My study blog

Objective testing

Posted by lednum on September 3, 2006

 Objective tests are factual or based on fact

All fitness tests and knowledge of results tests are objective e.g beep test, standing long jump, margaria stair test and shot putt.

What are the requirements of a test?

In constructing tests it is important to make sure that they really measure the factors required to be tested, and are thus objective rather than subjective. In doing so all tests should therefore be specific (designed to assess an athlete’s fitness for the activity in question), valid (test what they purpose to test), reliable (capable of consistent repetition) and objective (produce a consistent result irrespective of the tester).

In conducting tests the following points should be considered:

  • Each test should measure ONE factor only
  • The test should not require any technical competence on the part of the athlete (unless it is being used to assess technique)
  • Care should be taken to make sure that the athlete understands exactly what is required of him/her, what is being measured and why
  • The test procedure should be strictly standardised in terms of administration, organisation and environmental conditions

What are the benefits of testing?

The results from tests can be used to:

  • predict future performance
  • indicate weaknesses
  • measure improvement
  • enable the coach to assess the success of his training program
  • place the athlete in appropriate training group
  • motivate the athlete

Tests additionally break up, and add variety to, the training program. They can be used to satisfy the athlete’s competitive urge out of season. Since they demand maximum effort of the athlete, they are useful at times as a training unit in their own right.

What factors may influence test results ?

The following factors may have an impact on the results of a test (test reliability):

  • The ambient temperature, noise level and humidity
  • The amount of sleep the athlete had prior to testing
  • The athlete’s emotional state
  • Medication the athlete may be taking
  • The time of day
  • The athlete’s caffeine intake
  • The time since the athlete’s last meal
  • The test environment – surface (track, grass, road, gym)
  • The athlete’s prior test knowledge/experience
  • Accuracy of measurements (times, distances etc.)
  • Is the athlete actually applying maximum effort in maximal tests
  • Inappropriate warm up
  • People present
  • The personality, knowledge and skill of the tester

Why record information?

For the coach it is important to monitor the program of work, so as to maintain progression in terms of the volume of work and its intensity. Both coach and athlete must keep their own training records. A training diary can give an enormous amount of information about what has happened in the past and how training has gone in the past. When planning future training cycles, information of this kind is absolutely invaluable.

What should be recorded?

The information to be recorded falls into two broad categories: –

  • The day-to-day information from training, e.g.
    • State of the athlete (health, composure)
    • Physiological data (body weight, resting heart rate, etc.)
    • The training unit (speed, speed endurance, strength, technique)
    • The training load (the number of miles, the number of sets and repetitions, the number of attempts)
    • The training intensity (kilograms, percentage of maximum, percentage of VO2)
    • The prevailing conditions (wet, windy, hot etc.)
    • The response to training (the assignments completed, the resultant heart rate recovery, felt tired, etc.)
  • Information that measures status. This can take the form of a test. If the test is repeated throughout the program, it can then be used as a measure of progress within the training discipline. Examples of such tests are:
    • Time trials – speed, speed endurance, endurance
    • Muscular endurance – chins, push ups, dips
    • Strength maximum – single repetitions, maximum repetitions
    • Explosive strength – power bounding, vertical jump, overhead shot putt
    • Mobility – objective measurements of the range of movement
    • Event specific

Competition evaluation

Following competition it is important that the coach and athlete get together as soon as possible in order to evaluate the athlete’s performance. Elements to be considered are pre race preparations, focus and performance plans and achievement of these plans. An evaluation form is useful to help the athlete and coach conduct this review.

Maximal Tests

Maximal means the athlete works at maximum effort or tested to exhaustion.

Example of maximal anaerobic tests are:

  • 30m sprint
  • Wingate 30 second cycle ergometer test

Example of maximal aerobic tests are:

  • Multistage Fitness Test
  • Cooper Test

Disadvantages of maximal tests are:

  • difficulty in ensuring the subject is exerting maximum effort
  • possible dangers of over exertion and injury
  • dependent on the athlete’s level of arousal

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