3. Be clever with your test selection and sequence
To gain the greatest insight into an athlete’s maximum performance capabilities in relation to their sport, tests must emulate the physiological systems and biomechanical movements used (Haff & Triplett 2015).
For example, aerobic capacity is an essential fitness component in soccer (Bangsbo, 1994). One potential test may measure a soccer player’s endurance by recording the time taken to run a certain distance (e.g. 5-mile run). Although this may measure a soccer player’s aerobic capacity, soccer is also an intermittent sport. A test such as the Yo-Yo intermittent recovery test would be a better option for measuring the aerobic capacity of a soccer player as it imitates short intensive, intermittent runs followed by short recovery periods (Haff & Triplett 2015).
When conducting numerous different tests during a testing session, the test sequence must be carefully organized. Tests should be sequenced correctly so a test will not affect performance on a subsequent test in the test battery (Matuszak et al. 2003).
Adequate rest times must be given between trials and tests to allow the athlete to recover fully (Matuszak et al. 2003). A test that taxes the phosphagen system such as straight-line sprint over 10 meters requires 3 to 5 minutes for recovery whereas a test that taxes the anaerobic glycolytic system such as anaerobic threshold testing will require a lot more recovery time (Haff & Triplett 2015). As such, it may be appropriate to order the latter towards the end of a testing battery.
A testing battery should start with non-fatiguing tests such as anthropometric measurements followed by power, speed, strength, muscle endurance and finishing with aerobic activities (Haff & Triplett 2015). Athletes must know the testing procedure and it is important to educate them on the purpose of the testing and each test too. Therefore, running a familiarisation session beforehand or a training curriculum that includes exercises similar to each test can be of great benefit for enhancing reliability and minimizing intrasubject variability.