If you’re not assessing, you’re guessing
Why do we need to assess and performance test?
1) It can gives you a baseline of where you are as an athlete. 2) It helps you and the strength and conditioning coach (S&C) identify your strengths and weaknesses. 3) It helps your S&C individualize the program. The testing data can be used to then look at your different performance qualities, and where you are most strongest and weakest, you can train those qualities. Whether you can clearly see a lacking area, and something that you want to pick up and improve on or an area where you are most strong and you want to either continue or potentially balance out between your strengths and your weaknesses.
Choosing the right tests/assessments
It’s important to match testing and assessing to the an athlete’s level (beginner versus advanced). There’s no point doing advanced assessments or tests for a beginner athlete, as the results will probably be poor, and it won’t really give you a very good reflection of where they are as an athlete right now. Where as as you choose the right assess and test you’ll be able to get really good information. Vice versa is true with an advanced athlete. If you give them too simple assessments and they crush all those, you’re not really trying to find where the weak links are for that athlete, and it’s going to be really hard to make them better.
It’s important to test and assess multiple qualities to get a complete picture of the athlete. A good place to start is with mobility and movement quality. Using the joint by joint approach, making sure all joints are moving through full range of motion, and then applying that range of motion to movement standards to make sure that you as an athlete can competently complete fundamental movement patterns. If your mobility and movement quality allows you then you can test the capacity of your structure. Simply put, if you can move well without pain, and no restrictions, then you need to test where you are at. Such tests may include;
- Lower body strength exercises – squat, deadlift and split squat.
- Upper body strength exercises – bench press and pull up.
- Core strength exercises – farmer carry and Turkish get up.
- Power – vertical jump, long jump, lateral jump, olympic lifts.
- Speed – 10,20,30 or 40m meter sprint.
- Agility – T agility test, Pro agility, AFL agility.
- Anaerobic capacity – 30 on, 30 off, sled, rower, bike, run.
- Aerobic capacity – Yo-yo, beep test, 2km time trial.
Once you’ve completed these tests and assessments you can see what is highlight your strengths, and identify where you need some work. From here you can now set some goals, you can look at what you need to work on, and where you want to be. From your goals you can then set certain training into place and create an action plan (the steps that you’re going take to achieve that goal). With the testing data, your S&C coach can now write you a very individualized program that not only is going to help you improve your athleticism, but it’s also working towards your goals.
Once you’ve got your program it’s up to you to get the work done. Over X amount of time training you then need to re-test, then rinse and repeat – Get your baseline (testing), put a program in place, and then re-test. The idea of the re-testing is to 1) hold you accountable as an athlete, to the goals that you want to achieve and 2) hold accountable the S&C coach to whether their program is working or not. Overtime you should be able to see your self become a better athlete.