Speed can mean a lot of different things on a football pitch. That's why, in this article, we'll explain how the Speed metric was computed and what relevance it has to scouting players.

Basic definition

Speed: Captures the average speed and acceleration capabilities of a player.

In order to calculate the speed of a player, we go through the following steps:

  1. We identify all sequences of consecutive events for a player. For example making a pass, receiving it back, and making a subsequent dribble.

  2. Using the data from consecutive events, we compute the displacement and time between these events. Based on time and displacement we subsequently compute the speed achieved by a player for every sequence of consecutive events.

  3. If a player has enough data points, we compute someone’s raw speed value (per 90 minutes) by fitting a model to the data to find the ‘speed value’ that is most fitting to someone’s performance.

  4. Next, we aggregate the raw speed value into a speed benchmark score by aggregating a player’s data over the last two years. From there, it is then calculated and benchmarked against other players in the same league and position.

  5. A benchmarked score of one to five is the end result of the analysis in terms of calculating the speed. If the player scores five, that means they have a better score than 80% of players in the league and position - therefore, sitting in the top 20%.

Following this methodology, the metric essentially calculates the average speed of a player in relation to others in similar positions on a per 90 minute basis. From a scouting perspective, looking at a player's speed relative to other players in the same position and league makes it an effective process. Another key element to know is that the Speed metric includes a two-year timeframe to ensure that most players have a high enough sample size of minutes - if they have played less than 450 minutes, a warning note will appear.

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