How To Get Quicker Feet In Soccer

Some of the greatest moments in soccer are about fast feet.

Intricate footwork is what makes the beautiful game so beautiful, and it relies on agility and instinctive thinking, as well as impressive speed.

To become an exceptional soccer player, you need quick feet.

How To Get Quicker Feet In Soccer (1)

Quick feet are partly talent, but mostly focused training. Repetitive sharp movements can improve a player’s overall speed, and make each step smooth, controlled, and efficient.

It’s also important to think about strength, so your ankle can flex and respond as it needs to.

To find out how to train quick feet in soccer, and why the skill is so important, take a look at this guide to training and drills.

Why Is Foot Speed Important In Soccer?

Fast foot speed is a fundamental skill for any soccer player. Agile feet aid defensive and attacking work, allow players to dodge tackles, execute tight turns, and send the ball to the back of the net.

Fast footwork ensures a player can be where they need to be, doing what they need to do. Quick feet are also what gives soccer the pace and thrill that makes the game so great.

But quicker feet aren’t just about raw speed. Quick feet improve agility, allowing players to turn, swivel, dodge, and outwit their opponents.

Fast feet can allow a defender to steal the ball from under another player, but they’re also what attacking players need to keep play moving forward.

To get quicker feet in soccer, you need to practice little steps that can carry you far in a short amount of time.

This is about more than just raw speed. Quick feet are about flexibility, strength, and fast thinking.

How To Get Quicker Feet In Soccer

How To Get Quicker Feet In Soccer


A good warm-up before training will get the blood moving and flowing around your muscles, so you can better execute quick feet and ankle movements.

A dynamic warm-up involves moving and stretching the body to prepare the muscles and ligaments for a quality performance. A static warm-up pushes to elongate the muscle, so it can stretch to its full capability.

Combining the two will give a player access to the full range of movement necessary for quick feet.

Without a warm-up, the muscles in the feet and ankle won’t have the elasticity and blood flow needed to deliver an optimum performance.

This means even in practice sessions, you won’t be able to access the full potential of your feet.

Repeat Drills

Practice makes perfect isn’t just a cliché — it’s a vital principle to soccer training. Repetitive drills might not be the most exciting part of soccer, but they do come with two major benefits.

First, they allow your feet and ankles to build muscle memory, so you can react quickly.

Second, they improve your mental response and make movement instinctual. Rather than having to decide what to do in a tight corner, your feet will start moving without conscious thought.

Coordination is an essential factor of quick feet, and repeating drills can keep your coordination sharp.

Again, it takes away the element of thought. Rather than having to consider where your foot will go, and how you need to move the body, instinct will take over.

When you find your possession under threat from an opposing player, your repeated training will kick in, and you can react instantly.

Practice Slow Movement Drills

Watch soccer players with the fastest feet, and you might lose track of exactly where they’re stepping.

Sometimes, you need to see a slow motion replay to really grasp what a player did, and how the ball got from point a to point b without falling foul of the offending team.

Practicing slow movements might seem contradictory if you want to achieve fast feet, but half speed drills are actually beneficial.

By practicing the movements slowly, you can learn what it is that the feet have to do. Then, it’s just a matter of speeding everything up.

Slow movement drills ensure your feet don’t just move fast, but that they move with purpose.

Strength Training

We rarely think of strength training when it comes to speed, but ensuring the health and strength of muscles and tendons is vital for quick feet.

A strong ankle will have better flexibility and will be able to perform tricky footwork with a reduced risk of injury.

Foot rolls, calf raises, and stretches with resistance bands can all improve the strength of your feet and ankle.

These sorts of stretches should form a part of your training anyway, so make sure they aren’t being neglected.

Another way to improve foot strength is barefoot training, but be careful before starting this.

Only train on safe surfaces, and avoid doing more complex drills involving other people and soccer balls while barefoot.

Drills For Fast Feet

How To Get Quicker Feet In Soccer

Burpees And Lunges

Burpees and lunges are common exercises that help improve the explosive power needed for fast footwork.

Jumping lunges, reverse lunge knee-ups, and burpees all require power, sudden changes of direction, and quick responses.

Although they may not have the focus on agility needed for getting very quick feet, they provide a base point from which you can build strength and movement.

These drills are also a fantastic way of reinforcing the ankle joints.

Low Box Training

Similar to burpees and lunges, low box training can improve strength and dynamism. Simple shuffle steps can improve ankle dorsiflexion, increasing the range of movement possible.

An improved ankle dorsiflexion can also reduce the risk of injury.

Ladder Shuffle

Ladder drills are fantastic for practicing the repetitive movements that provide the instinctive reactions needed for fast feet in soccer.

Consistently practicing ladder drills can improve speed and coordination.

To practice ladder drills, either lay a flat ladder on the floor, or draw one on the floor. Here are some drills to practice with the ladder:

  • One step in each space. Start facing the end of the ladder. Run through the ladder, placing alternating feet in each square.
  • Two steps in each space. Similar to the first drill, only each foot is placed in every square of the ladder.
  • Quick switches. Face the ladder, with the front foot in the first square, and the back foot out, behind the ladder. Hop and switch feet, so the back foot is in, and the front foot is out. Hop again, moving the front foot forward into the next square, and the back foot out. Repeat, until you’ve crossed the ladder.
  • Icky Shuffle. Start at the end of the ladder with both feet out. Move in this pattern: right in, left in, right out. Left in the next square, right in, left out. Repeat, moving up the ladder.
  • Backwards Icky Shuffle. The same as above, but moving backwards.
  • Sideways shuffle. Face the ladder sideways. Move following an in, in, out, out pattern, traveling along the ladder. Reverse, when you reach the other end.

Hopping Grid

A hopping grid is essentially a grid drawn on the floor that can be used similarly to a ladder. The grid should look like an enlarged tic-tac-toe board, with just enough room for your foot.

Unlike the ladder, the hopping grid is only performed on one foot, improving power and speed in the calves.

To use the hopping grid, simply move around the spaces in a pattern.

For example:

  • Back to front. Hop front, middle, back, back, middle, etc. Repeat with the other foot.
  • Side to side. Hop left, middle, right, moving forward across the grid.
  • Across the diagonal. Move in a crisscross pattern around the grid.

With the hopping grid, you practice basic movements repetitively, to speed up your instincts

Dribbling Drills

There’s no point training your feet to be fast if you can’t keep the ball moving with you.

Dribbling drills improve your overall control of the ball, and can give you the fast feed you need to outsmart your opponent.

Dribble drills form an important part of soccer practice, but if you want to speed up your feet, you may want to start training these on your own time.

  • Straight cone dribble. Set a straight line of cones, equal distance apart. Dribble between the cones. Vary the distance between 2 feet and 5 feet. Vary the drill by sprinting to a cone further along the line, and dribbling back to the starting point.
  • Random cone dribble. Set up the cones at random, across a large area. Dribble the ball at random around the set-up, making quick directional changes.
  • Inside out. Move the ball from the inside of the right foot, to the outside of the left, and reverse.
  • Tap, tap, roll. Tap the ball back and forth with the inside of the foot. After a few touches, roll over the ball with the sole of the foot. Or, step over the ball with one foot, and then roll back over it with the sole of the same foot.
Final Thoughts

The feet are the foundation of soccer. Quick feet can give a player an edge over their opponent, improving agility, reactions, and control.

By practicing these drills, you can execute the quick turns and technical movements that make soccer so exciting.