How to build a sports needs analysis
When creating a sport needs analysis, the athlete should be seen as the glue that provides the context and background to any decisions and findings. Crook outlined seven pillars coaches should follow to build a comprehensive sport needs analysis.
Assess: background, context, social environment, training history, and previous medical/physiotherapy.
“Social factors are a key component in providing context to an athlete’s background … and technical competency frameworks (inventory of anticipated knowledge, skills and abilities) such as an OHS Assessment can be used to gather this critical information. Also, screening tools are subjective but they can be utilised for detecting underlying musculoskeletal limitations that might predispose an athlete to injury,” said Crooks.
Assess: physiological, biomechanical, and physical.
Crooks explained: “during this stage, coaches should gauge aerobic and lactic capacity required, kinetics and movement demands, movement type, duration, intensity, and frequency, movement patterns and categorisation, and the desired strength, power, and speed of the sport.”
Assess: relationship to sports activity, mode of onset, mechanism, and injury classification.
“Injury risk is arguably the most important, yet overlooked pillar. If not already in place, practitioners should record injury data according to the classification systems of: Sport Medicine Diagnostic Coding System (SMDCS) & Orchard Sports Injury & Illness Classification System (OSIICS). Also, they should be cautious about claims surrounding ‘injury prediction’ and ‘injury prevention’,” mentioned Crooks.
Assess: Behaviours, traits, and values.
Crooks suggested: “practitioners spend a large amount of time, effort, and energy profiling an athlete’s physical qualities. Less can be said for an athlete’s psychological profile. Subjective archetyping (pattern of behaviour) may be a useful tool for better understanding individual preferences and communication styles. It is important to note that any psychometric evaluation/interventions should come from a qualified sports psychologist.”
Assess: Testing practices and reliability.
“Monitoring practices are vital for understanding baselines, ranking athletes, evaluating training impact, informing rehabilitation and programming,” explained Crooks.
Performance testing (fitness testing) should follow a logical sequence and should be standardised to ensure the reliability of results.
Assess: Rationale and justification for exercise selection and implementation.
“Use the sport and athlete context derived from the other pillars to objectively assess your plan for your athletes, and use it as a reflection tool in the future,” said Crooks.
Assess: calendar, key fixtures, and travel.
“Extended competition seasons, multiple training goals, concurrent training, time constraints, and impact of physical stress from the sport should all be assessed during an annual plan. Annual plans extend far beyond just the sport and its competition, it should also consider an athlete’s personal calendar,” outlined Crooks.