With the JO season winding down people are thinking about TOPS. I found these articles on Vern Gambetta’s Functional Path Training Blog.
Testing – A Perspective
It is important to remember that testing is the highest form of training stress outside of the actual Competition. Testing is important to determine the individual athlete’s athletic qualities relative to the demands of their position/event and the sport. I am not interested in comparing an athlete against some arbitrary norms, but I am interested in intra individual comparison, comparing them against themselves. We must be careful not to draw too many conclusions from a one off series of tests. Only after several tests are conducted periodically throughout the training year can an in depth profile of each athlete be determined. In most instances the test will indicate deficiencies that were already identified through observation of training and game performance. They will serve to further highlight those deficiencies and provide direction to address those deficiencies in training. The tests give specific numbers to compare for improvement and motivation, but remember the ultimate test is the competition itself.
Thoughts on Testing
When you are testing it is important to consider all of the following:
Know what you are looking for, there are periods of training where you should see marked improvement and other times when you should see stabilization or even slight regression on certain tests. Remember the tests should reflect the training.
Know what you are going to do when you find it. If you see regression then what adjustments will you make, conversely if you see unexpected improvement what will you do?
Regular monitoring is necessary to determine strength and weaknesses and progress of training. The goal in training is minimize weaknesses and to maximize training, testing can be a valuable guide to this process.
Testing helps to individualize training. There is much individual variability in adaptive responses to various training stimuli. Two individuals could have the opposite response to the same training session or training cycle. Testing can identify how each individual will respond and allow training adjustments to be made accordingly.
Testing will give constant feedback to the athletes and coaches as to the effects of training. Do not wait until competition to ascertain training response, use testing to be proactive. Testing must dovetail into training. It is an integral part of the whole training spectrum.
Do not use testing to:
Select a team; team selection should be based on results in the competitive arena of the actual sport. Tests can verify what you see or do not see in the competitive arena, but they should not be the sole criteria for team selection.
Predict performance. However it can give a statutes report as to progress toward a goal. Actual competition in the game, match or meet performance is dependent on so much more than the physical capacities identified through testing.