As a football player, you know that speed is a crucial factor in your performance. Being able to run fast and move quickly can make all the difference on the field. But have you considered the importance of linear speed for football? Linear speed refers to the ability to run in a straight line, and it’s a key skill that can improve your game.

In this YouTube video, Coach Chris Barnard coaches some elite football players focusing on linear speed, and shares some simple drills and exercises that can help you improve this skill.

Why Linear Speed Matters for Football

Football is a game of explosive movements and quick changes in direction. While agility and lateral speed are important, linear speed can give you an edge over your opponents. When you can run faster in a straight line, you can outrun defenders, break away from the pack, and make game-changing plays.

Linear speed is also important for running backs and receivers, who need to be able to quickly accelerate and reach their top speed to get past defenders. And for linemen, being able to quickly get off the line of scrimmage and reach the quarterback or ball carrier is crucial.

How to Improve Your Linear Speed

Now that you understand why linear speed is important for football, let’s look at some of the drills and exercises that Chris recommends to improve this skill.

  1. Resisted Sprints

Using a resistance band or sled, you can add resistance to your sprints to help build strength and power. This can help you accelerate faster and reach your top speed more quickly.

  1. Plyometric Jumps

Jumping exercises like box jumps and hurdle jumps can help improve your explosiveness and power, which can translate to faster sprints and better linear speed.

  1. Hill Sprints

Sprinting up hills is a great way to build strength in your legs, which can help you run faster and more efficiently. Plus, the incline can help improve your running form and technique.

  1. Overspeed Training

Using a bungee cord or other device to help you run faster than your natural top speed can help improve your stride length and frequency. This can help you run faster and more efficiently in a straight line.

  1. Sprint Technique Drills

Working on your sprint technique can help you run more efficiently and with better form, which can help you maintain your top speed for longer periods of time. Drills like A-skips, B-skips, and high knees can help improve your technique and form.

By incorporating these drills and exercises into your training routine, you can improve your linear speed and become a more effective football player.


If you’re looking to improve your football game, focusing on your linear speed can give you a competitive edge. By incorporating exercises like resisted sprints, plyometric jumps, and hill sprints into your training routine, you can build strength and power that will help you run faster in a straight line.

But improving your linear speed isn’t just about adding more drills to your routine. It’s also important to work on your sprint technique to improve your form and efficiency. And using overspeed training can help you increase your stride length and frequency, which can translate to faster sprints on the field.

By understanding the importance of linear speed for football and focusing on improving this skill, you can become a more effective player and make game winning plays. So next time you hit the field, remember to work on your linear speed and take your game to the next level.

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