There are many details about becoming the best soccer player which are overlooked by coaches. Players will grow up and yet the most basic things were not taught at a young age or at all. Years go by and players either do wrong movements or are as efficient as they could be. Proper technique in running is often overlooked. It sounds basic but it is. We all know how to run; it can’t be that difficult, right? We just move our legs faster than when walking. However, there are several aspects of proper technique when running which should be memorized. Below are several tips that the best sprinters in the world and soccer players use to become faster and more efficient runners.
Tip #1) Lean forward: especially at the start or from a standstill. Leaning forward at the beginning of your sprint will give you an advantage over your opponent because you’ll be able to concentrate more of your power to your legs and arms. By leaning forward you’ll be able to explode up and move into the next movement which is pumping the arms. Be sure to only lean forward at the start of your sprint. The further you run, the more you move into the upright position.
Tip #2) Pump your arms: keep your elbows relaxed but bent at a 90 degree angle. Be sure to keep your elbows close to your body. Do not swing your arms across your chest. You want to be maximizing your running motion through the air. You will be more efficient with your strides, have less wind resistance and make better use of your arms. The more you pump your arms as you run the faster your legs will run. You should always pump your arms when you run but especially at the start of a sprint as it will help you to reach maximum speed. Many inexperienced soccer players keep their arms bent at an angle less than 45 degrees or swing their arms across their body. This couldn’t be further from how to best use your arms.
Tip #3) Stay light on your toes: there is no need to pound the ground when you run. Throughout your stride, the entire foot should touch the ground. However, it is important to not be a heavy pounder on the ground. If so, you will lose many quick sprints for the ball and from a defensive standpoint you will be easier to beat on the open run. Be a light runner.
Tip 4) Short fast steps at the start of your sprint: this is the best way to be the fastest out of the blocks or to get the best positioning in your sprint for the ball. Short fast steps at the start of your sprint along with using your arm strength and leg strength will surely make you a faster sprinter. A common mistake by runners is start out with long strides when in fact this is wrong. Start with short quick steps and then begin to use longer strides. This leads me to my next point.
Tip 5) Longer steps as you go further: now that you are in a full out sprint for the ball you should take longer strides. Be sure to lift your knees and pump your arms. Keep good posture and use your longer fast strides to cover more ground.
Tip #6) Lift your knees: another common mistake by soccer players is they do not lift their knees enough when they run. They move their legs fast but to reach maximum speeds you must bring your knees up and bend at the knee at a 90 degree angle. When you put your leg down you can use the down motion to propel your other leg up and vice versa. Every part of your body works as a unit when you run so be sure to use them properly and one way is to lift your knees when you sprint.
Tip #7) Control your breathing: like many areas in life, if you control your breathing you will be more relaxed. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Be relaxed when you breathe. It will increase your endurance and you will be overall more comfortable. You will then be able to make better decisions on the field and be in better control.
The fastest runners in the world have mastered proper technique on how to run. Each of these runners in soccer and track & field use the tips mentioned above to perfection. By incorporating the tips mentioned in this blog you will become a more efficient and faster sprinter. This will help you win more quick sprints to the ball and greatly improve your overall game. The good thing with these tips is they are simple to implement which will help you make great strides of improvement.