Performance Evaluation Tests
Performance is an assessment of how well a task is executed, and the success of a training program depends on
satisfying the performance aims associated with it.
How can performance be monitored?
Testing and measurement are the means of collecting information
upon which subsequent performance evaluations and decisions are made.
What is the evaluation process?
The whole measurement/evaluation process is a six-stage, cyclic
- The selection of characteristics to be measured
- The selection of a suitable method of measuring
- The collection of that data
- The analysis of the collected data
- The making of decisions
- The implementation of those decisions
All of the above stages should be completed with the athlete, especially analysing the collected data and deciding an appropriate way forward.
What are the requirements of a test?
In constructing tests, it is vital to make sure that they
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 (the degree to which the test measures what it claims to measure), reliable (capable of consistent repetition) and
objective (produce a consistent result irrespective of the tester).
In conducting tests, the following points should be
- Each test should measure ONE factor only.
- The test should not require any technical competence on
the athletes part (unless it is being used to assess technique).
- Care should be taken to make sure that the athlete
understands precisely what is required of him/her, what is being measured and
- The test procedure should be strictly standardised in
administration, organisation and environmental conditions.
What are the benefits of
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
- place the athlete in an 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. Maximal tests demand the athlete's maximum effort, so they are useful at times as a training unit in their own right.
What factors may influence test
The following factors may have an impact on the results of a test
- The ambient temperature, noise level and humidity
- The amount of sleep the athlete had before testing
- The athlete's emotional state
- The 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
- The accuracy of measurements (times, distances etc.)
- Is the athlete applying maximum effort in maximal
- Inappropriate warm-up
- People present
- The personality, knowledge and skill of the tester
- Athlete's clothing/shoes
- The surface on which the test is conducted
- Environmental conditions - wind, rain, etc
Why record information?
The coach and athlete need to monitor the work program to maintain progression in terms of the volume of work and its intensity. Both coach and athlete must keep their training records. A training diary can give enormous information about what has happened in the past and how training has gone in the past. When planning future training cycles,
knowledge of this kind is invaluable.
What should be recorded?
The information to be recorded falls into two broad categories: -
- The day-to-day information from training
- State of the athlete (health, composure)
- Physiological data (body weight, resting heart rate,
- The training unit (speed, speed endurance, strength,
- The training load (the number of miles, the number of sets
and repetitions, the number of attempts)
- The training intensity (kilograms, the 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 to measure 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
- Explosive strength - power bounding, vertical jump,
overhead shot putt
- Mobility - objective measurements of the range of
Following a competition, the coach and athlete must get together as soon as possible to evaluate the athlete's performance. Elements to be considered are pre-race preparations, focus and performance plans, and these plans' achievement An evaluation
form is useful to help the athlete and coach conduct this review.
How can we make tests more reliable and valid?
- Use competent and well-trained testers
- Equipment should be standardised and calibrated regularly
- Each test should measure only one factor
- Care should be taken to make sure the athlete understands exactly what is required of them
- The test procedure should be standardised in terms of administration, organisation and environmental conditions
- The test should be designed so that another trained tester can easily repeat it
- The test should be fully documented so that it can be administered in the same way the next time it is conducted
Maximal means the athlete works at maximum effort or tested
to exhaustion. Examples of maximal anaerobic tests are the 30-metre acceleration test and the Wingate Anaerobic 30 cycle
test. Examples of maximal aerobic tests are the Multistage Fitness Test or Bleep test and the Cooper VO2 max test
Disadvantages of maximal tests are:
- difficulty in ensuring the subject is exerting maximum
- possible dangers of overexertion and injury
- dependent on the athlete's level of arousal
Submaximal means the athlete works below maximum effort. In
submaximal tests, extrapolation is used to estimate maximum capacity. Examples of the submaximal aerobic test are the PWC-170 test and the Queens College Step Test.
Disadvantages of submaximal tests are:
- depend on extrapolation being made to unknown
- small measurement inaccuracies can result in large
discrepancies as a result of the extrapolation
Where normative data (average test results) is available, it is
included in the appropriate evaluation test pages identified
Sport Performance Tests
The Sports Specific Performance Tests page guides possible tests to evaluate the athlete's fitness components for various sports.
Evaluation Test Groups
The performance evaluation tests are grouped as follows:
Aerobic Endurance - VO2 max
All these agility tests are suitable for
sports with multidirectional movement
Event Time Predictors
Strength - Core
Strength - Elastic
Strength - General
Speed and Power
Tests for young athletes
The following test can be used with young athletes.
- Athletics 365 - aimed at 8-15-year olds, but can be adapted for younger athletes
- To support many of the above evaluation tests, the Sports Coach Excel calculator page contains many
free Microsoft Excel spreadsheets that you can download and use on your
The following references provide additional information on this topic:
- NOAKES, T. D. (1988) Implications of exercise testing for prediction of athletic performance: a contemporary perspective. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 20 (4), p. 319-330
- HOPKINS, W. G. (2004) How to interpret changes in an athletic performance test. Sportscience, 8, p. 1-7
- HOFFMAN, J. R. et al. (1996) Relationship between athletic performance tests and playing time in elite college basketball players. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 10 (2), p. 67-71
If you quote information from this page in your work, then the reference for this page is:
- MACKENZIE, B. (1997) Performance Evaluation Tests [WWW] Available from: https://www.brianmac.co.uk/eval.htm [Accessed
The following Sports Coach pages provide additional information on this topic: