Strength Performance Network

Testing elements of physical fitness for athletes is very important. Most of us would agree on that. Why test? To gain baseline information on aspects of fitness functioning. However, prior to testing, it's important for the clinician to try and define what is "sports-fitness" for the athlete(s) one is testing. This is vital and often a point of misdirection. Without understanding the dynamics of "performance fitness" for an athlete, just randomly testing weight-lifting abilities or 40-yard times really provides meaningless information other than to compare like athletes using the same test. Most sports combines are good examples of this. Yes, we have information, in some cases a lot of information, but how much of it is GOOD information. So, again, I say, how do you define "sports-fitness" for the athlete(s) your working with? If fitness involves power-cleaning as part of the sport, then by all means, test this, but if the sport does not involve weight-lifting realize that the results you get probably don't have much carry-over to the actual sport. Realize, too, that once the word "TEST" is thrown out there other dynamics come-in to play. Most have to do with some athletes doing anything to be the best. This comes about as athletes using terrible form just to accomplish a lift or trying to run faster than the speed they train with. Ok, but this can be a trap, too, for injuries. If testing technical lifts, then make correct form a part of the test. Not just moving a load from point A to point B. If testing speed, ensure that athletes are thoroughly warmed-up prior to running. There's much more to testing than rolling out a test.

1. Why am I testing?
2. What is sports-fitness for the athlete(s)?
3. How does the sports-fitness relate to what I'm testing?
4. How can I ensure validity and reliability of testing?
5. What do I do with the results of testing?

Lastly, some of your best athletes just won't test well. It's not wise to assume that any fitness test will pick out superb athletes. However, the better constructed the test, perhaps, the better relationship between testing and competition performance.

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