Fitness, Matches

2014 FIFA World Cup Soccer Fitness Preview: Cameroon – Speed Kills

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Because this is a World Cup year, I have decided to countdown to the tournament by providing a short soccer/fitness related preview of each of the 32 participating nations. In this installment, I will look at Cameroon, an African side with a German coach, who have a history of pulling off upsets in the World Cup and have drawn a tough group that includes hosts Brazil, Croatia, and Mexico.

Cameroon’s best player is 32 year old striker Samuel Eto’o, who is widely considered one of the fastest soccer players in the world. In my business, we spend a lot of time working with athletes to develop speed using a variety of training techniques, including high speed/high incline treadmill running, plyometrics, strength training, and running mechanics training. Without getting into all the details, what I can tell you is that Samuel Eto’o exhibits all of the athletic qualities that good speed training seeks to develop. Among these are:

– Powerful legs and a low starting position that elicit explosive starting speed
– Foot contact on the balls of the feet to maximize propulsive forces
– Strong hamstrings that produce a very long running stride
– Quick and strong hip flexors that snap the knees up quickly for a fast stride frequency
– A strong and stable core that keeps the hips square and neutral during upright running
– A relaxed arm swing to maximize total body range of motion

Of course, developing these skills and abilities takes years of hard training, however, soccer players aspiring to get faster should watch this video of Eto’o in action and try to copy the way he runs. At the World Cup Brazilian, Croatian, and Mexican defenders will certainly have their hands (and feet) full trying to stop him. We will have to wait and see what happens in 3 months’ time.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Drop me a line here to get the conversation started.

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