There are a number of athlete performance-based tests out there designed to take your athlete(s) to the max. Which ones should ‘you’ do?
Keep reading and I’ll explain the benefits of just some of these, the one’s I conduct and the do’s and don’ts in performance testing.
From a piece of equipment that costs £3.5k + for a single test, to a humble broomstick that you can conduct several, how much do you need to spend and what tests you need to conduct to gain the most reliable quantifiable data from your athlete(s)?
In this blog, my aim is to highlight some of the performance tests that I would recommend are conducted to produce you your essential data and which also tests you can gain this essential data from by changing the testing procedure.
The S&C Coach Tests
I have always started simple. For example, when testing my athlete(s) and clients, looking at ROM, mobility, my Earn the Right to Lift procedure (1st stages of Olympic lifting) I use a humble broomstick. I stick to what I know, I am not a stand alone expert in biomechanics therefore I do not invest my money and time in buying and interpreting the data from the use of goniometers. I focus my attentions on the movement patterns, balance and efficiency when conducting these simple tests.
When testing my athlete(s):
It is very easy for me to resemble a ‘kid in a sweet shop’ – I know there are loads of “toys” out there that look amazing, my facility would look amazing with them in here and the athlete(s) would certainly get the ‘WOW’ factor. But are they counter-intuitive? More times than not, yes they are. For these main reasons:
But more importantly:
I test my athlete(s) at times that I feel are key for me and them alike to gain results. These times are: Off-season (pre-season), beginning of the season, mid-season and the end of season. These quantifiable results, I find, are of huge benefit to me as they are the most effective feedback tool that I have at my disposal. The results from your performance tests can be used to:
Without listing the many factors that may inhibit the athlete(s) test day such as: external stress, lack of sleep/rest, low hydration levels or even the testing surface itself. I believe constant testing throughout the season will achieve reliable data.
My athlete(s) range from juniors to senior M/F Pro Age Groups. I therefore have to conduct tests and procedures that best fit my testing audience. For example, to measure anaerobic fitness I use the Multi Stage Fitness Test for my junior teams who are at school ages. For my senior elite athletes, I use the Maximal Ramp Test on the Wattbike. There are multiple factors that influence my decision to conduct various test, all aimed at testing the same factors therefore my decision is made when I have answered my own filter of questions:
What is the:
Below I have summarised the tests I conduct. I have at least 2 choices (Plan A & B) for the Performance Tests. Plan A or B will be determined by the capabilities of my testing audience (age, sport, group size etc.).
I standby a great phrase from the guys at: CoachHeroic, USA. “We need to stress to progress, not test to stress”. I 100% agree with this statement. I believe that come test day, the athlete(s) are in for some hard work but, they should always be safe.
Athlete(s) should never fall fowl of injury come test day and I believe it is the sole responsibility for the S&C Coach to make sure of this. I spoke earlier about the group size and capabilities determine my Performance Tests come test day. A scenario I’ll put forward linked to safety would be that I would never allow my junior athlete(s) to conduct a 1RM to determine Maximal Strength if I felt they have not learnt enough about the testing protocol, the lift involved and/or they were not experienced in the intensities on their body for that test.
Designing a systematic, progressive, and integrated sports performance programme can only be accomplished by developing an understanding of the athlete’s goals, needs, and abilities.
You're probably already going through some ideas in your head, right? Tell me how you are going to plan and what you’re going to include in your next Athlete Performance Test Day. I'd love to help out!