minute or two, then performing the next set.

Download the July issue of Amplified Soccer Athlete magazine to get the rest of this article containing strength and speed training workouts and video examples to help you improve your first step quickness. In the July issue, we have put together feature interviews, drills and more to help you on your journey to be fearless and chase your dreams!

The AthleteFIT website has now evolved into the ultimate resource for team sport athletes, coach or parent to learn, train and track their progress over time.