Why do we Assess Athletes?

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Today, I will be giving a guest lecture at Bridgewater State for students in a fitness testing/evaluation lab.

I remember taking the class in college but I don’t remember a lot of what I learned. There was a lot of EKG, bike erg, and other tests that I have not seen since I graduated.

Since most of the students in this class are going to be looking to train or treat people, I feel as though going over assessments will be valuable to them. It is something that I had to learn on my own and it would be helpful for them to get some guidance.

One of the main things to discuss will be why to even do an assessment in the first place.

The summary answer is that a program based on an assessment is going to create the best possible program. That does assume that the assessment used is designed in that way.

The assessment we use at Evolution is very basic. It gives us very specific information about which exercises the athletes should or should not be doing and then we gather baseline testing info. That is all I need it for and it serves its purpose well.

The TPI assessment we use for golfers is a little bit more specific and in depth. This just creates more info about that golfer.

So why do really bother with assessments?

1. Individual Needs

Not all athletes are the same. How do we know what athlete A needs vs. athlete B? Well, an assessment should show that.

Using the golf example, it would be easy to just blindly say all golfers need more hip mobility. That ignores the individual golfer in front of you. Young kids and females are generally very mobile. They generally need more stability. I can make that guess but I don’t actually know until that athlete is in front of me.

You could sit there hammering on the hips when that isn’t even the issue. A good assessment will help find the root cause of what you see and then we can use the right strategy to address it.

2. Reduce Risk of Injury

Not all exercises are right for all people. Most people are not suited to press overhead, yet tons of people do. When an athlete’s performance is on my shoulders, I do everything I can to improve it safely.

Our screen at Evolution is used to find the following info:

  • Should the athlete overhead press, landmine press, or work on shoulder stability
  • Choosing a hip hinge pattern vs a hamstring curl pattern on the first program
  • What kind of squat we should start with
  • Which single leg exercise should we utilize

By following a proper assessment we can find the right answers to these scenarios pretty easily. Choosing the right exercises for the right athlete is essential for improving performance and reducing injury risk.

3. Progress Tracking

Athletes need to see before and after progress. How else will they know they are improving?

Whatever is tested early on can be re-tested to chart progress and make any necessary changes to the strategy. An assessment can also help in this regard. Our athlete assessments include vertical jump, 20 yd sprint, and pro agility testing. That way we can see how the athlete is doing in regards to power, speed, and quickness.

Constantly monitoring performance markers is best for the athlete’s performance.