Coach Talk

Coach Talk : Accelerate Performance Coaching

acpThis week I spoke to David & Nick from APC. Ireland newest Speed Performance coaching programme. The guys are working with kids of various ages with the focus on getting them to move and react quicker. I started by asking the lads who they are and why they set-up ACP.

TCD: Who are you?

ACP: Accelerate Performance Coaching is Nick Hogan, an Irish international 400m sprinter, and David Knowles, a UEFA qualified coach. We are based in Dublin Indoor Football in Santry.

TCD: Why did you set up Accelerate Performance Coaching?

ACP: We started APC as we want the aspiring elite youth players in Ireland to have every chance to succeed in football and get professional contracts. We provide speed and power training as we feel that is the area that is fundamentally lacking in football coaching in this country, and which ultimately will make the difference.

TCD: Tell me about the training you provide?

ACP: We take a players from the ages 10+ and put them through our courses which are all aimed at making players faster, more powerful and more confident. Our courses give players a combination of a new training environment, style and focus all in a small group setting where they can get individual attention and coaching.

We completely remove the element of competition from the training as we feel that it hinders learning new skills and abilities. Their focus is then entirely on improving themselves with no distractions. This is how track and field athletes train, and we think it is the best environment to learn what it is we are coaching them. Soon we will have a gym in operation, the first strength and conditioning facility specifically for youth footballers in the country. Which will give us even more scope to achieve the results we are looking for with our players.

TCD: Do you only coach elite players?

ACP: It is not important to us what level a player is playing at as long as the right attitude is there. We are elite only in that we demand that whatever level a player is coming from, they are willing to learn and want to improve themselves.

TCD: Do you work with teams?

ACP: Yes, as long as the team is the right fit in terms of attitude. Our work with teams follows a similar structure to the programs that we coach on our courses, all aimed at improving player speed, agility and confidence in their abilities, but structured in a way that fits in with the team’s existing training set up. Recently we have worked with Malahide u16 Premier and the Kildare (K.D.U.L) Kennedy Cup squad.

TCD: Are you seeing results?

TCP: Yes. We recently finished a 12 week program with a group of ten players and every single one of them improved in every single test that we use, speed, agility and power.

More important than that is that all of those players told us that they feel faster and more capable on the pitch, and more confident as a result. Results don’t mean a whole lot if they don’t transfer to match situations, so the real results for us are players telling us about how they feel our training works for them in their matches. We even get parents of our players telling us that people are telling them at games that their son looks faster, without any knowledge of the work they have been doing with us.

If parents are interested in applying for a place on any of their programs they can go here: APPLY NOW

The Coach Diary would like to thank Nick & David for this interview. For more infomation go to:


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Coaching Clinics Irish Grassroots Football

How to Develop Speed with Mike Antoniades – BOOK NOW




CALL 087 218 3837 For Further Info

How to develop Speed & Acceleration

Without doubt, one of the greatest concerns among today’s athletes and coaches in all sports is how to improve Speed and Power. The workshop will focus on developing Speed and Acceleration for multi-directional sports, covering the theory, coaching methodology and practical demonstrations.  This 1 day workshop is for both coaches and athletes who want to learn how to develop and coach Speed.

No matter what your starting point you can always get faster!

Speed and quickness are skills that can be taught and not just something you were born with. By using a number of specialised acceleration training techniques and football specific conditioning protocols, which stimulate both the muscular and the nervous system, athletes can improve their speed, agility, acceleration and power. These techniques have been used with academy and professional football teams in the UK and Europe with great success in injury prevention and multidirectional speed development.           

Did you know?

65% of footballers over the age of 13 are slower turning on one side than the other, by up to 0.65 of a second.

Many footballers can improve their speed and quickness just by correcting their running biomechanics.

Reactive Speed can be improved by up to 30% with the correct training in just four weeks.

If youngsters don’t acquire the basic movement skills by the age of 12 then they will very rarely make professional footballers

Speed Workshop Agenda

1 Day course

1. Theory Presentation 

  • Biomechanics of multidirectional sport
  • How to develop Speed & Acceleration
  • Long term athlete development
  • When & How to train?
  • The Importance of functional movement
  • Case Studies
  • Question & Answer session

2. Practical session –

  • Running Bionechancis
  • Dynamic Movement Skills
  • Quickness
  • Turning Ability
  • Acceleration & Deceleration

3. Q&A


5. Practical session 

  • Explosiveness
  • Speed Development
  • Strength & Power

6. Question & Answer Session – Finish at 5.30pm 


When: Saturday 7th December

Time: Start 12.30 – Finish 5.30pm

Cost: €25

Location: NDSL Academy – Oscar Traynor Coaching & Development Centre

Oscar Traynor Road – Coolock D17


Mobile: 087 218 3837

Coaching Clinics Irish Grassroots Football

Mike Antoniades – The need for SPEED – CHANGED to 7th December 2013

Mike is the Performance and Rehabilitation Director of Sport Dimensions, a company he set-up, specialising in Speed, Power and Rehabilitation techniques and training.

He is a qualified UEFA Coach, Strength & Conditioning Coach, Speed Coach and Rehabilitation Specialist. Mike works with a number professional football clubs in the UK, Europe and the USA, developing Speed and Conditioning programmes –

Clients include among others, athletes from, Chelsea FC, Chelsea Academy, Bolton Wanderers Stoke City, Crystal Palace, Ipswich Town, Saracens, Bath, Harlequins, Celtic, Blackburn, QPR, Italian Football Federation, GB Athletics, GB Bobsleigh, as well as Winter and Summer Olympians.

Mike runs coaching workshops and seminars on Soccer Speed and The Long Term Development of Young Footballers, in the UK, Europe and the USA and he also lectures at various universities on Biomechanics and injury prevention. He has developed a number of protocols for Performance and Rehabilitation which are being used successfully in professional teams and private practices.

Mike has been working with Chelsea Football club for many years and has developed Speed and Conditioning programs for the Academy – youngsters aged from 9 to 21 years old.


Are you running properly?

Poor running technique can lead to unnecessary injury risks if they are not picked up early.

“Being able to run fast in straight lines only, or having the capacity to Lift very heavy weights in the gym, will not necessarily transfer onto the football pitch”

Many recreational runners are placing undue strain on their bodies, as well as compromising their speed, by using the wrong technique. Conditioning coach Mike Antoniades has developed a unique methodology for teaching the correct and most efficient running technique to athletes and recreational users of all levels.

Are you running efficiently?

Some of the most obvious weaknesses I see in runners and joggers are:

  1. Bouncing up and down too much
  2. Over striding
  3. Not using their hamstrings enough
  4. Landing on feet too heavily
  5. Breaking action on landing
  6. Not using arms
  7. Twist midriff side to side while running
  8. The head and upper body are bent forward
  9. Jogging slower than you could walk!

Most joggers and runners are biomechanically inefficient because their running technique is poor.

They don’t use the necessary body parts efficiently so when they are supposed to be enjoying themselves they are instead suffering pain.

Mike explains a few of the basics.

What is football speed?

Many coaches and trainers believe that speed is something you are born with rather than a skill you can develop. Genetics is a very important factor and does make a difference to the make up and shape of athletes and their capacity to become stronger and more powerful. But strength and power are only two components of speed. They will assist in how fast you can run in a straight line, but in a multi-directional sport like football, being able to tun fast in straight lines only, or having the capacity to lift very heavy weights in the gym, will not neoessarily transfer an to the football bitch in terms of speed.

Football speed is a skill and just like any other skill it can be taught, it can be developed, and it can be improved through a systematic and progressive training approach.

Coaches and parents of young footballers, although they have the best interests of their children at heart, are usually just copying training drills or methodologies that they hear about or see the professional teams doing and in many situations these are detrimentel to the football and physical development of the youngsters.

Many professional football clubs have used specialist sprint coaches, whose background is track and field, to improve the speed of the players, but the biomechanics of straight line sprinting is different to the multi-directionar speed required in football. Practicing straight line sprinting continuously will improve a players conditioning, but it has very little functional benefit for a multi-directional sport like football.


Because full-out sprinting in a football game only makes up about one per cent of the total movement in a 90 minute game! You may ask, is the ability to run fast over 50 metres not important? Of course it is, but let’s put it into perspective.

“Football is a multi-directional, explosive Sport where there is a change of movement every four seconds”.

As I’ve said a couple of times already, Football is a multi-directional, explosive sport where there is a change of movement every four seconds. There is little benefit in football players spending too much time on drills which develop maximum straight line velocity when they would benefit more from shorter multi¬directional explosive training using the ball.

So, focusing an football specific moverments and individual technical skills is far more beneficial to the development of the young footballer.


How do you develop football speed?

In most football clubs whether at youth, amateur or professional level, there is no effective teaching of speed. There are many different ways of approaching the structure of speed training, but even today with all the modern coaching methodologies and available knowledge and research, speed training is coached as part of fitness and in many cases it is counterproductive to the development of football speed.

No consideration is given to the relationship between functional movement, the neuromuscular system, the energy systems, the type of speed required for the sport, the effect of the training on young athletes, recovery periods and other influencing factors.

Age is one of the most important factors. Coaches must remember that children are not mini adults and cannot train in the same way.

Scientifically it has been proven that strength is determined by developing the muscular system. Endurance is deterrnined by the carcliovascular system.

Speed, meanwhile, is determined by the nervous system and coordination.

There are THREE KEY POINTS to remember when developing football speed:

  1. The optimal training period for developing speed
  2. Training the neuromuseular system, when and how can this be done?
  3. Training football-specific speed


So how can you run faster, more efficiently and avoid injury?

The nervous, muscular, skeletal and cardiovascular systems of our body are all involved when we run. They all combine to create the neuromuscular and neuromechanical systems. We can improve the biomechanical movements for runners by teaching the body and the mind the correct motor patterns.

When you want to change a movement in your body it needs to be stored in your muscle memory so you can repeat without thinking, particularly when you are tired. When you perform a motion the body sends messages to the brain in a certain sequence.

To create a permanent map in your brain and nervous system you need to repeat this motion many times until it is ingrained in your muscles and your brain.

  1. The primary objective of motor learning is to train the Movement rather than the Muscle.
  2. Once we have taught the movement then improving the athletic performance of a runner is imperative in the pursuit of excellence and in injury prevention.
  3. The neuromuscular system then has to be stimulated to recruit and contract motor units simultaneously and to increase the strength of the contraction.

Did you know?

  • 65% of footballers over the age of 12 are slower turning on one side than the on the other, by up to o,85 of a second.
  • Many young footballers can improve their speed and quickness just by correcting their running biomechanics.
  • Reactive speed can be improved by up to 3o% with the correct training in just four weeks.
  • If youngsters acquire the basic movement skills by the age of 13 then they will very rarely make professional footballers.

Mike has also made a DVD called ‘How to coach soccer speed’

Mike will be running a workshop ‘Multi-directional speed for all sports’ in Dublin on Saturday December 7 2013 –

Venue: NDSL Academy (Oscar Traynor Road) D17

Tickets: €25

As part of the Coach Diary’s Youth Development workshops which are supported by Fingal County Council and Dublin City Sports Network.

See Mike’s website here The Running School



I always like to hear your opinions. Please comment below or email me If, you don’t have anything to add then please forward this on to a friend. Thanks for reading. I’m also on twitter @Coachdiary