Last Updated on December 1, 2014 by Jimson Lee
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:
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
A 4.0 hand time or faster from the runner’s first movement is considered excellent. For Females, 4.5 is excellent.
[Tweet “Mo Greene, NOT Usain Bolt, has the fastest 30 meter split ever recorded 3.75 vs 3.78 sec”]
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…
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…
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.
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!)
Matthew Steel says
Great article. Well-informed, well-researched. I’ve an article about my ideas for a no-cost game of soccer that will supplement the preceding article. Please scroll down till you find it here:
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
Christopher Glaeser says
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
What you measure, you improve!
Theo walcott ran the 30 meters in 3.6 seconds
I have an averegae score of 3.50 for 30m sprint is that good then?
Jimson Lee says
two updated articles on the 30m dash from Dec 2011:
I got 3.9 and I’m 15, 5ft 8in and 9st 2lb