What is the top speed metric and why is it useful for performance
What does it measure?
The top speed metric measures players top speed they have achieved in a training or match session. To record a top speed this must be maintained for at least half a second.
How can you use top speed to improve performance?
Having a fast top speed is an important metric for all playing positions throughout a match. This includes players being able to compete against the other team when running to gain possession of the ball. Having a fast top speed is also important for players agility and reaction time. Having a high top speed is also important for creating a bigger gap between the opponent to allow more time for decision making on the pitch.
Top speed is also a useful metric for monitoring players training load. For example, if a player has a consistent top speed throughout the season and then has a big increase of top speed this may indicate they are at risk of burn out and may show a drop in speed, distance and performance in the following training session. This evidence of a high peak in top speed could also put players at risk of injury. It is therefore important to monitor players sprints across matches and training to ensure players are consistently training and achieving near peak top speeds. Studies have found that have a consistent top speed across matches and training will lower the risk of hamstring injures in players (Buckthorpe, 2019). We will look further into injury prevention in athletes in our upcoming blog posts.
There are several methods to improve your top speed that you can implement easily into your training sessions. These include sprint training over short distances to build up your speed ability. Getting players to perform plyometric training exercises too is also useful for improving top speed. Plyometric exercises are fast and explosive movements that are aimed to develop power in your muscles by exerting force in as quick as time as they can. This includes exercises such as tuck jumps, box jumps, burpees and lunge jumps.
What should players be aiming for?
Top speed is dependent on several factors such as an athletes age, gender and level of play. Below are some benchmarks for different categories.
Elite Male Footballer - 32-33.9 km/h
Elite Female Footballer - 27.3-28.7 km/h
Playerdata Average- Coming soon
Del Coso J, Brito de Souza D, Moreno-Perez V, et al. Influence of Players' Maximum Running Speed on the Team's Ranking Position at the End of the Spanish LaLiga. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Nov 27;17:8815