How Coaches Can Help Soccer Players Develop Reaction Speed

There is a variety of training techniques, such as explosive sprints, plyometrics, and dribbling to improve reaction time and speed for soccer players.

By Megan O'Connell
Edited by Tom Amitay

Published February 13, 2021.

In this post, we will list a few different training techniques that soccer coaches and players can use to improve reaction time and speed.

Explosive Sprints

Explosive sprints are very effective in improving reaction time and speed, fitness, and agility.

Stand in an athletic position, ready to sprint, and have a coach, training partner, or friend call out at a random moment, indicating when to start sprinting. It is best to limit these sprints to a distance of 100 meters.

As the player can't predict when they need to start sprinting, they'll be forced to react quickly and improve reaction speed.

Ball Manipulation and Dribbling

Reaction training drills with a soccer ball aim to teach players to manipulate the ball better and faster, allowing them to use less time to think about their actions and move more quickly and efficiently.

Through ball manipulation and dribbling, players force their bodies to respond to their mind’s signals faster, thereby improving reactions, reflexes, agility, and coordination.

There are plenty of different ball manipulation and dribbling drills that players can either perform alone, with a partner, or in groups, making this a fun, variable, and engaging training technique.


Plyometric training involves explosive jumping movements that aim to increase strength, speed, and power.

Plyometric training uses the stretch reflex mechanism of the muscles to improve the nervous system's reaction time. Therefore, by performing plyometric movements, soccer players will effectively improve reaction time and speed.

Plyometrics training can include box jumps, jumping lunges, jumping squats, and many more movements.