Medicine ball Throws and the Secret SJSU Tables

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I liked the post by Marc Mangiacotti on testing as I think objective evaluation is useful. Although I didn’t agree with all of his conclusions, I do think his battery of tests is useful and I employ 90% of the same tests. What concerns me is that the LSU Table is legendary and not historically clear to many of the coaches using them like holy scripture. Without knowing the details and the origins of how the formulas work, I find that we are loosing the purpose and relationships of what is going on. Without making the same mistakes as the FMS and data analysis, we need to understand that the table is not something you can just insert into any program. In the 1980s LSU was really ahead of the game, but with Arkansas and UTEP winning titles (along with UCLA and others), shouldn’t we have a broader scope of view of what we are testing?

I have 4 hierarchies of test transfer for sprinters. The first is Directathletics.com or other meet results webpages. Sounds obvious but you got to do it in a meet as even 30m fly tests and 150m runs are just time trials in a vacuum. I have seen 2.7 splits in a 20 for people that never broke 11 seconds. Second are the field tests in sprints such as those proposed by LSU and other sprint resources. Third are the Jump tests proposed by Bosco and Komi. I find that the medball throws correlate well, but does anyone think Asafa or Usain are employing those tests or even score off the charts? How many great starters have never thrown a medball? The throws are good training tools but not great indicators of abilities like the jumps and even olympic lifts. Also many times good performances are back dominant and not leg dominant, so the ability to unfold the body in a start is very specific and can be cloudy to see what the causation is.

What is important to me is using whatever program you use and see trends and patterns. One of the most successful 400m programs is done with a stopwatch and pen, so the key is having the athlete do what is expected based on a repeatable system. I love the LSU tables but I don’t try to test well I just try to improve and hope the battery of tests shows what is going on. I do believe Optosource is going to be a way to get more stiffness and elastic testing so coaches can get the data behind the data. Instead of doing a standing triple for distance, you can get left and right differences, air time, ground contact time, and even fuse it with inshoe pressure mapping for foot mechanics. The key is not to add more tests, but to get more from one’s testing system.

Carl Valle

Carl Valle

Track & Field Coach
Carl is an expert coach who has produced champions in swimming, track and numerous other sports. He is one of the foremost experts in the fields of nutrition and restoration.
Carl Valle

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