Updated: Aug 29, 2019
by Ryan Muñoz, B.S., M.S., C.S.C.S.
Now that we’ve outlined Long Term Athletic Development in our previous newsletters, we will focus on each of the team pillars of LTAD over the next handful of months. For this issue we will focus on pillar #8 - Practitioners should use relevant monitoring and assessment tools as part of long-term physical development strategies.
This pillar is relevant for coaches at any level, youth to professional. As coaches, we want our athletes to be healthy and to perform at their best! To ensure our athletes are improving and doing so in a safe manner, we must have a set of standardized assessment tools. Furthermore, we must use these tools in a consistent fashion. This starts with some sort of evaluation prior to training. For neophyte athletes, this may be a 20 minutes process, whereas for high school athletes, the evaluation process may be more invasive running 60-90 minutes. This initial evaluation, along with the athlete's health history, current season ( off season, in season, ect) write the training program.
Following an initial evaluation, coaches must have regularly planned assessments to evaluate their training programs. This can be something as simple as a vertical/broad jump test, 10 yard sprint, etc. Or, it can be as in depth as a full training combine with field tests specific to an athlete's sport. The key is to be consistent with testing. Vertical/ Broad jumps and 10 yard sprints are quick, easy tests to monitor an athlete's power, and they can be done bi-weekly or monthly during any training cycle. Full combines (40 yard dash, 5-10-5 shuttle, ¾ sprint, lane agility, etc) are usually reserved for the start of the off-season training program and again at the end of the off-season, prior to entering the season.
The reason for regularly testing athletes is simple, it serves as an evaluation for a training program. If numbers are not improving, there’s a reason. At that point, do we need to make sure the athlete is healthy. If they’re healthy and still not improving, it's time to evaluate our training methods and perhaps change the program. Bottom line is these measures must be taken to ensure our athletes are healthy and performing at their best!!! WHAT GETS MEASURED, GETS IMPROVED!
MAD does combines for all sports throughout the year. We’re regular participants at the NBA combine in Chicago, as well as smaller regional combines. We’ve also done testing for various soccer and basketball programs in the Bay Area. Most importantly we’ll be running a Football Combine at Saint Ignatius College Prep Sunday, January 27th from 9AM-12PM.