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Enhancing the Evaluation and Interpretation of Fitness Testing Data Within Youth Athletes

Till, Kevin, PhD1,2,3; Morris, Rhys, MSc1; Emmonds, Stacey, PhD1; Jones, Ben, PhD1,2,3,4; Cobley, Stephen, PhD5

Strength & Conditioning Journal: October 2018 - Volume 40 - Issue 5 - p 24–33
doi: 10.1519/SSC.0000000000000414
Article

ABSTRACT FITNESS TESTING IS COMMON PRACTICE WITHIN YOUTH ATHLETES. HOWEVER, THE INTERPRETATION OF FITNESS DATA OFTEN OCCURS WITHIN CHRONOLOGICAL ANNUAL-AGE CATEGORIES, RESULTING IN ATHLETES BEING (DIS)ADVANTAGED DUE TO AGE OR MATURITY DISCREPANCIES. INSTEAD, EVALUATING FITNESS PERFORMANCE AGAINST ROLLING AVERAGES MAY BE MORE APPROPRIATE. THIS ARTICLE PRESENTS A NOVEL METHOD FOR ANALYZING FITNESS TESTING DATA IN YOUTH ATHLETES USING Z-SCORES ACCORDING TO ROLLING AVERAGES FOR BOTH CHRONOLOGICAL AGE AND MATURITY STATUS. THIS ANALYSIS TECHNIQUE ALLOWS FOR THE DUAL ABILITY TO INTERPRET YOUTH FITNESS PERFORMANCE ACCORDING TO AGE AND MATURATION, ENHANCING ACCURACY OF DATA INTERPRETATION FOR TALENT IDENTIFICATION, DEVELOPMENT, AND STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING PROGRAMMING.

1Institute for Sport, Physical Activity and Leisure, Leeds Beckett University, Leeds, United Kingdom;

2Leeds Rhinos RLFC, Leeds, United Kingdom;

3Yorkshire Carnegie RUFC, Leeds, United Kingdom;

4Rugby Football League, Leeds, United Kingdom; and

5Exercise & Sport Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia

Address correspondence to Dr. Kevin Till, K.Till@leedsbeckett.ac.uk.

Conflicts of Interest and Source of Funding: The authors report no conflicts of interest and no source of funding.

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Kevin Till is a Professor in Sports Coaching at Leeds Beckett University .

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Rhys Morris is a Graduate Teaching Assistant in Sports Coaching at Leeds Beckett University.

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Stacey Emmonds is a Senior Lecturer in Sports Coaching at Leeds Beckett University.

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Ben Jones is a Professor in Sport and Exercise Physiology at Leeds Beckett University.

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Stephen Cobley is a Senior Lecturer in Exercise and Sport Science at The University of Sydney.

© 2018 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association