October 23, 2014

RESEARCH: New Test of Speed, Agility, Fitness and Skill

One of the most difficult aspects of working with a young group (12-18 year olds) is that you don’t necessarily get as much time with them as you might want. There are so many things we want to look at, test, research and progress. But when you only get 60 minutes, twice a week, there just isn’t enough time. In the past we have spent an entire week testing speed, agility and fitness. We have looked for ways over the past few years to streamline our testing processes so that we can spend more time teaching, coaching and training and less time testing. One example of this is the CAP Soccer Specific Interval Test. We created this test to mimic the demands of the game (changes of direction, speed, heart rate levels and recovery). When we compared this test to other speed, agility, power and endurance tests we found that it significantly correlated with all other tests, where as the more aerobic beep test only correlated well with other aerobic tests. This was exactly what we wanted to find…One test that could be done to assess the fitness level of the player (speed, agility, endurance, recovery, etc.).

But while this is a great test of “fitness” and has been accepted and used in many college and club training programs, we are now looking at a test of speed/agility. The test pictured below is what we are working on now. Last week we ran 200 players through this test and will share our findings in weeks to come.  This test combines 20 yd dash, 20 yd shuttle or pro-agility run, Illinois shuttle and repeated sprint and agility assessments into a 22-30 second test. The one draw back is that you need a timing system like the Fusion Sport, Smartspeed system that can time this test with various splits. Here is a diagram of the test.

Here is a video of the test being run at full speed, and then again with a ball. Notice we are timing at 5 key intervals with this test:

  1. first 20 yd dash (acceleration)
  2. followed by a 20 yd shuttle (change of direction)
  3. followed by a modified Illinois agility drill (weaving agility)
  4. and then another 20 yd dash (repeatability of sprint speed)
  5. and finally another 20 yd shuttle (quickness and agility in a fatigued state)

We had one of our fittest players score almost identically on both sets of 20 yd dashes and 20 yd shuttles as well as set the overall highest score on the test. This gave us some reassurance that we might be on to something with this test. Click over to our site for the video at SoccerFITAcademy.com:

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