If one is getting slower, weaker, and less powerful, how do you know? Quantified Self and Gamification is the future and the solution.Without benchmarks and measurements we will get lost into more movement quality debates so people can do more safe exercises that do nothing except kill time. Testing power and speed is very humbling as sometimes things don’t work. Some team sports have very little time to work on general capacity work as practice dominates. The performance coach needs the athlete fresher to get more quality work and adding recovery isn’t always going work when hard practices dominate professional sports. This is why I like HRV and training load monitoring methods to show the team coach they are part of the training process, not just the tactical and strategy area. You can’t segregate field practice from strength and conditioning. Performance coaches wanting to keep their job just try work around things. Moneyball will not work for sports performance and medical side unless all three parts are cooperative. This will take a long time.
Speed Tests- I like standing acceleration for team sports because very few sports get into deep acceleration. You don’t need to teach three point starts you just make sure the athletes follow directions, another quality we need to work on. Eye contact is a dead characteristic of kids now and focus on showing with full body movements and pointing so they pay attention. If the athletes are too tired to sprint and you are worried about pulling hamstrings, fix your program. I like 20m tests with video and electronic timing.
Jump Tests- Focus on vertical jumps with weight vests. Some guys just playing street ball can jump 40 inches and make everyone look good. Add in a weight and start seeing the effects of training, not recruiting or drafting. Stiffness and elastic tests are also great for the slow guys that do well for 1 second but seem to get burnt on the field. Jumps are simple and require very little time and learning. If you can’t jump that’s a test, and the answer is rehab. Avoiding pain creates pain.
Strength Tests- Create uniformity with depth of the squat based on screens and leg and torso lengths. I am more interested in amount of work than weight. I am not interested in maximal strength, as Mastery Strength is a better term. Loads should be sport appropriate, as we don’t need freaks in table tennis. Video the lifts and broadcast on big flat screens. Athletes tend to focus on technique when they know it’s recorded and shared. Also score technique so guys are buying in through Gamification. Everyone knows who dominates Call of Duty tournaments, but people forget their sport testing numbers. Make it fun and people will buy into hard work. The lazy will buy in from fear.
Changing culture is the priority as every coach knows what to do but selling the program is getting harder and harder. Equipment and software such as Gymaware and Dartfish will be paving the road to gamification down the road as facilities become more connected through wireless technologies. Soon the video games will be live human beings, not sprites on a TV.