The Soccer (Football) 30 meter Sprint Test

So you want to be a Soccer Player?  So you want to be a Football Player?

I’m sure if Bud Winter was alive, he would have written a book on this.

This article is a spin off on the series of 40 yard dash for American football where 40 Yard dash times are used in the combine.

In Soccer (or Football for the rest of the world), 30 meters is a popular testing distance.  We’re talking about SI… SI stands for System International, not Sports Illustrated (well, maybe except for the February edition).

 

What is a good time for 30 meters?

Of course, my answer is, it depends.

Age, sport specificity, Amateur vs. Professional, FAT vs. Hand times… all these are factors in determining what is a good 30 meter sprint time.

First, lets look at Professional Elite sprinters:

30-meter-split-times-WR

Note that Usain Bolt does NOT have the fastest 30 meter split time, but rather Maurice Green.  Shocking?

It’s fair to say anything under 3.70 FAT time with no reaction time (i.e. using timing gates) is world class.  But we’re not world class sprinters, we’re soccer players.

Second, let’s look at some theory.

The following are national norms for 16 to 19 year olds from the reference Physical Education and the Study of Sport: Text with CD-ROM

30-meter-sprint-rating

A 4.0 hand time or faster from the runner’s first movement is considered excellent.  For Females, 4.5 is excellent.

How accurate is this chart?  See the next study below.

This study is from the Performance characteristics of professional players aged 13 – 18 years old on Scientific-football.com…

sci-football-study

For clarification, the color coded chart is divided into 2 year age groups, 13&14, 15&16, and 17&18.  Note for the 17&18 year old group, times of 4.01 to 4.32 were recorded.

Another study from the Strong Correlation of Maximal Squat Strength with Sprint Performance and Vertical Jump Height in Elite Soccer Players (by U Wisløff, C Castagna, J Helgerud, R Jones, J Hoff) shows…

correlation-maximal-squat-strength-sprint

This range is from 3.6 to 4.4 seconds for 30 meters from 17 International male soccer players with an average age of 25.8 years old.

I am curious to find out where (or who) the two 3.6 times came from.  I wonder what they could run for 100 meters if they trained for the event?  A 3.6 hand time is equivalent to 3.84 FAT.

But the most important take home message from this study is leg speed and vertical jump are directly related to leg strength.  I can’t stress that enough.  So that means hitting the weight room and/or doing plyos.  Even as young as 14 or 15 years old, athletes should start a carefully monitored weight program focusing on technique in the early years.

Conclusion

So there you have it.  You now know what you need to do if you are considering a pro football career.. along with soccer skills!  Lace up your shoes (uh, I mean boots) and go out and do 2 or 3 trials of 30 meters and report back your times.  Have 2 timers if possible.

On the next article, I’ll discuss ways of improving your leg speed (both linear speed and lateral speed) so you can slice up to half a second on your 30 meter time or your money back!  (Since this site is free, you have nothing to lose!)

Here are my recommendations for products & services I've reviewed & used personally that can improve your results. This is a short list since it only includes my top picks.

  • Freelap - Accurately time yourself to 100th of a second (i.e. 9.53)
  • SpeedCoach EMS - the only EMS for training, recovery and rehab
  • GymBoss – Run 400m? The best $19 timer for Circuit Training
  • Complete Speed Training – Complete 12 DVD set for training speed
  • A 3.6 hand time does not equal 3.84 fat.Usually training hand times, first movement, are 0.45-0.50 slower than Fat., with a good timer( includes reaction time).
    Examples: my 10″45 sprinter, Pb training 3″43, Di gregorio, Italian 10″17 sprinter, can usually go under 3″30

  • The Freelap Timing System is an ideal solution for measuring the 30 meter sprint. It is accurate, fully automated, easy to set up, easy to use, and versatile. Freelap can measure fly-in sprints, splits, block starts, tempo runs, laps, football combine 40 yard dash, and agility drills. See http://www.freelaptrackandfield.com/101.html

    Best,
    Christopher Glaeser

    What you measure, you improve!