How to be the fastest on the pitch: the secret of Messi, Salah and Benzema

On average, footballers travel a distance of 10 kilometers during a match. Speed ​​will not make a team win, but it is certainly a factor that contributes to victory and is becoming increasingly important.

Today’s football is characterized by its high intensity, which requires outstanding physical abilities from the players. For this reason, most coaches pay special attention to exercises related to the development of speed. They also resort to the use of certain technologies such as speedometers – measurement systems that give precise data on the speed at which the ball runs or the force of a shot on goal – and to tests that allow assessing the performance of each player.

This is the case of the Sprint Bangsbo Test, which provides information on the player’s ability to repeat races at maximum speed and their fatigue index. Another example is the Conconi Test, which measures aerobic performance through variations in heart rate.

Constant work

Although innate physical qualities can be used to make subtle differences, most elements related to speed can be improved through training.

The usual routines of the great soccer teams are based on a battery of exercises that include explosive strength work, rhythm change exercises or to work on changes of direction and direction or braking and starting.

The speed in the field depends on the physical aspects and also the cognitive ones. It is what is known as ‘speedfulness’

Without forgetting that speed is not an individual matter. It is essential to train team speed to develop a harmonious game in which not only individual actions can be executed quickly, but also all coordinated play that involves several players, such as passes, defensive actions or off-the-ball tracking. .

Now, when it comes to speed, it’s not just about running fast. There is also speed in decision-making –measures how long it takes for a player to react to a stimulus that occurs on the field– and the so-called speed of resistance; that is, the ability to keep moving at maximum speed. That is, speed of body and mind, all at the same time.

The Carbitex Speedframe structure in the sole is made of lightweight carbon fiber and provides greater speed in the game

The Carbitex Speedframe structure in the sole is made of lightweight carbon fiber and provides greater speed in the game


Discovering ‘speedfulness’

In this symbiosis there is an actor that has been acquiring greater prominence: sports shoes. Today’s footballers demand that their boots have a perfect fit to the foot, that they be light and that they also stimulate their physical and mental speed. An example of this are the Adidas X Speedflow that “improve instantaneous speed, provide radical agility and develop the player’s instinct, with the goal that the player can achieve a true state of mental ‘flow’,” explains Ben Herath, vice president of design at adidas Football.

Precisely, the designers of the brand have conceived this new boot with the intention of looking beyond the physical, understanding that the top level of fast performance is also a true state of mind. It is what the brand calls psychology of speedfulness.

Players like Messi, Salah or Benzema have opted for the X Speedflow, boots designed by adidas to guarantee maximum speed on the pitch.

Everything about the X Speedflow is designed to achieve this goal, from the wrap-around lattice structure, which connects the player to the boot providing lockdown and stability in all directions, to the Carbitex Speedframe outsole, which allows for an explosive boot. Hence, some of the players on the current scene have opted for these boots. The first was Lionel Messi during the Copa América, but Mohamed Salah, Lindsey Horan, Heung-Min Son, Karim Benzema or Vivianne Miedema have also surrendered to the adidas X Speedflow.

Players who add speed to their talent to stand out as some of the best footballers in the world. And it is that, on the pitch, the fastest player is not only the one who runs the most, but the one who is able to decide faster and use his speed at the most appropriate time and place.