Cristiano Ronaldo Will Not Run Sub 10s 100m

>> July 25, 2013

How long does it takes to turn a senior 10.20s sprinter a sub 10s sprinter? 1 year? 3 years? apparently it takes years but it's depend on various alterable factors.

Cristiano Ronldo during a research/sprint test
by CastrolEdge/SmartSpeed
We have seen over the years that people are actually interested the argument regarding the soccer players' speed potential. You maybe specifically like talking about Lionel Messi, Wayne Rooney, Gareth Bale, Antonio Valencia, Theo Walcott, or Arjen Robben.

But it is the Cristino Ronaldo's sprint potential that has been heavily discussed. It was said that he has an average speed of 33km/h. FIFA has made it clear by saying 33.6 km/h. This is impressive for a soccer player.

The problem was that the people are relying too much on "snake oil analyses" like one of those videos. To be honest, nothing much we can do or have got from the video. In fact, it was just an example of failed comparison.

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Sometimes, people are even confused with the terms, speed, quickness, agility, and sprint performance. These qualities are no way similar.

It is even amusing when you say "ahhh that player would have reached higher top speed (km/h) if you give him a longer distance to sprint". Now that's a mistake. The problem is that when you give that player a longer distance to sprint (say 70m), that player would in fact decelerate  right after the half way.

Note that the 10.7 track sprinters would achieve maximal speed before even the 50m mark, then they would try maintains the high velocity speed to the end (70m in this case) but what happen is that they would be automatically decelerate at the same time.

In the sprint running, we are not only talk about running as fast as possible until the end. Not even limited to speed, endurance and technique aspects. There are just plenty of factors that affects the rectilinear event. Those factors are either highly alterable or slightly alterable, so all might have to be considered if you want your sprint time to be improved.

If I have to list, these are some of the factors affecting the 100m sprint:

Specific warm up (stretching etc)
Other preparation (massage etc)
Ronaldo performs sprinter's 'typical exercise'
- Post Activation Potentiation 
Ability to attain maximal velocity
Ability to maximize transition
Maintenance the velocity
Optimal mechanics and angles
Stride length
Stride frequency
Optimal knee flexion
Optimal knee extension
Touch down
Braking force
Running surface
...and more...

The list is no way limited to above since you are talking about sub10 performance. But unfortunately, the biggest contributor of sprint success, genetics is an unalterable factor as they are inherited from parents.  

Male sprinters who wish to run 11.0 or 10.8 in the 100m may way want to have a systematic training program but you don't really have to make things too difficult, by trying to do/consider all of them. Why? we are talking from a practical and realistic point of view. Instead, you have to start take into account one by one of those in the process of advancing your sprint time. It's difficult to change the whole things at a time anyway.

If one variable doesn't work well for you then you may want to start formulate strategy and develop the other aspects. But basically if you are seeking for better sprint performance you may want to training and maximize (or minimize) those factors.

Again, this is not a blind theory or a quick list. This is the process that you will have to go though. This provides you a framework on which to build a good speed program it requires a more comprehensive training consideration. All sprinters with greater success have gone, or are going through the processes (of maximizing their sprint potential, as listed above).

Athletes from field sports are typically "very good" in agility performance and quickness, but they probably not that great or only at "good" level for the linear sprinting performance, and vice versa for a track sprinter.

What is the reason beyond this? sports requirement.

The sprint component of field sports is not the same as track sprints. Depend on how do you start (starting method), soccer players (depend of levels) may accelerate for an average of 10-20m only (single sprint). They actually attains the maximal velocity at 15-30m when track sprinters are right in the middle of acceleration phase. Now you have a maintenance phase of 70m, and >90% of this is deceleration. A greater deceleration occurs if you don't train specifically for that.

Those data are derived from soccer matches analyses. So if those players are to sprint on running track (better surface for sprints) they would probably elicits faster times but keep in mind that they would posses similar sprint capacity.

But this point right here is important. It is one of the crucial components that must be considered (to be improved) when you want to achieve faster sprint results.

Watch the following video to get a little bit more idea about both track sprints and field sprints. It features Cristiano Ronaldo and a Spanish sprinter (PB 10.14, 2008) "competing" in one important component of each sports.

Field sprint speed is different, as said above. It is typically performed repeatedly. You may want to talk about repeated sprint ability, another quality that requires specific training. Also, the movement is often occur in combination with other type of movements (multi-direction). In addition, movement is always initiated with different methods of start (standing, jogging, running, and different 'sitting' positions...). These are just a few examples, that distinguish both types of sprint speed.

Hence, one most important reason why elite soccer players cannot compete with track sprinters is because they train the speed component differently, with different goals (due to different sports requirement).

Anyway, don't take it seriously about comparing between Ronaldo and Usain Bolt at 100m sprint. He is even far from matching Asafa Powell, Justin Gatlin, Tyson Gay, Maurice Greene, Carl Lewis, Frank Fredericks, and Kim Collins. He is not even close to thousands of 10.0, 10.1, 10.2, 10.3, 10.4, 10.5... sprinters. In fact, he will be blown out by dozens of top female sprinters out there.

Cristiano Ronaldo (at this age) for sub10 even sub10.50 seconds of the 100m is probably more like a fantasy.

But there is no doubt at all that he is one of the most valuable soccer players of all-time. 

Update: Nevertheless, FIFA has announced an interesting lists on player's speed, and listed in the following order (published by Eurosport.UK):

1. Antonio Valencia (Manchester United) – 35.1 km/h
2. Gareth Bale (Real Madrid) – 34.7 km/h.
3. Aaron Lennon (Tottenham) – 33.8 km/h
4. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) – 33.6 km/h
5. Theo Walcott (Arsenal) – 32.7 km/h
6. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) – 32.5 km/h
7. Wayne Rooney (Manchester United) – 31.2 km/h
8. Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich) – 30.7 km/h
9. Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich) – 30.4 km/h
10. Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal) – 30.1 km/h

Read earlier article: "How Fast Can Cristiano Ronaldo Run in the 100m?"

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