Realities of Testing
As with any test, the reality is that there is no perfect test or physical challenge. There will always be limitations in predicting athletic performance. Although an athlete may give 100% during testing, there is no substitute for the actual competitive environment. Again, information derived from the sport testing should be an adjunct and, if performed accurately, should be an important piece of your decision making process in evaluating an athlete and their development. Test results should never stand alone when dealing with the complex environment of sport competition.
Is speed a factor for success at the point guard position? It is not detrimental. With regards to speed I have never heard anyone say an athlete is to fast. Time and time again speed and acceleration are proven components of athletic success. It is visible on the court when Derrick Rose blows by a defender. Standardized testing verifies these elements and validates what the eye sees. It allows us to compare, thus enhancing both physical development and talent identification.
The speed protocol that BAM provides for both the NBA and Portsmouth is the ¾ court sprint (75 ft.). Additionally, with our timing gates, split times (data points) are captured, providing more detailed information.
The table below contain two scores. The BAM Total score is a cumulative score for speed, power, and agility. This score quantifies overall athletic intelligence. Highlighting both strengths and weaknesses for each athlete (more in future blogs). The ¾ court sprint is a standardized score for the sprint alone. On test day, the compared athletes had scores ranging from the 70 to the 82.
If any area is of major concern after reliability and validity of a test, it is the interpretation of the data. Final interpretation of an athlete's efforts should be grounded in a thorough knowledge of all factors and demands that contribute to the specific performance. The status and performance of the athlete at the time of testing (i.e., preseason, off-season, and injuries) can influence results. It has been reported that variation in athletic performance may range from 15-20%. An awareness of psychological and social influences such as an athlete's prior history and experience with the testing environment. In addition, coaches should broaden their understanding of normal sport-specific physiological and psychological response at their level of competition. Remember that due to an athlete's genetic predisposition, level of physical and emotional maturity, and training status, there can be a wide range in normative values. A faster, bigger, or stronger athlete may not always succeed in your particular scheme when compared to quickness, agility, or intelligence. Whenever possible, final interpretation of testing should always involve all coaches, testing personnel, and the athlete.
With the added data points we can measure acceleration components, which we will label start speed and top end speed (both are useful for physical development and evaluation). Far be it from me to influence anyone about which one is more significant to basketball, but again the data reveals interesting info. (See graph-MPH).
As a reference point we have included Usain Bolt’s world record splits (10 meter start, accounting for reaction time at the start, 20 meter top end) and his average speed over 100 meters.
His speed analysis puts him at a high comparative level. Although just one component, this information, if combined with the expert’s eye would make for a compelling evaluation. This begs the question are there more Jeremy Lins out there?