Why Am I So Slow? – Part I



Of all the questions we get, possibly the most asked is:

How do I get faster?

If this were a simple question, it wouldn’t be an industry that makes tens of millions of dollars yearly…. hundreds of millions probably.

But, that doesn’t mean you must go hire some fancy speed coach.

It IS good to have a trained eye take a look at how you move, but like personal training, you are often paying for a babysitter to make sure you do the work.

If you need to babysitter, then it is THE SMARTEST MONEY YOU CAN SPEND.

If you don’t, then you can buy a sled, weights, blue band, and do your own workouts.

Soccer is a game of acceleration, deceleration, change of direction, and agility (which involves reaction to stimulus).

I will discuss acceleration here.

Well Who Are You, J.R.?

Long before I started RST, I played and coached multiple sports in college, owned multiple speed and agility businesses, and have conservatively trained 20,000 athlete session hours over the past couple decades.

My personal best 40-yard dash was 4.43 electronic, and I had over a 40-inch vertical in my early 20’s.  I was NOT genetically fast.

I was a ‘made athlete’.

I know a little about getting faster… it was literally my obsession for decades.

Here is the progression I used personally, and have used to help 1,000’s of athletes.

Strength > Power > Spring > Form > Play Low > Early Recognition

You fall somewhere along this spectrum and probably have decent scores in some of those areas, but poor scores in others…

*Before I Begin…

We are going to assume some very basic things here, and those are the following:

You understand that everyone has different ratios of slow and fast twitch fibers in them…

Everyone has different angles in their joints due to length of limbs, slightly different insertion and origin points, and different muscle belly shapes.

Therefore my discussion can only be a very general guide to help you get started in your quest for speed.

Are You Weak?

‘But, Messi isn’t super strong!’

Yes, but in case you haven’t noticed, you aren’t Lionel.

You aren’t close.

Neither am I…

Ronaldo, for all his prancing around and flexing, isn’t strong either, but he had to work to overcome the fact that his ability to display strength is genetically far harder than Messi.

Messi has a mechanical advantage due to his shorter levers.

I am sure both men have put in many hours in the weight room, but soccer is currently a sport played by so many, and early talent is recognized by the very gifted athletes, and the kids who have amazing ball control.

So, if you spend hours outside playing every single day like they did, and you are the best athlete in your city naturally, like they are… no worries!

You can stop reading now.

But, if you are like I was… let’s get this figured out.

You aren’t slow, you are weak.

Let me repeat…

You aren’t slow, you are weak.

Until you can back squat over 2X your bodyweight, the #1 contributing factor to acceleration performance is:  STRENGTH.

Does this mean you have to go jump in the squat rack right now and turn into a power lifter?


But, you cannot escape physics.

Allyson Felix, who dominated women’s track and field for over a decade raise some eyebrows when she hex bar deadlifted over 300lbs. at a bodyweight of 123lbs.  She was 5’6″, so she was very skinny.  It was also said she could leg press 700lbs.

She has hundreds of YouTube videos, so you can check her out if you like.

So, if I squat 1,000lbs. I will win the 100m in the Olympics?


Strength underlies all other components.

You still have to convert that strength to power to be usable.

But, like a car, if you are weak, and the car has no horsepower… you will be slow.


TRAP BAR DEADLIFT (Vertical Force)
FRONT SQUAT (Vertical Force)
HIP THRUSTS (Horizontal Force)
HEAVY SLED DRAGS (Horizontal Force)
REVERSE HYPERS (Horizontal Force)

Mid-rep range: 4-8 Repetitions, 12-32 Total Reps

*If you don’t have a background lifting weights, then go find someone with a background and a certification…  notice I said background first.  You want to get strong, not ruin your back trying to go gung-ho under too much weight.

Relative Strength

In the end, a shot-putter, a gymnast, and even a huge NFL lineman are often quicker than almost anyone you know…


Because relative to their bodyweight, they are really, really strong.

Is Usain Bolt super strong?

Not at all.

His long limbs mean he is exactly the opposite advantage of Messi…

Usain will struggle with feats of strength…

But, he does produce amazing horizontal power due to his hamstring and glute strength…

But again…

This article is for MOST people…

Not the genetic anomalies.

So, question 1 to Ask:  Are You Weak?

Keep it simple.

Speed isn’t created in 6 weeks.

Speed sessions definitely help, and can lay a foundation for you, but it takes time.

Strength > Power > Spring > Form > Play Low > Early Recognition

Next we will discuss power, or the combination of force from the strength and speed.

I hope this helps!!
By |2017-12-11T15:46:44-04:00December 11th, 2017|From The Coaches|0 Comments