Being fast is definitely a huge advantage in any physical discipline, especially in a sport like soccer! However, if you are fast you definitely need to not take that for granted …
… In other words, you need to understand the best positions to play and the right drills to grow.
So, What is the Best Soccer Position for Fast Players? In today’s tactics full backs are a huge part of the success of any team, not only on the offensive side, but also on the defensive one. And since the main attribute of full backs is speed, I believe that most new fast players should consider this position as their number one choice.
Which Positions Should Fast Soccer Players Play?
First, it is really important that you understand all the roles in soccer. While one may think initially to put your fastest player in the offense to score goals the quickest, that’s not how the sport is technically designed.
I recommend utilizing your fastest players in defensive or midfield positions, such as:
This position’s purpose is to watch the game on offense, make mental notes about the opponent’s movements and strategies, and prevent the offense from reaching the goal.
Their speed helps a lot here, as they have to be quick to stop strikers from scoring.
A fullback should avoid attacking the opponent outright, or it’ll lead to a free kick for the opposing team.
Fullbacks need to run side to side and stay in open stances.
2. The sweeper
While not a common position for US soccer teams (more common in Germany), the sweeper is known as the last chance on defense.
If the fullback isn’t aware or beating the forwards on the opposing team, here comes the sweeper with their quick instincts and gifted talent for defending to the rescue!
It should be noted that the sweeper is not a position for a child learning how to play soccer for the first time, no matter how fast they are. This position requires lots of technique and experience on defense, but this skill can be taught with time.
3. Center midfielder
The center midfielder is the ideal position in soccer for a kid or athlete who loves to run around for hours while being in the middle of the action.
The center midfielder is the athlete that controls the majority of the game because they are the playmakers. A weak midfielder will hurt the entire team and make them an easy target for the opposing team.
Finally, the winger is for the athlete that loves to run in small bursts and make big impact plays on offense and defense.
Like the midfielder, they have control of the game and have lots of speed and stamina. But, what’s special about the winger is their ability to be quick while having amazing foot technique by dribbling the ball and being the biggest threat to an opponent.
A good winger throws off the opposing defense and moves the ball in unpredictable ways. They’re the strategist: they can score goals, make crucial assists, and win free kicks.
You can also learn about these soccer positions options for slower players …
What positions run the most in soccer?
Typically, midfielders run the most in a 90-minute soccer match because their position requires them to cover the entire field. But how many miles a midfielder covers has surprisingly come up for debate.
It’s important to note that studies have shown that women’s soccer and men’s soccer don’t have a lot of differences in miles ran during a full contest, despite the women’s game having less running involved (according to ACTIVE, about 75% of a women’s soccer match is at a walk/jog pace).
Therefore, gender doesn’t make much of a difference in this case.
Motion studies of players’ average mileage in a soccer match began in the 1970s on the Everton FC club in Liverpool, England.
The study concluded that the midfielders in each game averaged about 8,800 meters, or 5.46 miles As the game advances, players can run up to 10,000-12,000 meters (6-7.5 miles).
The mileage doesn’t mean that players are running the entire 90 minutes. Most of the movements come in the form of power walking, jogging, and short bursts of sprints.
Tips and Drills For Fast Players …
Soccer isn’t a game of speed, it’s a game of tactics and technique. Speed can be increased if the athlete is willing to put in the extra effort off the field to achieve this.
For naturally speedy athletes, problems can arise from burning out to misreading other players. Here are a few successful tips for fast players to get better in soccer and become elite, along with how coaches can make their fast players succeed:
1. Work on powering yourself up
Naturally fast players have the speed to be quick to the ball because of the strength in their legs, but many struggle with the wind-up to a quick sprint.
Almost every trainer and coach uses resistance bands in their workout with their players. Resistance bands are designed to not only increase quickness, but increase the amount of work in standards speed workouts.
Developing strength in your legs is key for soccer players, and the higher the resistance in the band, the more the athlete has to drive their legs.
You always want to run a little faster than your opponent, so getting a great push into a sprint is the tactical advantage.
2. Know your position extremely well
Just because you’re fast doesn’t mean you need to run all the time! Obviously, if you’re a goalkeeper, you won’t be doing very much running. This tip is especially important if the coach decides to place their fastest player as a striker or a forward.
Their job is not to run a lot, but be quick when they possess the ball and score on goal.
If they run too much too fast, chances are they will burn out because they aren’t playing in the position they’re assigned to. Leave the majority of the running to the midfielders.
3. Be quick physically and mentally
Every soccer coach will preach the need to think fast on the soccer field. Because midfielders dictate the pace of the game, other players need about 5 seconds at most to get ready to make plays.
In other words, being a fast player doesn’t automatically make you a good player.
If fast players take one second too long to find an option to pass to another player, especially if you’re a midfielder, the opponent will win that little battle against you.
How a coach can make the most out of his fast players?
Some coaches struggle with this dilemma. They think, “wow, my player is really fast and I want them to be smarter about it! But all they want to do is run and hog the ball!”
As I said before, soccer is a technical game, and everybody has a role in the game. Nick Humphries, an Australian soccer player and coach, has a detailed list of how to be more effective as a fast player, and some of his tips are universally used for improvement:
- Always anticipate the next move, and never focus on the present when you have the ball. Midfielders, this is especially important because you have to keep a lookout for your entire team and make sure they get open to score.
- Keep fighting for the ball! If you’re open and you have a plan to successfully score a goal, be adamant about getting the ball before you lose your space to an opponent. If you lose the ball due to a mistake, get the ball back as soon as you can! A lot can happen in 90 minutes, and a few seconds can make all the difference in the game.
- The most important advice: practice makes perfect. Keep practicing scanning drills in practice if you’re a player, and take a good 45-minute chunk of time to drill if you’re a coach. Being intelligent in the game of soccer makes up for a lack of physical strength, and is crucial for the development of a great soccer player in a young athlete.
Examples of famous successful fast soccer players …
The classic example of a fast player couldn’t be any different from Cristiano Ronaldo!
He’s currently the most popular soccer player in the world, but he didn’t come by that naturally. When he first came into the scene as a winger with Manchester United, his abilities demonstrated his uncanny speed, but not enough technique to play efficiently.
That changed when he grew physically stronger and adapted his game as a striker, focusing on his talent of outrunning opponents and using intelligence to wait for the right chance to score.
Gareth Bale, the Welsh superstar who played for Real Madrid, is considered one of the naturally speediest players in the game. He began as a fullback defender for Tottenham, but demonstrated his knack for attacking the ball. Changing to a striker made him a better player.
These two players adapted to their skills and don’t rely on their speed to be successful in soccer. The best position for fast players can make or break the athlete.
Final Thoughts …
Hope this Post has given you a clear idea on how you should approach playing soccer in case you have the speed advantage.
I am glad you’ve showed that much interest learning about this topic, because many players who are fairly fast don’t truly take full advantage of this gift, simply because they don’t really understand how to utilize that to their advantage!
Finally, I highly encourage you to check these hacks on how to choose a soccer position … I think you’ll find that very useful!