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Testing and Evaluation; Protocols and Use, Part 2

Bennett, Scott MEd, CSCS*D

Strength & Conditioning Journal: October 2008 - Volume 30 - Issue 5 - p 66-67
doi: 10.1519/SSC.0b013e318187e26f
OTHER FEATURES: College Coaches Corner


University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Trent Greener, CSCS, USAW, is the Head Strength Coach at the University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.

Allen Hedrick, CSCS*D, CP, is Coach Practitioner, is the Head Strength Coach at the National Strength and Conditioning Association, Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Jason Veltkamp, CSCS, USAW, is the Head Strength Coach at the University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky.



Scott Bennett, MEd, CSCS*D

Column Editor

Testing results provide clear results and provide feedback to use going forward. Athletes are tested for several beneficial reasons, including the providing of valuable information to the athletes, coaching staff, and the team as a whole. We use the testing period and the gathered information to evaluate program design, evaluate the effort and dedication put forth by each student athlete, give every student athlete a platform to showcase his or her hard work and dedication, allow for a unique setting that facilitates team building and cohesiveness, give everyone involved with that sport a summary and overview on the current state of the program, establish the conclusion of one training phase and the beginning of a new phase, and allow for the positive coaching of athletes.

Each performance coach uses a specific format for reporting results to the sport coaches, but typically these results are ranked and individual scores are entered in athlete's files. Testing results and performances usually are discussed during individual player meetings and goal-setting sessions that take place at the end of the year. Whatever areas are evaluated and tested, the performance coach must make sure that tests are specific to the sport and are able to provide valuable feedback to the athletes and program.

Trent Greener, CSCS, USAW

the Head Strength Coach at the University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.

We do not use testing to determine training intensities because we do not use a percentage system in selecting training resistances for our athletes. Instead, athlete's weight selection is based on his or her ability to complete the required number of repetitions.

For us, the most important reason for collecting test data from our athletes is to post them, both on individual and team record boards, because of the motivation these data provide for our athletes. How do I know these data are important to them? The athletes make it very clear to me that they take this very seriously and take pride in their testing results, because if I make a mistake in posting the data, they are very quick to let me know.

I use the test results to motivate the athletes because I compare the testing results of previous teams each time we test. The athletes know the expectation is that they improve our team testing results year to year. Of course, that does not always happen, but working towards that goal makes us better prepared physically for the demands of competition.

One thing that we do not do very frequently is adjust our training program based on testing results. Although that may sound odd at first, the goal of our training program is to improve performance, not testing results. I never adjust the training program as a way to improve our testing results, only as a way to improve performance. For example, we place great emphasis on jump squats and timed exercises during our power cycles over the summer. Both jump squats and timed exercises require that the athletes reduce the training load to achieve the speed of movement for which we are seeking. Although this protocol does not assist us in achieving big numbers in our squat and bench testing results, it does make us more explosive, and I will not eliminate this type of training as a way to generate better testing results. The most important test occurs each Saturday on the football field, not on test day in the weight room.

One thing that we have begun to do is to examine our testing results in vertical jump and squats, comparing testing results to class and position norms we have established. This process allows the strength staff to evaluate whether any deficits exists in fast speed or slow speed strength as evaluated by these two tests. If a deficit does exist, we will adjust the training program to put a greater emphasis on the development of either fast or slow speed strength.

Allen Hedrick, CSCS*D, CP

a Coach Practitioner and is the Head Strength Coach at the National Strength and Conditioning Association, Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Once all testing is completed for an individual athlete, we compile their results and create a profile for each player. Using the scores, we meet with each athlete and set short-term goals for the next training period. These goal sessions occur in January and April with the use of test scores from the previous July and March, respectively. Each profile book also contains picture chronicle representing each testing since arriving on campus. Our profile books are available to the athlete year round for viewing, self-evaluation, and comparison with those with whom they will compete for starting positions in the spring or in camp.

While setting goals for each player, we place emphasis on body composition and bodyweight. We put an emphasis on speed and finding the bodyweight/composition that gives an athlete the best chance to be successful on the field.

In addition to the numerical results established in our speed, strength, and anthropometric measures, we will use our preparticipation evaluation results to assign specific “X” needs work. Players are assigned points in each of the evaluation areas-shoulder stability, shoulder mobility, core stability, hip/posterior chain strength, and hip/ankle mobility. If an athlete is deemed deficient in one area, his program will include extra work to address those needs. Some players are not assigned to any “X” needs groups, whereas others are assigned to as many 3 or 4 groups. As a player progresses through his career, addressing and correcting deficiencies, he can be removed from a group.

Finally, scores from testing are used to determine training loads throughout the next training period. Athletes' 1RM for back squat, hang clean, and bench press are used in prescribing weekly load assignments for those exercises as well as variations of the 3.

Jason Veltkamp, CSCS, USAW

the Head Strength Coach at the University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky.



© 2008 National Strength and Conditioning Association